The brilliant white, 1842 Greek Revival building, once a private home and most recently an antiques center, has been stunningly transformed, re-imagined and made into one of Long Island's showcase restaurants.
In 2005, owners Bill Campbell and Simon Critchell acquired the property. Five years later, the makeover began. In addition to the current restaurant and "event space," expect a luxury hotel in 2013.
Now, contemporary artwork plays off the white interiors for a near-gallery effect. The pointillist, achingly tasteful main dining area delivers a harvest of focal points, from paintings to plates.
Colicchio and chef de cuisine Ty Kotz make Topping Rose House locavore central with monthly menus that highlight East End purveyors and farms. They give marquee billing to vegetables and fruits usually found well below the title. Topping Rose has its own farm, too. At first, it seems a bit precious. But the results often are sensational.
Their upscale, autumn-vegetable ragout adds a poached organic farm egg and nickel-size pieces of bone marrow for a very rich opener. Braised chili bacon, horseradish and molasses jus complement flawlessly fried oysters.
Lasagna translates into a folded square of delicate pasta capped with a savory, artfully manicured combination of broccoli florets and Parmesan cheese.
This month, also order gnocchi perfected with nutty, sweet, pumpkin-hued red kuri squash and brown butter, and sprinkled with crunchy snippets of fried zucchini blossom. If you're inclined, a $95 supplement brings in fresh white truffle.
Or be more rustic and sample paccheri, an elongated riff on rigatoni, in a mild pork ragu; or maybe bucatini with clams and parsley, fired-up with chilies.
The foil for singular, spice-roasted lobster: braised onions, saffron and fennel; or wild mushrooms and baby carrots. Cranberry beans, lemon confit and olives complement velvety, braised bigeye tuna. Cardoons, baby carrots, fennel and turnips do it for snowy striped bass. Roasted, juicy Rohan duck benefits from syrah jus, sweet potato and spigarello, a smooth cousin of broccoli rabe.
Pastry chef Cassandra Shupp's sweets are exceptional, from cardamom-spiced doughnuts with lemon cream to tarte Tatin with salted caramel ice cream; warm chocolate tart with ricotta ice cream and roasted fig to pear-cream cheese parfait with pear-fig jam and almond meringue. Cocoa-nib granita: addictive. Stay hyperlocal with Milk Pail spiked apple-cider sorbet.
For many years, the grand house of County Judge Abraham Topping Rose was a landmark.
It is again.