Nov. 2011 NOTE: The review below was done when Lia Fallon was the chef. She is no longer there and the restaurant has not been re-reviewed.
The East End restaurant season starts early this year.
The handsome, modern space off the lobby, divided between a bar area and a more private dining room, manages to be simultaneously sleek and warm. You're never far from a TV, either, just in case your dining choice remains tied to March Madness.
When the basketball action is over, however, you'll still return for the slam-dunk play of executive chef Lia Fallon, who's chef at Amarelle in Wading River.
Here, her food is very good, often better, emphasizing the local and the seasonal with trademark flair.
Fallon's take on the now-familiar beet Napoleon is enriched by Catapano Dairy Farm goat cheese and toasted pistachios. These beets taste the way beets should. Mecox Bay Dairy supplies the lush cheese that goes into a fondue starring sauteed local fingerling potatoes. Rice balls are accurately dubbed risotto balls, for their creamy interior; excellent, with ricotta, shaved Parmesan, wild mushrooms and brushstrokes of oven-dried tomato puree. Pulled-pork sliders get some spark from a spicy plum barbecue sauce and celery root coleslaw. The pork is piled onto buttery, toasted brioche. And the house's mild lobster roll is generous with tail and claw meat, bound with citrus-tarragon cream, paired with a cucumber-and-carrot salad. It delivers a mild, early taste of summer, sent out on a grilled potato bun. Continue the theme with a flavorful, crusty-out, tender-in pork shank, finished with guava-chipotle barbecue sauce.
Dry duck breast, not-too-spicy chicken "drumettes" dubbed hot, bland fish and chips, modest desserts.
THE BOTTOM LINE