The Pridwin Hotel and Cottages on Shelter Island reopened on its 95th anniversary in July after two years of renovation. The re-opening is a project of Cape Resorts, a family of boutique hotels, cottages and restaurants in New York and New Jersey, and the Petry family, who have owned and operated the property since 1961.
The Pridwin Hotel has 49 rooms and 16 private cottages and is facing the water. Guests can enjoy a private beach and pool, water activities, a full-service spa and a restaurant and bar. The Terrace Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner inside the 1,500-square-foot colorful dining room featuring a double-sided fireplace and a horseshoe-shaped bar that can seat 60, as well as a patio overlooking Crescent Beach that can seat another 60. The restaurant is connected to the hotel, and it serves both hotel guests and visitors American cuisine that consists of locally caught seafood, Shelter Island’s own produce and local wines.
“The seasons really drive the inspiration behind the food, but I really want it instead of being fine dining, it’s casual but upscale and elevated,” says Drew Hiatt, The Terrace’s chef. “There is a lot of different balance and contrast … I try to think of classic things you’d eat and then just enhance and refine them a little, and even sometimes recreate.”
On a recent visit, the view of the beach as well as guests enjoying their Sunday at The Pridwin gave a feeling of ease, which was complemented by the balanced and fresh items on the menu.
A Meal & Chat with Drew Hiatt the Pridwin
“When I use butter, I use a lot,” Hiatt says. “Otherwise, I use a lot of olive oil and we use acidity and vinegar and lemon juices and chilis to create balance and flavors.”
Hiatt says The Terrace offers gluten-free and vegetarian options. Speaking of vegetables, what vegetables are in season really drive the dishes. The menu will change as the year progresses, with even some small interseasonal changes within a season.
“There are late-season vegetables, and late July, early August we’d be moving towards all the summer things like tomatoes, peppers and chilis,” Hiatt says.
Another interesting choice was the use of micro-greens, a young vegetable that falls between a sprout and baby leaf filled with nutrients, as a garnish.
The crispy Montauk striped bass over creamy leeks, chanterelle mushrooms and herbs is a nice choice on the lunch menu for $38.
“One of the owners is a fisherman,” Hiatt says. “The scallops come from Montauk usually. The clams are all local. I only use local oysters from two companies; one guy from Eel Town Oysters and then Peeko Oysters. They’re very similar and very close to each other, but they’re farmed differently.”
Asked how he came up with the combination of the bass and the creamy leeks, Hiatt points out that it’s leek season.
“I try to do the vegetable in more than one way,” he says. “A lot of times I’ll do it four or five ways, but for the leeks, we have creamy leeks and leek roundels. I like the simplicity and clean flavors instead of trying to put 15 different things on a plate.”
The Pridwin lobster roll, priced at $48, includes lobster, which was caught in Northern Canada or Maine, tossed in a lemon-lime aioli, served on a potato bun, and topped with crispy shallots.
“In my opinion, the lobster from up north is better because the water is colder,” Hiatt says. “We do get locally sourced lobster, but I typically source it in the colder seasons around here.”
To cook the lobster, Hiatt uses saltwater from the Peconic.
“We run down to the front of the place to grab ocean water to cook the lobster,” he says. “I try not to overcomplicate it. It has a citrus mayo … You don’t want to overcomplicate it. I’m from North Shore New England originally, so if you want to talk about lobsters and lobster rolls, I’m from the land of it.”
House-cut shoestring fries with herbs and a tomato paste dip are served with the lobster roll. And the lobster in the roll is cold.
“People like their butter-poached lobster,” Hiatt says. “It’s just a preference, really. I personally prefer cold. We’ve had plenty of guests who have asked for the warm version, and we’ll do it. I prefer it this way.
For dessert, the strawberry shortcake was served on a black pepper biscuit with basil chantilly for $14; while the pistachio financier, which was served with goat cheese cream, poached peaches, and orange crisp, was a welcome addition, also priced at $14. The presentation of the desserts was beautiful and full of vibrant colors.
“I’m not a pastry chef,” Hiatt says. “I definitely have pastry in my background over the years, but everyone does an almond financier. Peaches were in season for the time and the strawberries out here are really good. Strawberry season can go through the summer here. There’s a different variety of strawberries that grow in spring and summer and late summer, so you can source that for all summer here. I like contrast and different flavors. I try to get fun. I want you to think about it a little bit when you eat.”
About Chef Drew Hiatt
Living on Long Island reminds Drew Hiatt of home.
“We are on the Northeast, but I’m from farther Northeast,” Hiatt says. “It’s all coastal and when I’m on the water like this, it reminds me of where I grew up … My favorite thing as a kid was a place on Route 1 on the North Shore in Boston, and it was just fried clams, fried scallops, fried shrimp and some tartar sauce. And it’s like my comfort food when I come home. I have to stop there at least once.”
By the age of 13, Hiatt realized his love for New England fare, and had worked his way from the bottom as a dishwasher to a sous chef by 18 at various restaurants throughout New England, even landing a position as banquet chef at the Boston Harbor Hotel. Eventually, he decided to move away from his beloved East Coast towards the Midwest, working at private dining clubs and the renowned Charlie Trotters in Chicago.
But he missed the East Coast too much, so he found his way back. But instead of returning to New England, he ventured into New York City, working as a chef at the Koi Restaurant and Fabrik in Midtown Manhattan’s Archer Hotel.
In 2015, he ended up in the Hamptons, assuming a sous chef position at Tom Colicchio’s acclaimed Topping Rose House restaurant. Continuing to grow with the company, he worked his way up to the executive chef position.
Now he finds himself on another treasure of the East Coast; Shelter Island, with many more adventures awaiting him.
Learn more at caperesorts.com/pridwin.