On the top pincer of the “claw” that forms the East End, the North Fork excels with dining choices highlighting local ingredients that find their way into food and drink menus in a range of options. This year’s top listings include several familiar restaurants, re-imagined and better than ever, and others that mix seaside settings with small-town conviviality.
Claudio’s Restaurant on Main
Claudio’s is certainly familiar if you’ve ever been to the North Fork, especially if you’ve walked along Main Street or the Marina in Greenport. In a landmarked building that dates from the mid-1800s, the original restaurant belonged to the Claudio family until 2018, when it was sold and completely redone. A brightened interior and a new outdoor veranda overlooking the bay are the settings for Claudio’s updated menu. Inside, you may have a sense of déjà vu, though. The bar, imported initially from Manhattan, is still there. So are the tiled white and russet floor and the cooling marble that runs along the wood’s edge, an early precursor to air conditioning. Black and white photos chronicle the restaurant’s history.
On the menu, elevated seafood and steaks feature along with Claudio’s classics. A quick sail from its waterside location, clams and oyster farms from Orient supply the raw bar. Claudio’s tomato-sauced meatballs made with veal, pork and beef with mozzarella inside and parmigiana on the outside, and spaghetti alle vongole with manila clams and a touch of Calabrian chili add a reminder of the restaurant’s Italian heritage. An extensive wine and craft cocktail list is available, perfect for Tuesday night’s DJ spins. Finish with a creamy chocolate mousse or crème brulée. For a fast-casual meal, try non-reservation Claudio’s Waterfront, Crabby Jerry or Claudio’s Pizza.
French cuisine never looked as good as it does at Demarchelier in Greenport. For Manhattanites, Demarchelier was a go-to for nearly four decades: solid bistro food in a lovely setting with gracious European service. When owner Emily Demarchelier decided to leave the city, she returned to her home turf on the North Fork. If ever there was a transplant that improved with age and relocation, it’s Demarchelier. The charming bistro is more spacious with virtually the same décor and menu. The lovely bar, paintings gracing the walls (they’re for sale as before), and the menu will please diners yearning for a Demarchelier fix. Here are the escargots, endive salad, steak tartare and pisaladiere once again—everything you’ve missed, all on a quiet side street in Greenport.
You are encouraged to dine a la français: order a glass of wine—a Provencal rose, a Cabernet Sauvignon or a Chablis—and leisurely savor the beautiful ambiance. You can choose to sit outside on the patio or in sidewalk café seating or have a Proustian experience in the main restaurant. If you close your eyes, you might imagine yourself on the corner of Madison and 86th or perhaps it’s really just the heart of Paris. Reservations by phone only.
North Fork Table & Inn
When John Fraser took over the kitchen at North Fork Table & Inn in Southold, he did more than just tweak the menu. He redid the restaurant’s interior, added a sexy outdoor patio, and gave diners a bonus: a gourmet food truck that sits in front of a beautifully landscaped picnic area. The menu draws ingredients from the farms surrounding the restaurant: tomatoes, corn, radishes, whatever’s the freshest of the day – it’s the definition of farm-to-table or sea-to-table dining. Shinnecock scallops and Montauk tuna are standouts. Cocktails utilize herbs from the area as well and are a refreshing aperitif to a glass of RGNY’s North Fork rose.
By all counts, North Fork Table remains a special-occasion restaurant, but with the food truck, an exciting brunch and a menu with more options than its prix fixe predecessor, the restaurant is now more accessible to all who might decide to dine there on a whim. But if you have your heart set on a reservation, it’s still advisable to book in advance. The restaurant is as popular as ever.
A Lure Chowderhouse and Oysteria
Set against scenic Peconic Bay in Greenport, A Lure Chowderhouse and Oysteria specializes, as you might guess, in local oysters and seafood. Incorporating local produce and seafood into all dishes, the restaurant prides itself on a menu that it calls “contemporary and creative.” Baja-style tacos mix with raw bar selections and “simply grilled” fish of the moment. Local wines represent a wide swath of the North Fork’s Wine Trail vineyards. Ask for a seat in the back overlooking the water for a breezy, relaxed meal.
Duryea’s Orient Point
Sibling of Montauk’s famed seafood spot, Duryea’s Orient Point feels like a quick trip to the South of France. The restaurant is a relaxed, instagrammable party on the water with airy dockside seating and plates designed for sharing. Giant seafood towers grace most tables, along with the restaurant’s signature lobster salad. Connected to the beach by a walkway, Duryea’s also offers a beach break, with seating and service on the sand. Reservations are a must for the beach, while the main restaurant is first-come, first-served. Arrive by boat or car and prepare to wait.
Grana Trattoria Antica and Enoteca
For a change from seafood-heavy menus, Grana specializes in Italian cuisine and top-notch pizzas. The cozy Italian trattoria in Jamesport has indoor seating and two outdoor areas, one fitted with tables with their own fire pits. Snacks like zucchini chips and fried calamari are perfect accompaniments to Grana’s dozen or so kinds of pasta. For pure decadence, order the wild mushroom thin-crust pizza made with fontina, shitake and truffle oil. It’s so delicious, in fact, that you should order two and bring home any leftovers for a next-day indulgence.