The North Fork Table & Inn

by Chef Colin Ambrose
Go to the original article on Beachouse Hamptons website

As an owner myself, I know that restaurants, like our most cherished relationships, are a labor of love. To succeed, they require more work and dedication than most anyone can imagine. Of the chef, the demand is nothing less than an intrinsic passion and understanding of food. From the management, service is the top priority. Now, just for fun, add-in operating your establishment on Long Island’s East End, home to the most demanding and discerning palettes anywhere! The North Fork Table & Inn, consistently ranked with New York’s top dining venues, is proof-positive that  these attributes can – and do exist – everyday. If you enjoy destination dining, a reservation at this iconic institution should be on your near term bucket list.

Chef Gerry Hayden and his pastry chef bride Claudia Flemming have pushed the dining experience at their restaurant to the forefront of New York’s white tablecloth scene. Emerging from a combined twenty-year career in the famed Manhattan kitchens of Aureole and Gramercy Tavern, the couple chose a federal style building on the edge of Southold’s Route 25 in the heart of North Fork Wine Country. The result – from the conception of the dining room to the emphasis on local, organic ingredients to the artfully curated international wine list to the meticulous staff – is luxury, in its simplest and purest form, from start to finish.

With nearly a decade under their belts in Southold, the kitchen at North Fork Table & Inn presents world-class plates from the impressive Amuse-bouche to dessert. Highlights include a pristine fluke and grapefruit sashimi, which illustrate Chef Hayden’s unwavering commitment to the highest quality seafood. If the short ribs are offered when you’re there, try them! They’re prepared with organic beef sourced from the McCall Farm on the North Fork. The beet salad has never been equaled, another arrow pointing to the kitchen’s connections to the top growers along Route 25.

Another of Manhattan’s best service directors, Mike Mraz, manages the service and has thoughtfully conceived the international wine list. Holding his position at the restaurant’s front door since the opening, Mr. Mraz knows his customers. He’s chosen a selection of local wines from vineyards that surround the restaurant while including an international selection, both complimenting the restaurant’s seasonal menu.

If you haven’t made the trip over to the North Fork to experience this temple of contemporary American cuisine, it’s time to book a table. And arrive hungry! Expect a prix fixe menu at $75 with a wide ranging three-course offering featuring locally sourced products. Anticipate a colorful, sumptuous starter followed by an American sized entrée. Don’t let yourself get too full because the desserts are, in and of themselves, artful inventions that will knock your socks off! One final suggestion before signing-off: if this is your first visit to the North Fork Table & Inn, don’t leave without having the doughnuts!