The CookRoom in Middle Island has had a recent change of ownership — but within the same family. Jim Mandler, whose mother, Annie, opened the restaurant, has taken the reins.
Going as local and organic as possible, Mandler is making the most of fruit and produce from nearby farms. Meat for burgers is ground to order several times a day at the butcher shop across the road. Fries are hand cut, cooked to order. And, Mandler informed me in an email, there’s also an option of having them tossed in duck fat before they're served.
On a recent visit, I couldn’t have been more pleased with the diner’s light, lush “oaty oat” pancakes, usually made with apples but, in honor of the season, topped and studded with local blueberries and peaches. A burger special — with avocado, Cheddar and bacon — was rosy, juicy, delicious, accompanied by crisp, potato-y fries.
All that was missing was a slice or two of the gorgeous tomatoes I'd seen in a bowl on the counter. So I asked the waitress. What arrived was red and ripe and sweet, but — sin of all sins — refrigerator-cold.
OK, so getting everything totally right is a process. Given all the lofty intentions here (check out Mandler's blog), it's a process worth keeping up with.
The CookRoom is at 25 Middle Country Rd., Middle Island, 631-696-4260.
Burger with avocado, Cheddar and bacon plus fries at CookRoom in Middle Island