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First bites at the Riverhead Project

The Riverhead Project, on East Main Street in

The Riverhead Project, on East Main Street in Riverhead, was once a Chase Manhattan Bank. Owner Dennis McDermott took on this project to create an upscale restaurant using fine local ingredients. The restaurant has a full bar with a large lounge seating, indoor and outdoor dining, and soon the Riverhead Project will have a private area for special occasions. (June 15, 2011) Credit: Photo by Randee Daddona

The Riverhead Project, Dennis McDermott’s sleek, spacious and swanky new restaurant, would be right at home in Soho or Napa. That it landed on Main Street in Riverhead is a hopeful sign that the Gateway to the North Fork will finally come into its own as a dining destination.

We’ve already written about tRP’s striking design. Dinner there earlier this week revealed a menu just as polished and au courant. A salad of Little Gem lettuce, blue cheese and bacon was generous and flawless—the grape tomatoes had even been skinned. I appreciated the allusive nature of my lobster pierogies—nodding to both Riverhead’s Polish roots and the restaurant’s high-end, piscine aspirations—but the dish, finished with shallot marmalade and lemon brown butter, wasn’t as tasty as it was witty.

Seared bass with corn, leeks, favas and mussels was just about perfect. So was a meaty and moist Berkshire pork chop, though its accompanying potato salad and red cabbage fell short of the chop’s mark. A very good upside-down peach cake was marred only by a weird crème-fraiche gel.

Service was friendly and efficient.

The Riverhead Project is at 300 E. Main St., Riverhead; 631-284-9300.

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