Since we spent half of July on Long Island we had plenty of opportunities to try out a variety of restaurants, breweries and wineries.
Porto Bello – Eric’s parents had eaten here during a restaurant week event, so we decided to give it a shot. All the outdoor tables were booked so we sat inside looking out at the harbor while listening to Jimmy Buffet and other island-type tunes – a strange selection for a “white-cloth” restaurant. A quick look at the menu and it was clear that all the dishes were overpriced. My $32 lobster ravioli looked (and tasted) previously frozen and my dining companions didn’t fare much better. The service didn’t improve the situation as it took over 15 minutes for our waitress to bring two glasses of wine. I would not go back.
Case’s Place – We braved the windy conditions to eat outside on a picnic bench with the lovely view (below). I had the raw oysters to start followed by mussels and all were tasty. Eric had the chicken fingers and although it took a while to track down the promised honey mustard sauce, he enjoyed them. E’s parents both had the grilled seafood platter and relished every bite. Quite informal, but the prices and food are good value for the area, and the views are outstanding when the weather is nice.
A Lure Chowder House – Another restaurant week revisit, this place has a deep focus on seafood. I opted for the mussels and fries (mussels were fine but fries were limp and room temp). Eric ordered the fish and chips and when he asked for tartar sauce he was given thousand island dressing. Everyone else ordered the macadamia nut crusted fish special which was “pretty good.” For the price, I don’t think I would rush back.
Grana – We ordered two margherita pies for pick-up and although it was a bit of a process (waited on hold for five minutes, got hung up on accidentally, busy signal when called back) the hostess was nothing but apologetic when we picked up our order. Pizza was good with loads of fresh basil – yum!
Cutchogue Diner – Diners aren’t typically known for their atmospheres but the people watching was entertaining and I loved the branded cups and plates. The waitress wouldn’t come over to take our order because the kitchen was slammed so we had to wait about 15 minutes with the menus. Eric had the chocolate chip pancakes and I had the chili cheddar omelet special. Everything was filling and tasty – as it should be!
Caruso’s – Located in the Roanoke Plaza in Riverhead, this unassuming pizzeria serves tasty homemade pasta dishes and one of the best local cheese pizzas we’ve tried in the last five years. Their wine selection is limited but inexpensive and drinkable. This is a regular place for my in-laws so the service is always friendly and fast.
Goldberg’s Bagels – This place is a bit hit and miss with the quality but their breakfast sandwiches are amazing.
North Fork Brewing Co – Situated in old fire house in downtown Riverhead, this new brewery serves up a good selection of beers. Eric enjoyed the Bucket Rides (wild blackberry weissbier) and I had the Gaffer’s Hearth (breakfast stout). The beers we tried were tasty and they have crowlers available for take-away.
Jamesport Farm Brewery – This brewery has a gigantic outdoor space with loads of seating and is great for picnicking families and people with dogs. They also had a food truck on site serving hot pretzels with amazing smoked gouda cheese dip! We liked it so much the first time, we brought the whole family back the next day.
Macari Vineyards – One of our usual stops when we come to the North Fork, we’ve noticed that lately we’ve enjoyed the whites more than the reds as they tend toward the Bordeaux style (not my favorite). That said, on this visit the recent release of Dos Aguas impressed me. Eric was a bit bummed that they weren’t selling the 2017 rose just yet, and that the Early Wine was sold out already. We’ll be back at Christmas!
Lenz Winery – Great tasting as usual. We prefer the reds here in general but the sparkling is always a big hit. And you need to drop in if only to admire the amazing chalk art!
Bridge Lane Wines – Macari was a zoo on Sunday, so we drove a little further and ended up at Bridge Lane where we nearly had the place to ourselves. We choose a chilled bottle of rose and enjoyed it outside on the colorfully painted picnic benches.