Wondering what’s hot — and what’s hotter — on the North Fork this season? Wonder no longer. This fork is showing its fantastic true colors this year. Eat around the area, while the eating is good.
In Greenport, hot is a relative term. Claudio’s has technically been around for a full century. Last summer, however, a new team arrived, including Tora Matsuoka, from Sag Harbor’s Sen Restaurant. A change of hands meant time to revise a timeless classic. So far, Claudio’s is just as brilliant as ever, with an unparalleled slice of waterfront property to back up its stellar menus. New this year, however, is Pizzeria Baccano, the pet project of pizzaiolo Nino Coniglio, owner of Williamsburg Pizza. The team installed state-of-the-art Italian Coppone ovens and is churning out delicious, Sicilian-style pies.
Equally hot (and cool) is Claudio’s new second floor, where ‘Up Stirrs, a specialty cocktail venue has just opened. The bar and lounge features 28 handcrafted cocktails, featuring local ingredients. In addition to a classic selection of drinks, the team at ‘Up Stirrs plays around with fan favorites, which is why you’ll find the Fro-Groni — a frozen version of the Negroni, a drink of sweet vermouth, Campari, and gin — on the ambitious menu.
Mattituck’s Pizza Rita is sure to make your must-do list this season. This hot Neapolitan pie venue is actually the extension of a successful food truck, fashioned from a 1946 Chevrolet Rack Truck outfitted with a Mugnaini wood-fired oven. The brick-and-mortar restaurant opened in early June and has been churning out piping hot, inventive pies ever since (yes, the margherita is brilliant, but so is the squash blossom and ricotta salata pie).
Jack’s Shack, at Greenport’s Sound View Hotel, is a reinterpretation of the famous Southold beach concession stand of the 1930s. Army veteran Jack Levin went on, in 1953, to become the original owner of the Sound Shore Motel (now Sound View Greenport). The shack serves lobster rolls, cold drinks, and assorted delicious bites right in front of the most inviting pool on the North Fork.
Austrian chef Wolfgang Ban, who owns Green Hill Kitchen, has opened up a second Greenport restaurant this season. At Anker, diners can enjoy a seafood-forward menu, with selections like oysters with sea water and yuzu air, lobster with spinach and white asparagus, fluke over shallots and sugar snap peas, a soup of ramps, sea scallops, and asparagus, and cod served with fava beans and hijiki seaweed. The restaurant aims to represent the best farms and fisheries of the North Fork, shifting its menu to accommodate whatever the market has to bear. Even the inventive cocktail list embraces localism. Try the Lavender Fields, a drink of gin, local lavender honey, bitters, and frothy egg white.
The North Fork is the place to be — and, most importantly, it’s the place to eat. Make sure to hit these places while they are still smoldering.