One more reason to brave the traffic-and-parking challenge of downtown Port Jefferson: Brewology, Part Two.
In the old Elk Hotel space, where many restaurants have checked in and out, is the spinoff of Brewology in Speonk. The location and look are different, but enhanced pub food and excellent beers define both. So does the boxed, illuminated "Br" symbol, heralding a periodic table of brews.
Exposed brick-and-dark wood style suits the new restaurant, which is more citified than its shopping-center sibling. Banquettes are comfortable, even if chairs aren't. Your water still arrives sporting a piece of charcoal, and pretzels and mustard sub for a bread basket.
Now, order a four-brew flight, served in beaker-style glasses. Selections change regularly, with carefully described beers that have something to declare, from fruity, summery ones to dark, high-octane winter warmers.
The full-flavored fare of chef Chris Zullo, who oversees the two branches, starts with soup, maybe New England-style clam chowder or a bracing potato-bacon-Cheddar bowl. Deviled eggs, from local ducks, turn wicked with candied bacon and orange zest. Smoked pork belly tacos are addictive, with a spiced white-bean puree and Port reduction.
But fried oysters are limp. Beer-battered sweetbreads are richer, lighter, and cut with mango chutney. "Truffled tomato" flatbread, with roasted cherry tomatoes and smoked mozzarella, is worth sharing. There are tasty arugula salads, one dubbed "strawberry fields," with fruit, goat cheese, bacon and pistachios; another, "perfect peach," with poached peaches and pecans.
The local catch, especially meaty striped bass, stands out with lemon-butter sauce and black rice. Vegetable-and-peanut lo mein boosts the sesame-crusted tuna. "Bbq roasted" chicken, however, is on the dry side. Things improve with the "cowgirl steak frites," a rib-eye sparked with chimichurri, as well as with macaroni and lotsa cheese under a mantle of cornbread crumbs. Be more excessive with Canadian-inspired poutine fries, finished with beef gravy, cheese curd, and sour cream.
Brewology's namesake burger is ground bison meat stuffed with Cheddar and blue cheeses, topped with crisp celery curls and "Buffalo aioli," ridiculously good. Likewise, the beef burger. The "Brewben" is Zullo's respectable twist on a Reuben sandwich, with corned beef, Swiss cheese, and beer-braised cabbage on marble rye.
By now, you're ready for the S'mores brownie skillet, a make-it-yourself finale to satisfy two or three. Wash it down, of course, with a Craft root-beer float.