Since 2004, Scrimshaw has been the rare waterfront restaurant whose gorgeous view was matched by its food. Credit Greenport Harbor for the former, chef-owner Rosa Ross for the latter. Scrimshaw closed for the 2016 season after the village’s annual Shellabration festival in early December, but we’ve learned that the restaurant will not reopen.
The two-building property on Preston’s wharf has been leased to Frank DeCarlo, chef-owner of Peasant, the 22-year-old Manhattan restaurant famous for its rustic Italian food, much of it cooked over wood. Andrew Rowsom, whose family owns the buildings and the wharf, said that DeCarlo and his team are shooting for a summer 2017 opening.
Ross, one of a very few women to run a Long Island restaurant, took a circuitous route to the kitchen. She was born in Hong Kong to a prominent Portuguese-Macanese family but didn’t start to cook until she and her English husband, Ron Ross, moved to Milan in the early 1960s. There she studied cooking with the legendary teacher Marcella Hazan — who had yet to write her landmark “Classic Italian Cook Book.”
When the couple moved to New York, Ross began teaching cooking, writing cookbooks and running a catering company. In 1988 the Rosses bought a house in East Marion, and in 2004 they opened Scrimshaw. That first year, Ross ran only the dining room, but after she struck out with two chefs, she took over the kitchen.
Closing the restaurant doesn’t mean she’s leaving the kitchen. Ross has continued to make the dumplings that were a favorite menu item at Scrimshaw. They are for sale at The Market in Greenport and will go on the road later this year when Ross and Greg Ling, chef at Greenport’s Industry Standard, launch their Red Dumpling Truck.
In addition to the dumplings, Ross said, “I am going to do some pop-ups and private dinners. I hope my loyal clients who gave so much to Scrimshaw will continue to follow me in my new endeavors. A big thank you for 12 great years.”