FOOD (4 stars)
150 Main St.
ESSENTIALS Open for dinner starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; from 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday. Closed Monday. Reservations recommended weekdays, necessary weekends. Credit cards accepted.
In this week of celebration, Guy Reuge gives you one more reason to feel good. The nouveau Mirabelle is exceptional.
What's new is Reuge's approach. The menu is trimmer and more spontaneous, with a farm-to-table style, changing daily. Some Mirabelle classics remain. So do the chef's tasting menus. But there are moments when it's like eating in a new restaurant.
Mirabelle's dining area is unchanged: a coral-hued, unpretentious, serene spot in the landmark Three Village Inn, amiably and efficiently overseen by his wife, Maria Reuge. As always, you'll be very comfortable.
That's especially so if Reuge is serving satiny chestnut soup with chive oil, with rounds of fig-and-walnut "salami" perched on the plate's rim. His flavor-packed, Long Island fish soup, with hake, flounder and shrimp, adds rouille to a slice of baguette for a hint of bouillabaisse.
Salade Lyonnaise, with frisée, lardons and a slow-cooked, organic egg, may compete with gravlax with sweet-and-sour red onion and shaved fennel or braised leeks. An excellent selection of four cheeses, with toasted raisin-pecan bread, is offered as an appetizer, but would be even better after your main course.
Butternut squash agnolotti: silky and outstanding, with roasted apple and rosemary brown butter. Reuge's tagliatelle with duck ragout also is carefully prepared and easily recommended.
Subtle, roasted arctic char arrives with a delicate, golden-beet custard and crushed potatoes. Fluke steak with saffron potatoes and an herbaceous velouté is an elegant alternative. Milk-poached hake, mild yet rich, is flanked by a delicious, crisp-outside and airy-in seafood croquette that's the size and shape of a generous hamburger, and by greens capped with a slowly cooked egg. Maybe you'll find caramelized Peconic Bay scallops with celery-root puree and lemon gremolata.
The pan-roasted filet of beef, with a potato napoleon and roasted carrots, and the Painted Hills shell steak with roasted vegetables both are tender and to the point.
Long Island's true big duck, in two courses, always is on the menu. The accompaniments may differ. The seared duck breast, for example, could be with sauerkraut, bacon and cranberry mustard; or with Southern grits. The classic confit of duck leg stands out with a sweet-potato cake and date sauce.
Mirabelle's ginger-almond tart also is a regular in the new wave. A soufflé is a must for at least someone at your table. It could be gingerbread-and-rum, apple-and-Calvados, candy cane.
In any flavor, it means happy new year.