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Southfork Kitchen sizzles in Bridgehampton

The dining room of the Southfork Kitchen restaurant

The dining room of the Southfork Kitchen restaurant on the Bridgehampton / Sag Harbor Turnpike in Bridgehampton. (May 21, 2011) Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Southfork Kitchen had its trial by fire on Memorial Day weekend, when a blaze closed the place so fiercely devoted to sustainability. The house's own reclamation project led to a June 30 reopening.

Before and after, Southfork has been committed to an idea and has delivered a singular result: Joe Isidori's intensely focused New American cooking.

His setting is dramatic, defined by vintage wood, recycled steel and more that have found new use. Nassau bricks line the entryway. A Pennsylvania barn yielded the floor. The ceiling: a Brooklyn warehouse. The look is spare and rich, industrial and rural, nearly monotone, interrupted by a stirring black-and-white image that suggests a trim from Robert Motherwell's "elegies" to the Spanish Republic.

The menu reads, naturally, like a geography text. The website's list of credits is long and local.

Yes, the whole thing sometimes edges toward the overbearing. But you're rewarded. Southfork Kitchen has long-existed in blog-world via postings from owner Bruce Buschel. His noisy, insistent, meticulous reality is better.

THE BEST

Isidori, whose resumé includes a stint with chef Rick Moonen in Las Vegas and another at the departed Pacific East in Amagansett, regularly changes a what's-good-now spread. You may receive an amuse of ocean-sweet Beau Soleil oysters with salmon roe and Wölffer Estate verjus or just-picked cucumbers. Look for the deeply flavorful clam chowder, with soy-cured bacon and vegetables. The smoked bluepoint oysters with Balsam Farms corn and a North Sea Farms sous-vide egg: savory and sensational. Heirloom tomatoes and preserved Meyer lemon accent lustrous Peconic Bay fluke tartare. Meyer lemon, English peas and hazelnuts gild pan-roasted rainbow trout. Crisp Mediterranean sardines, with aioli, salsa verde and black olives, are stellar. Keep the theme with soulful pappardelle pasta tonnato with tuna, olives, garden chives and anchovies. Veer east for outstanding Montauk bluefish au poivre, finished with David Falkowski's Bridgehampton mushrooms and Balsam Farms onions. Catch sweet short-shell crab alla zucca, with squash, fried egg and speck. Enjoy warm Valrhona chocolate cake with salted caramel ice cream and cocoa nibs; the cookie plate; the petits fours.

THE REST

Fine smoked Jurgielewicz duck, Barnegat Light sea-scallop sashimi, Meyer lemon tart, Mecox Bay Dairy cheeses.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Bridgehampton classic.

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