The North Fork Table & Inn is the best restaurant on the East End.
Chefs Gerry Hayden and Claudia Fleming earned their fourth star last year; the Table received a three-star rating when it opened in 2006.
It's a meticulous, New American spot, subtle in every way, from the shades of gray to the precision on the plate. The restaurant is situated on the former site of Coeur des Vignes, in Long Island wine country.
Hayden arrived on the North Fork after cooking at Aureole in Manhattan. Dessert specialist Fleming is a veteran of the Gramercy Tavern. Their establishment is the East End by way of New England and the East Side.
And they collaborate for an exceptional meal based on seasonal ingredients, many local. Some of the outstanding appetizers include potato-leek soup with nuggets of smoked bacon; roasted beets paired with Catapano Farm goat cheese; sashimi-grade yellowfin tuna tartare; and cod-and-Yukon Gold potato cakes. Main dishes are led by butter-poached lobster finished with sweet carrot-and-ginger sauce; pan-roasted swordfish with creamy polenta; Berkshire pork tenderloin paired with cumin-seasoned bacon; soft-shell crab with morels; and asparagus risotto.
Sweets sparkle with a delightful honey-and-pine nut tart accompanied by ricotta ice cream; an updated peach cobbler; the chocolate-and-caramel tart; "sugar and spice" doughnuts -- and almost everything else.