Having spent the better part of a morning shopping the outlets at Riverhead, I landed at Dark Horse Restaurant for lunch. The downtown restaurant is a quietly pretty place, with walls the color of butter, black upholstered banquettes, gleaming steel chairs and wide expanses of window. The real focus of my attention, though, was on the plate.
My choice was a bison burger ($11)— big, juicy, gorgeously charred, accompanied by excellent hand-cut fried wedges of potato. Hard to decide what was more satisfying, my burger or the warm bison pastrami sandwich ($12) on Polish rye with sauerkraut and coleslaw my companion was eating. Next time: split half and half.
Interestingly, all the meat used for the burger, and some for the pastrami, comes from the bison farm of owner Dee Muma, who is a partner at Tweeds Restaurant & Buffalo Bar next door. Muma is also a member of the restaurant's team of chefs, along with Jeffrey Trujillo and Peter Psyllos. To make the pastrami, they cure and slow-cook (but don't smoke) a bison brisket with herbs and spices, achieving a result both moist and savory.
A side note: Most everything at the restaurant is available gluten-free.
Dark Horse Restaurant is at 1 E Main St, Riverhead, 631-208-0072, darkhorserestaurant.com.