Pure North Fork lives up to its name. Wholesome ingredients, simple décor, hand-sculpted dishes and a host of scenic views make the restaurant, which celebrated its grand opening this summer, a craft destination.
“Chef Mike and I have been creating craft products before it was cool,” said restaurant manager Brian Curtain, who previously worked at Maidstone Arms in East Hampton. “We both come from and trained in scratch kitchens, and it’s food we enjoy as customers.”
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Chef Michael Mandleur trained under lauded former North Fork Table and Inn chef Gerry Hayden, who used farm-to-table before it became passé. Inspired by Hayden, Mandleur immersed himself in East End ingredients and was taught to prepare everything from scratch. No short cuts. Mandleur has applied this concept to creating the menu at Pure North Fork, tying together a level of chic city dining with the quality of farm-fresh ingredients.
“Working for Gerry was and still is the highlight of my career,” said Mandleur. “The man was a literal walking encyclopedia of culinary knowledge. He didn’t do [farm-to-table] to be cool, he did it because he knew that using locally sourced ingredients not only helps the local economy but because fresh is best.”
Small and large plates, tastings and flights, Pure North Fork’s menu is all about sampling. The Duck Spring Rolls, one of their most popular items, is served as a small plate for one or a sharing plate for two with duck right from Crescent Farm in Aquebogue. Pure began serving brunch on Sundays with a menu that is filled with seasonally fresh ingredients like organic chicken and Catapano goat cheese.
“Our brunch is à la carte so you won’t find any recycled catering hall food here like some that host buffets,” said Curtain. “Everything on our menu is prepared in house, daily.”
Gabrielle Reinoso, a lifelong Long Islander, puts farm-flare on city-style cocktails, using agave simple syrup in the Old Fashion and fresh squeezed lemon juice in the French 75. Several of the 22 craft beers on tap come from Long Island, including the Long Ireland Raspberry Wheat. Served in Stolzle stemware the wine list features vintages by neighbors Macari, Lens, Lieb and Jamesport.
The menu is purely North Fork, but the decor is a departure from the vibes found in many wineries. Large leather chairs are arranged in the lounge so guests can enjoy a bite and beverage next to one of their polished white fireplaces. The diversion gives a day on the North Fork a touch of city chic.
“We wanted the feel to be open, airy and bright. Rustic is all around us, and we wanted to be different with the look,” said Curtain.
Soon, fall foliage will be all around North Fork visitors, a sign that harvest season is approaching. Although the fall menu is still in the test kitchen, Curtain and Mandleur are busy making plans to start a reoccurring Sunday Wine Fest.
“The Sunday Wine Fests will feature the best of our local vineyards and will be married with live music and food stations outdoors overlooking our beautiful grounds.”
Pure North Fork is located at 141 Fairway Dr., Wading River.