If you're visiting the North Fork with kids, you face a dilemma: Avail yourself of one of the many great restaurants and hope your children don't embarrass you, or lower your sights to a lesser dining experience.
In 2007, Cutchogue's venerable fish market opened a kitchen and set up about a dozen picnic tables, some under a big tent, others looking out at the vineyards of neighboring Peconic Bay Winery. Sit wherever you want, and set the kids loose on the lawn.
On the menu is that rarest of Long Island cuisines: fresh local seafood that hasn't been "enhanced" by some exceedingly talented chef. Here's the spot for raw clams, steamed mussels, fried oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, broiled flounder, pan-seared tuna and grilled swordfish. Kids don't like fish? There are mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers and burgers.
Braun's daily specials are drawn from the local catch. Right now, bluefish and striped bass are running. Or stroll over to the fish market and see what else looks good. The kitchen will cook anything you buy there (for a $5 minimum fee).
Recently, I had a leisurely lunch under the shade of a huge tree. Few things make me as happy as clams on the half shell ($10 a dozen), but a platter of fried Peconic Bay scallops did just that. These are one of Long Island's greatest gustatory treasures and Braun's serves them as a lunch platter (with two sides, $14.50), in a wrap or roll ($14.95) or as a dinner entree (with potato and a vegetable, $24.95).