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08/05/11 11:29am
08/05/2011 11:29 AM

BARBARAELLEN KOCH PHOTO | The inside of Cody's BBQ and Grill on East Main Street.

When perfecting a piece of barbecued meat, Rich Gherardi says one component will make or break a rack of baby back ribs or beef brisket — and it’s not the barbecue sauce or meat rub.

“When it comes to barbecue, to get the meat right, it’s all about temperature,” the owner of the new Cody’s BBQ and Grill on East Main Street in Riverhead said, just minutes before the restaurant was set to officially open Thursday.

Mr. Gherardi and his staff learned how to cook barbecue meats properly as well as barbecue sauce and rub recipes from Konrad Haskins of the BBQ Institute. Mr. Haskins travels the country teaching restaurant owners and amateurs the proper way to barbecue meats. But don’t refer to him as a consultant or chef, he goes by “pitmaster,” a title Mr. Gherardi and his staff can now claim.

Inside the new 140-seat downtown eatery, it’s hard to imagine that less than a year ago it housed the trouble-plagued Casa Rica restaurant and sports bar which shut down last year after it forfeited its liquor license.

“I couldn’t get rid of them,” Mr. Gherardi said of his former tenants.

Now the restaurant’s walls are adorned with cowboy and cowgirl murals, cacti and steer horns, giving it an authentic southwestern feel.

But Mr. Gherardi is also hoping to make it a sports pub with 10 flat screen televisions and beers like Pabst Blue Ribbon and Blue Moon on tap. The servers wear T-shirts and jeans and patrons will be listening to country music most days.

Mr. Gherardi also hopes to clear out a section of tables and host the restaurant’s first line dancing class Aug. 20.

He said the atmosphere will be one of the biggest draws to the new eatery.

“You can’t just make it on food these days,” said Mr. Gherardi, who previously ran Michael’s at the Boardwalk in the same location. He also owns Michael’s at Maidstone Park in Springs.

That’s not to say the food won’t stand on its own.

The new smoker can cook up to 110 racks of ribs at a time, Mr. Gherardi said. And after the visit from Mr. Haskins of the BBQ Institute, it seems the people in the kitchen know what they’re doing.

“It was like night and day how we were able to get [the smoker] to perform,” Mr. Gherardi said of Mr. Haskins’ tutorial.

The recipes and tutorial on how and when to apply meat rubs was also invaluable, the employees said

“It’s being incorporated in everything we put out,” said chef Bobby Sladky.

For chef Pete Tamburello, learning to “keep the meat moist” made all the difference.

Most entrees are in the $12 to $28 range and include traditional barbecue fare — pulled pork, St. Louis ribs and beef brisket are just a few of the selections. Some of those meats can cook for as long as 12 hours in the smoker, Mr. Gherardi said.

Homemade sauces will also be available for purchase for $7 a bottle. The restaurant will be open from 4 p.m. until 12 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

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06/22/11 12:14pm
06/22/2011 12:14 PM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Alure owner Adam Lovett, seated right, with chef and partner Jeff Uguil, seated left on the deck of the restaurant. Also pictured, along with the waitstaff, are managers Andy Karistinos, left rear, Kathy Nugent, rear second from left and Kerry Ziemacki, standing right.

Owner(s): Tom Schaudel, Adam Lovett and Jeff Uguil

Year established: 2011

Location: Port of Egypt Marina, 62300 Main Road, Southold

Phone: 631-876-5300

Attire: casual/nice

Wheelchair accessible: yes

Hours: Lunch daily (except Monday) noon-5 p.m.; dinner nightly 5-10 p.m., Friday-Saturday until 11 p.m.

Website: www.alurenorthfork.com

A Lure Chowder House & Oysteria, in Southold’s Port of Egypt Marina, is the North Fork’s newest waterfront seafood restaurant and the latest joint venture of celebrated chef Tom Schaudel and restaurateur Adam Lovett. The duo, known for A Mano in Mattituck, Passionfish in Westhampton Beach and Jedediah Hawkins in Jamesport, is joined by chef de cuisine and partner Jeff Uguil, who leads in the kitchen. A Lure serves impeccably fresh fish and seafood in a casual and convivial setting for locals, boaters, day-trippers and vacationers to beautiful North Fork Wine Country.

Pristine waters, big skies and the barrier beach bird sanctuary on Southold Bay are in full view from large windows and a wraparound deck with 100 seats for seasonal alfresco dining. Inside the warm and welcoming year-round dining room are a double-sided fireplace for winter and a 30-foot bar opening onto a side deck. The core of A Lure’s creative and contemporary cuisine is local bounty: East End and East Coast seafood; produce from nearby farms; a Long Island-only wine list; beers from Blue Point, Greenport and Southampton; and specialty cocktails based on fresh fruits. Live entertainment from local musicians makes the scene hard to beat. Entrées feature grilled marinated swordfish with forbidden rice, Thai green curry, asparagus and pineapple mango salsa, as well as cheeseburgers, filet mignon and marinated skirt steak. Sweet endings include Key lime pie with graham cracker crust and flourless chocolate cake with lime-scented caramel and sea salt.

The Dining Guide is not a review column. It appears as a courtesy to Times/Review Newspapers advertisers.

05/17/11 9:28am
05/17/2011 9:28 AM

Owner(s): Diana DiVello
Year established: 1991
Location: 1410 Manhanset Ave., Greenport
Phone: 631-477-1515
Attire: Casual/neat
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Hours: Open for dinner 7 days in season
Website: portobellonorthfork.com

One of the North Fork’s hidden treasures, Porto Bello Restaurant is well worth a trip to its new location, away from noise and crowds, where diners can enjoy delicious food and a spectacular water view in a secluded setting.

Celebrating its 20th year, owner Diana DiVello has returned the restaurant to its original waterfront location in Greenport’s beautiful Stirling Harbor Marina.

Porto Bello offers an extensive Italian menu, as well as fresh local seafood, locally grown vegetables and North Fork wines. Its specialties include stuffed veal chop, pan-seared chicken and the Porto Bello mushroom, grilled and topped with roasted red peppers, Gorgonzola cheese and a balsamic reduction.

“Our Bolognese sauce is a favorite of diners,” said Diana, “made with beef and veal, tomatoes and a touch of cream. And our Italian cheesecake, made with ricotta, is a delectable finish.”

Named “Best of the Best” Italian Food in 2010 by Dan’s Papers, Porto Bello offers an upscale dining experience and professional, friendly staff who pay great attention to diners’ needs. It also provides on-site catering and can accommodate special events.

“We recently had an exciting phone call from Zagat’s, telling us that our ratings for food, service and decor were all up, across the board,” said Diana.

The Dining Guide is not a review column. It appears as a courtesy to Times/Review Newspapers advertisers.

05/04/11 9:21am
05/04/2011 9:21 AM

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Owners Jan and Bill Claudio, center, with staff.

Owner(s): Janice and Bill Claudio, Beatrice and Jerry Tuthill, Kathryn Claudio-Wyse
Year established: 1870
Location: 111 Main St., Greenport
Phone: 631-477-0627       
Attire: Casual/neat       
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Hours: Open seven days; closed seasonally on Tuesday
Web site: www.claudios.com

In 1870, Manuel Claudio left the whaling ship Neva to open a seaside tavern. Today, Claudio’s is the nation’s oldest same-family-owned restaurant, with a bootlegging past that was featured in a History Channel documentary.

History surrounds diners in the circa 1845 registered historic building on beautiful Greenport Harbor. The magnificent Victorian bar was installed in 1886 by Manuel, who salvaged it from an old hotel being torn down in New York’s Bowery. America’s Cup memorabilia and historic photographs grace the dining room.
A classic seafood house, Claudio’s offers waterfront dining on two levels, with a private room for parties and rehearsal dinners. The lunch and dinner menus feature North Fork fish, clams, scallops, oysters, as well as local produce and many local wines. Claudio’s is known for “all things lobster,” serving whole lobsters up to six pounds, as well as lobster tails, scampi, salad and more. Appetizers include award-winning clam chowders, baked clams, crispy calamari and raw bar selections. Among the seafood entrées are pan-seared scallops, soft shell crabs, stuffed shrimp, linguine with clam sauce and more.

Delights from the land include filet mignon tidbits to start, and entrees such as excellent steaks, including porterhouse or New York strip, Long Island duck, or a classic hamburger. Little diners can enjoy chicken fingers, popcorn shrimp or mac and cheese.
The staff is friendly and professional, and the atmosphere is comfortable, with happy hour every Friday from 4 to 6 p.m.

The Dining Guide is not a review column. It appears as a courtesy to Times/Review Newspapers advertisers.

04/28/11 11:23am
04/28/2011 11:23 AM

Owner(s): Bob Haase
Year established: 1979
Location: 40200 Main Road, Orient
Phone: 631-323-2424        
Attire: Casual    
Number of employees: 20    
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Hours: Open 7 days for lunch and dinner during the season.
Web site: orientbythesea.com

Family owned and operated since 1979, Orient by the Sea Restaurant will open soon for its 33nd season, celebrating great food, a beautiful view and loyal customers. With an extensive menu offering fresh local seafood and locally grown, farm-fresh vegetables, Orient by the Sea is enjoyed by both locals and tourists, as well as the many passers-by who arrive via a scenic drive or by boat. The restaurant sits just west of the Cross Sound Ferry terminal, overlooking Gardiners Bay and, after a day at the beach or an afternoon of wine tasting, it’s the perfect place to relax and have a great meal or cocktail and enjoy the friendly service from longtime staffers.

Known for its delicious lobster specials, Orient by the Sea also offers daily fish specials, local Oysterponds oysters and a variety of Long Island wines. Diners can enjoy light fare, including soups, sandwiches and wraps, or a full-course meal, while dining inside or outdoors. There are stunning water views from every table.

“We are the only restaurant in Orient Point,” says owner Bobby Haase, “And we have a spectacular view, a casual, relaxed atmosphere, delicious food and a staff that offers genuine North Fork hospitality.”

The Dining Guide is not a review column. It appears as a courtesy to Times/Review Newspapers advertisers.

12/20/10 2:05pm
12/20/2010 2:05 PM

On the twelfth day of Christmas
My drive-through gave to me: twelve bags of Pepto,
Eleven pounds of blubber,
Ten baked potatoes,
Nine Polish hot dogs,
Eight bowls of chili,
Seven pints of coleslaw,
Six chocolate milk shakes,
Five onion rings,
Four Egg McMuffins,
Three Biggie Fries,
Two Happy Meals,
And a Big Bacon Classic with Cheese.
excerpt from “The Twelve Days of Fast Food,” author anonymous

When I was a young boy in the 1950s we saw the growth of the drive-in restaurant with its gaudy sign, big parking area and carhops. We also saw motels popping up along the highway. Both of these phenomena reflected America’s love of the automobile and its resurgence after World War II. By the late ’50s these mostly mom-and-pop operations were being replaced by chains.
Ray Kroc purchased McDonald’s and created a sparkling clean store with a friendly atmosphere aimed at families in the growing suburbs of America. Kemmons Wilson did the same with Holiday Inn, making it a clean, family-oriented place to stay along the new interstate highway system. By the 1960s, growth of restaurant chains and others was taking place at exponential rates. The term “fast food” was coined to reflect the rapid service at these establishments. The use of frozen food and deep fryers for cooking it were also integral parts of the formula. By 1970 the word “convenience” dominated our vocabulary and the convenience store was born.

All of these developments seemed pretty good, and they matched our increasingly fast-paced lifestyle. We were always on the run and we were willing to sacrifice a few things in the name of convenience. The ultimate expression of convenience was the drive-through window, which was a standard feature by the 1980s for fast food restaurants (and banks). Along the way we didn’t notice what this lifestyle was doing to our health — and the health of our children. We also failed to notice that the old-fashioned family meal was becoming an endangered species.

Americans are now increasingly concerned about how to undo some of the bad habits that we have formed over the years. In 1986, an Italian, Carlo Petrini, organized Slow Food International as a reaction to a McDonald’s that was opened in Rome. This movement has spread throughout the world. Our local chapter is called Slow Food East End; it’s headed by Kate Plumb. This movement strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine, promoting local farms and businesses and encouraging healthier food in our schools.

Here are some recipes that are fast to prepare, but slow to ruin your health:

Horseradish Crusted Cod with Cannellini Beans & Collard Greens

Cut 2 pounds of fresh cod into 4 portions. Shred 1 cup fresh horseradish with a box grater, using the medium holes. Place this in a bowl with 2 tablespoons soft butter, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard and 1/2 cup panko crumbs. Stir this mixture with a spoon until it forms a paste. Spread this on the cod portions and set aside.

Cut 4 ounces of pancetta into strips and place in a large sauté pan. Cook until pancetta begins to brown and add 1 cup chopped onion, 1/2 cup diced carrot and 1/2 cup diced celery. When these vegetables are soft, add 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Rinse 2 small cans of white cannellini beans and add to the pan along with 1 sprig of fresh rosemary, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and the zest of one lemon. Add 1/2 cup chicken broth and 1 bunch of fresh collard greens with the stems removed and the leaves cut into bite-sized pieces. Cover and cook at low heat until the greens are tender and the flavors are combined, about 20 minutes. Season with 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

While this mixture is simmering, put the crusted cod on a sheet pan and place in a 425-degree oven for 15 minutes. Spoon the bean/collard green mixture onto 4 plates and place the crusted cod on top.
Serves 4.

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Lentils and Thyme
Slice 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in half lengthwise to make cutlets. Combine 1/4 cup lemon juice, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme, 1 teaspoon coarse salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Pour this over the chicken and marinate for 1 hour. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan and add 1 cup chopped onion and 1 cup diced carrot. Sauté until soft and add 1 tablespoon minced garlic. Continue cooking and add 1 cup rinsed lentils, 3 cups chicken broth, and 2 sprigs of thyme. Simmer about 25 minutes, or until the lentils are soft.

Remove the chicken breasts from the marinade and dry with paper towels. Grill them with a grill pan or pan-sear them in a sauté pan until they are just cooked, about 5 minutes. Serve them on top of the lentil mixture along with steamed fresh kale.
Serves 4.

Braised Lamb Shanks with Cipollini Onions
Season 4 lamb shanks with coarse salt and pepper. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a Dutch oven and heat until the fat shimmers. Brown the lamb on all sides and remove. Pour off excess fat and add 1 cup chopped onion, 1 cup diced celery, 1 cup diced carrot and 1 cup diced leek. Cook at low heat until vegetables are soft and add 1 tablespoon minced garlic, 1 sprig of rosemary, 1 sprig of thyme and 1 bay leaf. Add 1 cup red wine and cook until reduced by half. Add 2 cups beef broth and the lamb shanks. Cover and place in a 300-degree oven. Cook until lamb is very tender, about 3 hours, turning the shanks every hour to ensure even cooking.
While the lamb is cooking, plunge 2 dozen cipollini onions in boiling water for 2 minutes. Drain and peel. Heat a large sauté pan and add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add the onions and 1 tablespoon sugar. Cook until lightly browned and add 1 cup port wine. Boil to reduce and add 1/2 cup chicken broth. Continue to cook until onions are tender, about 15 minutes. Season with coarse salt and pepper.

When lamb is cooked, remove the meat and strain sauce into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, check for seasoning and stir in 1 tablespoon cornstarch that has been dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water. Bring back to a boil, spoon the sauce over the lamb and serve with the onions.
Serves 4.

John Ross, a chef and author, has been an active part of the North Fork food and wine community for more than 35 years. E-mail: [email protected]

12/16/10 4:13pm
12/16/2010 4:13 PM

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | Restauranteur Dennis McDermott describes how a half wall and other landscaping will serve to separate and insulate outdoor diners from the streets of downtown.

The man behind Greenport’s Frisky Oyster restaurant never expected to be part of a trend that turned a struggling village into a mecca for foodies. But that’s exactly what’s happened after Dennis McDermott opened his Williamsburg, Brooklyn-style eatery in 2002.

Now he’s hoping to ride into downtown Riverhead on the same kind of tidal shift.

The Southold resident has just signed a lease at the long-empty former Chase bank building on East Main Street, a block away from Atlantis Marine World. He’s planning to remodel the building and by next spring open a hip and casual restaurant complete with bar, lounge area and lots of outdoor seating.

Riverhead Supervisor Sean Walter and Mr. McDermott announced plans for the restaurant, to be called The Riverhead Project, in a press release last Thursday.

“Even in this bad economy we are rebuilding Riverhead store by store and block by block,” Mr. Walter said. “We welcome Dennis McDermott and The Riverhead Project as part of the new wave of change in downtown Riverhead.”

In an interview, Mr. McDermott pointed to similarities between Greenport in 2002 and downtown Riverhead today.

“Greenport looked a lot like Riverhead does now; there were a lot of empty storefronts,” Mr. McDermott said standing inside the bank building, with its teller counters and desks where financial officers once sat. “With the success of the Frisky Oyster, there’s been this whole gentrification of Greenport. But it wasn’t our intention to sort of turn a whole town around; it sort of just happened.

“That demographic — affluent, cosmopolitan — was always there. We just tapped into it.”

The Riverhead Project won’t be just a larger version of the Frisky Oyster, now owned by his former head chef. It will be more friendly to families, for instance, said Mr. McDermott. What he will be replicating is his successful style of running a bar and restaurant.

“We’ll be able to absorb a lot of business from the hotel,” he said, noting that the popular aquarium and its adjoining Hyatt Place hotel, which is under construction, will be hosting catered events but without an actual restaurant on the premises.

“If all this stuff in the works for downtown comes to fruition, we’ll be positioned very nicely here as being ahead of the wave of gentrification. We’ll be riding that wave,” he said.

Here’s Mr. McDermott’s vision for the property, which he has yet to submit to the town as a formal proposal:

On the 4,000-square-foot main floor, he wants to build a 100-seat restaurant and lounge, separated by a large island fireplace. A bar would run along the east wall and the action inside would spill outdoors. In front of the building, which gets plenty of sun, he envisions tables with umbrellas along Main Street, where he’ll serve tapas and drinks. Around the corner on the western, quieter side of the building, customers could sit for dinner.

He wants to put a new main entrance on the western side as well, where he’ll install a massive squared archway like the one at the former bank entrance.

“The overall feel is going to be contemporary with a little Palm Springs,” he said.

In the 4,000-square-foot basement, Mr. McDermott wants install the bank vault — currently upstairs — in what he will call the “Vault Lounge.” A large conference room would be transformed into a place for private parties, such as rehearsal dinners for wedding guests staying at the Hyatt. The rest of the downstairs space would house rooms and offices for management.

Mr. McDermott moved permanently to the North Fork after the World Trade Center attacks forced him and his partner, who ran a high-end catering business, to vacate their lower Manhattan flat. Soon after, they started talking about a different type of Greenport restaurant, one without the “fishing net” decor.

With the Frisky Oyster’s success, he opened the Frisky Oyster Bar on Front Street in 2008. Both successful businesses were sold within two years.

“I’m a very project-driven person. And things were starting to get mundane,” Mr. McDermott of the decision to sell both Greenport restaurants. He’s going at the Riverhead venture alone, without a partner.

With the Hyatt Hotel, The Riverhead Project and a buzzing west end of East Main Street, downtown Riverhead appears to be on the brink of the revitalization and gentrification many locals have been hoping for, according to Mr. McDermott.

“There’s a lot you can do with this building,” said Keith Kraus of Laurel, who worked for Mr. McDermott at the Frisky Oyster and will serve as the restaurant’s general manager. “The Frisky Oyster was pretty much a straight shot; it was a box. You had to just maximize for what you wanted to do. In here, you can create that subtle separation of space.

“But what made the Frisky Oyster so successful,” Mr. Kraus continued, “was the fostering of that relationship with the customers. Building that attraction to the space, as if this is their space, too. If you make it special for people, it goes a long way.”

[email protected]