Rebuilt and renewed, the Jamesport Manor Inn is an ideal North Fork stop year-round. ... More »
Kar said Intonato's exit on Thursday stemmed from disagreements over the $29 fixed-priced menu, and containing food costs in general, which have accounted for 45 percent of expenses. He added that the Inn recently lost business for two weeks when Manor Lane was closed because of flooding and repair work.
THE FOLLOWING REVIEW WAS DONE WHILE DAVID INTONATO WAS CHEF:
Jamesport Manor Inn was painstakingly rebuilt after an October 2005 fire leveled it. Now, the Inn also is a local landmark thanks to chef David Intonato. His sharp, creative cooking makes the charming place an ideal North Fork stop year-round, but especially so at sunset in autumn.
Intonato highlights the region's produce, from Satur Farms greens to Crescent Farm duck and Catapano Farm cheese. Goat-cheese ricotta cavatelli stars in a terrific, harmonious dish completed with roasted beets, wild arugula pesto, mushrooms and the last of summer's black truffles. Caramelized pears, Cabrales blue cheese, toasted hazelnuts and a walnut vinaigrette finish a fine spinach salad.
The crisp duck strudel, forming a three-tower, mini-skyline, is threaded with red cabbage and strewn with pistachios. Intonato turns the homey sophisticated, elevating macaroni-and-cheese with fusilli, tasso ham, smoked Gouda cream and toasty bread crumbs. Spirited green-lentil soup flecked with pancetta surrounds nuggets of sweet lobster. And, in an audacious, remarkable trifecta, Intonato sends out pan-seared foie gras on brandied cherries with an espresso cup of "milk skin" crème brûlée and a champurrado shooter - spicy, Mexican-style hot chocolate. Yes, it works.
So does Berkshire pork three ways: a pan-roasted tenderloin cut with a juniper-flavored gastrique, braised belly capped with a fried egg, and almost-crunchy, sweet-and-sour chicharron, or deep-fried pork skin. Intonato's tender duck breast veers stirringly Asian with Indian-spiced vegetable pakoras, Himalayan red rice and a shiso-scented Catapano yogurt sauce. Green salsa cruda, cucumber escabèche, and fresh corn sparked by coriander-like epazote adroitly turn Montauk striped bass Latin. His fanciful riff on waterzooi, the Belgian-style seafood stew, has verve, even with salmon. After all this, have gelati or sorbets.
More formal desserts disappoint: dry molten-chocolate almond torte, drier apple crisp, driest peach bread pudding; and a dull chocolate soup with pear.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Pick apples, taste wines, eat here.