Main Road Biscuit Company
1601 Main Rd., Jamesport
SERVICE: Friendly and helpful
AMBIENCE: With ingredients from East End farms and coffee from nearby North Fork Coffee Roasters, this is the diner locavores have been waiting for.
ESSENTIALS: Breakfast and lunch Monday, Thursday, and Friday 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Credit cards, wheelchair accessible.
When you walk through the robin’s egg blue door and into the Main Road Biscuit Co. in Jamesport, you’re immediately surrounded by signifiers of updated country design: wainscoting, chicken wire baskets, galvanized metal garden chairs, a countertop made of reclaimed wood. A blackboard announces daily specials and servers rush to fill sleepy parents’ empty coffee cups while toddlers turn biscuits into crumbs.
But there’s plenty of sophistication behind the simplicity of this breakfast-and-lunch place. The warmth and efficiency of the service and the kitchen’s consistency and quality are evidence of a professionalism that is often lacking in casual East End eateries.
Owner Marissa Drago spent years in the food business, most recently as catering director for upscale café chain Financier, before moving to Mattituck and renovating the former Jamesport Country Kitchen to suit her comfy concept. With veteran chef Vincent Purcell, she’s developed a menu of quality comfort food, with ingredients sourced from local farms. It is Drago’s combination of friendliness (she was a smiling presence in both dining rooms each time I was there) and expertise that makes Main Road Biscuit Company both a neighborhood hangout and a dining destination.
Biscuits are the foundational item here, and they don’t disappoint, although on chilly days it would be nice if the kitchen reheated them for a minute or two before bringing them to the table. Extra-large, fluffy and tangy, with a just-right balance of sweet and salty, they are accompanied by house-made honey butter and marmalade. For some diners, a biscuit the size of a baseball might be enough for a whole meal.
Bring an appetite if you’re ordering a full breakfast. A duck hash special was a heaping portion of duck and root vegetables, smothered in gravy and topped with a fried egg. The Main Road Bennie is an elevated eggs Benedict, with two perfectly poached eggs from Goodale Farms in Aquebogue, house-cured salmon, classic hollandaise, and that yummy biscuit. A huge serving of steel-cut grits, topped with eggs, are rich with buttery, corny flavor. (If you’re afraid of butter, this probably isn’t the place for you.)
When 11:30 rolls around, breakfast is still available, but lunch is also served. Marissa’s mac-and-cheese comes to the table bubbling hot in a generously sized cast-iron skillet. Topped with, you guessed it, toasted biscuit crumbs, the macaroni is coated in a winning combination of creamy Cheddar and Gruyère. As hard as two of us tried, we couldn’t seem to get to the bottom of the large pan. A split biscuit is slathered with butter (adding flavor and essential moisture) before it is topped with a petite panko-crusted chicken tender. House-made pickles add piquancy to the dish. With tasty biscuit croutons and pungent dressing, the tender kale Caesar salad is topped with a generous (are you sensing a theme here?) shower of Parmesan shavings.
Considering the success of most dishes, the seafood po-boy was a little disappointing. Three flavorful but small shrimp just weren’t enough to fill a toasted bun already stuffed with arugula and very good tartar sauce. (I had no complaints about the piping-hot, perfectly cooked smashed red potatoes served on the side.) The shrimp and grits special, too, was light in the seafood department, with just four crustaceans on top of an ocean of those outstanding grits.
With portion sizes that will leave you full well past dinner, you might not have room for something sweet, like the luscious biscuit bread pudding. Good thing for takeout — bring home a giant cookie or two (the chocolate chipper topped with flaky sea salt was a standout) and you won’t have any regrets when it’s time for a midnight snack. And if you are a planner, you might even pick up a bag of Main Road Biscuit Company’s maple-coconut granola, for another morning when you don’t have time to stop at this notable new spot.