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Love Lane Kitchen
Did you know that Love Lane Kitchen also does dinner? Commonly a hot spot for breakfast and brunch, this quaint Mattituck restaurant settles into its romantic alter ego after 4 p.m. Chef Cory Guastella serves up an eclectic menu always using fresh and healthy farm-to-table ingredients. Their staple dinner entrée is the marinated double cut baby lamb chops served on top of spiced charred tomato and eggplant. The spice blend and pesto drizzle in this dish may seem like side notes but they truly make these fall-off-the-bone lamb chops shine in all their glory. The Shindig Red from Brooklyn Oenology is a blend of merlot, malbec and Corot noir (a new generation hybrid). The wine’s fruit forward yet mysterious nature is the perfect complement to this intensely flavorful dish, and it allows the light gameyness of the meat and the perfect blend of spices to come together effortlessly.
Some people say a great steak is all about the sauce and in the case of this dish from Cow Fish restaurant it definitely is. The restaurant’s visual appeal takes you back to the Swiss Family Robinson home; it’s almost like a waterfront tree house entirely made of bare wood, inside and out. The classic American novel feel gives way to classic American food, your not so typical surf and turf. Chef David Lucarelli must have known I would be craving a nice New York strip steak with NOLA sauce. He quickly emerged from the kitchen with his famous sauce in hand. The NOLA sauce is a Worcestershire reduction, savory and creamy with a Cajun kick. This meat and potatoes dish is all about the sauce. With the full flavor of a steak, a full flavored robust wine is necessary. The Martha Clara Northville Red Blend was just the ticket. This wine delivered dried black fruit and sweet spice flavor with strong integrated tannins and a palate cleansing acidic finish all coalescing in perfect harmony.
The Ram’s Head Inn
Want to know where the Shelter Island locals hang out? I’ll let you in on a little secret: it is this rustically elegant, very historic inn on top a large hill overlooking Coecles Harbor and the Peconic Bay. To get the full experience be sure to come with an appetite. Chef Joseph Smith presented me with breath taking dish, cracker crusted halibut filet on a bed of sautéed kale submerged in a broth of little neck clam chowder. The crunch from the crust coated in the clam chowder is a match made in seafood heaven. This dish paired beautifully with the 2012 Wölffer Chardonnay. This chardonnay is mainly stainless steel fermented but a percentage of the wine spends time in neutral oak adding a creamy texture and subtle complexity. Bon appetite!
The up and coming yet historic area known as downtown Riverhead has really gotten a face lift over the past few years. It is now the home to numerous eateries and venues for an exciting night on the town. The owner and operator of successful restaurant PeraBell in Patchogue, John Peragine, was smart to invest in a prime location on Main Street. PeraBell Food Bar East in Riverhead opened its doors in June 2015 and was met by many anxious East Enders, excited not to have to drive to Patchogue for this beloved gastronomic adventure. Unique to PeraBell’s Riverhead location is some of the best brick oven pizza in the area. Naturally, we had to indulge our gustatory senses in this much anticipated doughy delight. General manager David Chiarella met us with a fresh from the oven pie topped with prosciutto, arugula and hearty shaves of fresh Parmesan. The crust to sauce to topping ratio was perfection. The cheese was delightfully stringy. Lucky for us, our much-awaited wine paring came straight from the hands of the winemaker himself! Erik Bilka the brains behind Influence Wines dropped off his 2014 Malbec just as we started on our second helping. This young wine with fresh violet, black and blueberry bouquet was a beautifully elegant and fruity complement to the salty robustness of the prosciutto and bitterness of the greens. The pairing of these two items was as wonderful and as natural as we were sitting together harmoniously noshing, as friends often do.