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The Preston House in Riverhead gets prominent new executive chef

A sea bream (aka porgy) crudo with Serrano

A sea bream (aka porgy) crudo with Serrano chilis, dried black olives, yuzu and mint at the restaurant inside The Preston House & Hotel. Executive chef Kyle Koenig now heads the kitchen at the two-year-old property. Credit: Jim Lennon

The restaurant inside Riverhead’s first boutique hotel, which caused a splash when it opened two years ago, has a new executive chef behind the wheel.

Kyle Koenig joined the kitchen of The Preston House last fall as consultant, and has since taken the full-time reins. Koenig, a Culinary Institute of America graduate and veteran of Tom Colicchio’s Crafted Hospitality, most recently oversaw the kitchen of Craft, Colicchio’s flagship New York City restaurant, as chef de cuisine.

However, Koenig is no stranger to the East End. After graduating from the CIA in Hyde Park, he worked for Gerry Hayden and Claudia Fleming at the North Fork Table & Inn. After a stint at the Oak Room in the Plaza Hotel, he joined Colicchio & Sons, and later returned to the North Fork under Colicchio as sous chef and chef de cuisine at Topping Rose House. Koenig returned to New York City to work at Craft for nearly three years before returning to the East End.

The considered seasonality Craft is known for is reflected in the revamped Preston House menu, and Koenig has maintained the deep well of locally farmed and caught seafood the restaurant was already known for. On the current dinner menu, for instance, are Peeko Oysters (from the North Fork) with pickled ramp mignonette, a sea bream (aka porgy) crudo with Serrano chilis, dried black olives, yuzu and mint, and braised lobster with miso, Delicata squash, mustard greens and wild rice.    

“We’re surrounded by water and there’s a lot of amazing seafood here,” said Koenig, who picks fish up directly from purveyors and deploys an ever-changing roster of clams, scallops, crustaceans and fin fish. (This week, a local fluke crudo was soon to appear on the menu). “We’re also making the breads in house and doing more butchering,” he added, and among the more landlocked plates are five different cuts of beef — including an American Wagyu flat iron — and Long Island duck breast with caracara oranges, salsify, baby fennel and in a local honey gastrique.

Appetizers begin at $15 and entrees at $22 during dinner, and for the foreseeable future, the restaurant is running a three-course, $35 prix-fixe menu during dinner.

Former Preston House chef Matt Boudreau has moved on to Greenport, where he is now the executive chef for a suite of connected restaurants: Green Hill Kitchen, Anker and Industry Standard.

The Preston House was opened in spring 2018 by the Petrocelli family, who also own the Long Island Aquarium and the Hyatt Place East End Hotel across the street. In contrast to the modern hotel, the restaurant is housed inside a stately 1905 home built by Civil War veteran and Suffolk County’s first salaried sheriff, Henry H. Preston. It has three dining rooms and a cozy bar, one whose program and wine list is now overseen by Koenig’s spouse Jennifer Koenig.

“This was a very long thought-out process for my wife and me, and we fell in love with this location,” Koenig said. “All of our goals align here and it feels really right.”

The Preston House is open for lunch Wednesday to Friday, dinner Wednesday through Monday, and brunch on Saturday an Sunday. Find it at 428 E. Main St., Riverhead, 631-775-1500, theprestonhouseandhotel.com

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