Hearts sank when Bayville’s 18 Bay closed last summer. For a while, chef-owners Elizabeth Ronzetti and Adam Kopels continued to cook at the restaurant, albeit for private dinners only. Then … silence. The pair moved to Southold earlier this year, promising an East End restaurant in the future. They looked at locations on both the North and South Forks, but settled for a space in between, on Shelter Island.
Earlier this month, the restaurant opened. It’s still called 18 Bay but the address is 23 North Ferry Rd. on Shelter Island — the former home of Planet Bliss.
Actually, “bliss” aptly describes Ronzetti and Kopels’ mood these days. They were always the most market-centric, produce-focused chefs I knew, and now they are living in Long Island's epicenter of farm-fresh fruits and vegetables and just-landed fish.
“We roll out of bed and into Southold Fish Market,” Adam said. “The fish are still in rigor mortis." When they shop for vegetables, they can "watch the lettuces getting pulled out of the earth.”
When I reached them by phone earlier today, they were zigzagging along Country Road 48 looking for a good price on fava beans.
To best reflect the market’s bounty, the new 18 Bay offers one four-course menu every evening for $50. The first course is a selection of antipasti (recent items: local razor clams with chili and mint vinaigrette, kimchee-braised short ribs, baby turnips with rhubarb), next is handmade pasta (e.g., spaghetti alla chittara with roasted cherry tomatoes and pecorino), next is fish (local striped bass with summer squash and basil pesto) or meat (veal flank steak with local lettuces and creamy garlic vinaigrette and garlic scapes). Finally, one of Ronzetti’s simple, elegant desserts, often based on local fruit, but sometimes there’s nothing like a chocolate cupcake.
18 Bay is open for dinner from Thursday through Monday. The restaurant is at 23 N. Ferry Rd. (Rt. 114), Shelter Island; 631-749-0053.
The address has changed, but the cupcake remains the same.