Porgy ceviche with wild fennel at Minnow at the Galley...

Porgy ceviche with wild fennel at Minnow at the Galley Ho in New Suffolk. Credit: Erica Marcus

The summer season is well underway on the North Fork, where several new restaurants have opened:

Minnow at the Galley Ho

650 1st St., New Suffolk

Andrea Tese is taking culinary sustainability to new heights with Minnow at the Galley Ho. Not only are most of the ingredients local and seasonal, not only does the kitchen eschew shrimp, salmon and any other sea creature that does not swim in these waters, but she and chef Cheo Avila are trying their hardest not to buy anything that is packaged in plastic. “Catapano is happy to wrap their goat cheese in waxed paper for us,” she said. “It’s harder to find mayonnaise in anything but plastic jars.”

Seated on the restaurant’s generous porch, Tese gestured toward the panoramic views of Cutchogue Harbor. “All the plastic we use, so much of it ends up in the ocean,” she said. She hopes that people who are looking at the water will be compelled to want to protect it: “I want to educate people in a non-pushy, non-know-it-all way.”

A meal at Minnow hardly feels like an ecology lesson. The stunning setting was most recently Case’s Place but, for decades before that, was the Galley Ho, which Tese described as a “lively, salty, rough-and-tumble sort of place.” Tese, an avid angler and surfer who was raised in New Suffolk and in Manhattan, spent large chunks of her childhood hanging out there. That porch spills onto a wide lawn complete with picnic tables and cornhole, and the lawn stretches out onto the beach. On a clear day you can see Cutchogue’s Nassau Point, Robins Island, Shelter Island and the northern shore of the South Fork.

Avila, formerly of Greenport’s Kontiki, has created a menu that is no guilt, all pleasure. Raw-bar offerings include Peeko oysters (its headquarters are at the adjoining property), local little neck clams, black bass crudo (with basil miso and pink peppercorns) and porgy ceviche with wild fennel, red onion, cilantro and lime.

Cooked dishes range from blackfish almandine (crusted with almonds, Parmesan and lemon zest) and “duck frites” (seared Long Island duck breast served with fries) to house-smoked bluefish pate (on grilled sourdough bread from the East End microbakery 1610 Bakehouse) and a lobster salad served on the same bread. Her supplier, Cutchogue’s Braun Seafood Co., sends over only lobsters trapped in Long Island Sound.

Ken Homan, Braun’s owner, has been an enthusiastic supporter of Minnow’s mission. “Ken only sells us fish that have been caught in pots or by rod and reel,” she said, “no trawlers and no nets.” And the plastic bins that the fish are delivered in go back to Braun for the next delivery.

Local vegetables get their due, whether shaved fennel with green apples and burrata, grilled little gem lettuce with strained yogurt and caramelized apricots or roasted carrots with caraway seeds. Menu prices range from $21 to $48.

Desserts are provided by North Fork baker Jessica Shearman, and her simple, flavor-packed pastries (don’t miss the Bakewell tarts with local fruits) also form the basis of a cafe menu that is available starting at 8 a.m. from Thursday to Sunday.

Tese and beverage director Amanda Akram put together a beer list from all local sources (Greenport Harbor, Shelter Island Craft, Ubergeek, Twin Forks and Kidd Squid breweries). The wine menu draws from Long Island (Bedell, Macari, Croteaux and McCall) as well as France and Italy.

Tese, a professional photographer, is a first-time restaurant owner and she acknowledged that she was “coming in blind to this venture. "Everyone said ‘don’t do it.’ Restaurateurs I know said ‘it’s the worst possible idea.’ But I really believe in this mission, and I want to see if I can make it work.”

More info: 631-734-8474, minnowrestaurant.com

The broad porch at Minnow at the Galley Ho in...

The broad porch at Minnow at the Galley Ho in New Suffolk overlooks Cutchogue Harbor. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Little Fish

50 N. Sea Drive, Southold

Formerly Known as Elbow East, Little Fish is not anything like its precursor. There are pink walls with panels of splatter paintings on the ceiling and pastel green captain’s chairs covered in sheepskin throws. Artificial fiddle-leaf fig trees hang so heavily over four-tops they deserve a fifth place-setting. Cocktails come in hobnail tumblers with names like Halekulani ($16, made with peach whiskey and grenadine, although the Honolulu hotel name-checked is famous for its mai tais).

Manned by chef Ryan Barth-Dwyer, the restaurant is owned by the Gardell family that also runs 668 The Gig Shack in Montauk.

The opening menu included dishes like a messy plate of baby back ribs with a honey glaze ($30), and little pots of clams swimming among soba in a coconut cream broth (“Red Dragon Noodles,” $21). More unusual: a decent swordfish Milanese ($34) and baked-to-order cornbread shaped like, well, little fish ($8 for a school of four).

The bar scene is festive, featuring live music most nights, so much so that patrons may well be happier there than at table.

More info: 631-765-8756, littlefishnofo.com

Good Juju's BBQ & Seafood Shack

487 Main Rd., Aquebogue

When Little Lucharitos opened in Aquebogue in 2017, it was the only place west of Greenport to experience Marc LaMaina’s rollicking Mexican cuisine — albeit on a smaller scale than at the mother ship, founded in 2012.

But six years later, LaMaina said, it was competing with the larger Lucharitos locations in Mattituck and Center Moriches "Little Lucharitos was like the middle child that didn’t get enough attention.”

And so he switched gears. After a two-month renovation, the Aquebogue location reopened as Good Juju’s BBQ & Seafood Shack, a casual spot for, well, barbecue and seafood.

John Vanderwolf, one of the lead cooks in Center Moriches, runs the kitchen. His experiences as both pitmaster and fisherman are evident in the menu, which is split evenly between turf and surf. From the smoker: Brisket, ribs, wings, chicken, pulled pork and chicken. In the manner of those ubiquitous Cajun seafood restaurants, Good Juju’s offers boiled-in-a-plastic-bag shrimp, crab and lobster tail with your choice of sauces: lemon-pepper, garlic butter, jerk, Cajun blend or the “Juju sauce” that combines all of them.

Rounding out the menu: crabcakes and crab dip; fried shrimp, clam strips and salt-and-pepper calamari; clam chowder, brisket chili and sandwiches such as hot-honey chicken, shrimp po’boy, lobster roll, blackened fish and a burger. Sides include fries, coleslaw, collards, cornbread, mac-and-cheese, corn on the cob and cucumber salad. There’s a full bar whose signature drinks include the “painkiller” (rum, pineapple, orange juice and Coco Lopez) and the “Montauk rum bucket” (Bellamy, Malibu and Kraken rums with lime, orange juice, pineapple and grenadine).

Good Juju’s accommodates about 16 people inside and almost twice that outside.

More info: 631-779-3681

There's plenty of outdoor seating at Good Juju's in Aquebogue.

There's plenty of outdoor seating at Good Juju's in Aquebogue. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

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