In the latest sign that Greenport has become a year-round town, a longtime New York City restaurant has relocated permanently to Main Street — tables, steak tartare and all.
Proprietor Emily Demarchelier has recreated a more casual version of the restaurant her family ran for decades on the Upper East Side, opening Bistro Demarchelier in a former gallery that is now so artfully weathered that it looks like it has been there for years.
"Everyone was concerned about winters out here," said Demarchelier, who was born in Paris and has split her time between the city and Shelter Island for years. "When I was out here on weekends, I saw that there was business to be had in Greenport in the winter months."
Her father, Eric Demarchelier, opened Demarchelier Restaurant on the Upper East Side in 1978. The restaurant closed late last year when its lease was up, and Emily Demarchelier said it was "a really hard decision," to leave the longtime clientele. But the high costs of running a restaurant in the city — combined with her love of the water, and surfing — helped spark an eastward migration.
"I took everything that I possibly could from the old restaurant. All of these pieces of furniture have a history," said Demarchelier, from the banquettes to the tables to the antique wooden bar. Even so, because the space was newer, "it was a lot of work to make it look lived in," she said. (Though her father now lives in Florida, Eric Demarchelier's bold, Cubist paintings, splashed with cobalt and aqua blues, hang on the walls and are for sale).
In contrast to the restaurant, Bistro Demarchelier has more of a focus on shareable plates such as raw oysters, fondue, cheese plates and charcuterie. Longtime chef Michel Pombet has also made the move to Greenport and his menu is a picture of classic bistro fare: Smaller plates such as escargot, steak tartare and brandade ($8.50 to $17.50), and entrees ($26.50 to $35.25) like duck confit, osso bucco with risotto and roasted salmon. At lunch, sandwiches such as pan bagnat, a niçoise salad on a baguette, cost $14.75. Among the handful of desserts is îles flottantes, or floating island, a puff of meringue in a pool of crème Anglaise. Local wine from Macari Vineyards join a list of mostly French wines and bubbles, plus local and domestic beers and $15 cocktails.
Last June, as Demarchelier plotted the bistro, she was given the opportunity to take over a space at The Menhaden hotel, for a restaurant; she and her brother, Benajamin Demarchelier, opened Demarchelier at The Menhaden in June, and it remains there as a modern counterpart to its sister bistro several blocks away.
Bistro Demarchelier opens at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday for dinner, and at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday for lunch and dinner. It's at 471 Main St., Greenport. 631-593-1650. demarchelierrestaurant.com