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A trio of tender, grilled lamb chops arrives

A trio of tender, grilled lamb chops arrives accented with basil-mint syrup and flanked by a garlicky potato puree, Romano beans and a tomato play on tarte Tatin. (Oct. 10, 2012) Credit: Johnny Simon

Jeffery Slade has moved about 80 miles west and unpacked his skills.

The chef earned accolades last year at the short-lived Farmhouse in Greenport. He's back with flair in another cozy spot, the transformed, ex-site of the Ivy Cottage, Madison's.

Slade's all-star resumé includes stops at shrines from The French Laundry to Le Bernardin. Here, he's creating fine-tuned flavors and expansive cuisine, cramming the big picture into a tight frame.

Mirrors try to magnify the main dining area, a rectangle rimmed with gray-beadboard wainscoting that leads to a focal-point fireplace. Diners also pack the front of the place, in a smaller section dominated by wall-size artwork. A busy, noisy bar separates the two.

You can be sure that a lot of the conversation is about Slade's cross-borders take on New American ingenuity.

Cantaloupe and prosciutto, typically an appetizer in itself, find their way cleverly into a creamy risotto. Maytag blue cheese sparks a baby spinach Caesar salad that's completed with smoked bacon and radicchio. An islet of herbed ricotta floats in restorative red-pepper soup.

But chilled cucumber soup with crab is a bit bland. Blue Point oysters don't benefit from their assertive jalapeño mignonette. And curry blackened scallops taste mostly of their char, overwhelming the shellfish. Watermelon and feta can't minimize the impact.

Slade's huskiest opener, however, improves things: red-wine braised short ribs atop a savory parsnip puree, with chanterelle-mushroom marmalade and watercress. And chanterelles, English peas and broth with Parmesan cheese elevate four-cheese ravioli.

His sliced New York strip steak also is recommended: fibrous, juicy, paired with cipollini onions, fries, sugar snap peas and red-wine sauce. Likewise, the roasted pork tenderloin with a citrus-caramel glaze, grilled peaches and arugula.

A trio of tender, grilled lamb chops arrives accented with basil-mint syrup, flanked by a garlicky potato puree, Romano beans and a tomato play on tarte Tatin, assigned one to each. Sliced breast of Long Island duck benefits from a touch of plum sauce, sweet-potato puree, spinach, and slightly smoky grilled endive.

Halibut, roasted with thyme, swims in with lemon sauce, a lentil-and-wild mushroom fricassee and lardons. Slade tweaks barigoule, the Provençal artichoke stew, to back a moist slab of swordfish, accompanied by asparagus and potato rösti.

Flourless chocolate cake, caramel crème brûlée and cheesecake mousse lead the sweets. A modest three-cheese plate with some dried fruit; and a martini glass of raspberry sorbet provide the competition.

In Williston Park, Jeffery Slade heightens it.

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