In this month’s gossip goulash: Greek in Plainview, East End meets East at the James Beard House and Centro opens in Hampton Bays.
Yiasou Yeeros has opened in Plainview, in the Morton Village Shopping Center on Old Country Road. The owner is Stephanie Mantzoukas, a resident of Plainview whose parents have operated a pair of diners in New York City for over 30 years. Mantzoukas felt that the hamlet “was in need of good authentic Greek food,” in particular gyro. “Not only do we use the term ‘yeero,’ which is what it’s called in Greece, but our meat is made using all-natural whole-muscle meat that is hand stacked and vertically rotisseried. You won’t find the processed cones of mystery here,” she explained. In addition to gyro (either chicken or a combo of beef and lamb is available; all are offered as sandwiches as well as platters), Yiasou’s menu includes souvlaki (chicken, pork or shrimp), appetizers like charcoal-grilled octopus, melitzanosalata (roasted eggplant spread) and saganaki (fried graviera cheese), several salads and entrees like moussaka and spanokopita. As my father has reminded me quite frequently throughout my life, “yiasou” means both “hello” and “goodbye” in Greek. 1060 Old Country Road, 516-490-3480
Damien O’Donnell, the executive chef of Harbor Bistro in East Hampton, has been invited to cook at the James Beard House on Jan. 28. The mission of the James Beard Foundation, named in honor of the pioneer chef, teacher and cookbook author, and one of the nation’s preeminent culinary organizations, is “to celebrate, nurture and honor chefs and other leaders making America’s food culture more delicious, diverse and sustainable for everyone.” In addition to holding the James Beard Awards, widely regarded as the food world’s Oscars, annually, the nonprofit organization hosts around 200 dinners every year featuring visiting chefs from across the country in its headquarters, Beard’s former brownstone in New York’s Greenwich Village. O’Donnell’s multi-course meal, titled “East Meets East End,” will be “a good representation of the East End’s fresh local waters, poultry and seasonal produce, all executed with a delicate Asian twist,” he said. The menu will include hors d’oeuvres such as tandoori-spiced fried oysters, while main dishes include sea scallops with risotto croquette, sherry-pickled shiitakes, marinated beets, celeriac velouté and tarragon. Additionally, the meal will be paired with wines from Wölffer Estate Vineyard in Sagaponack. “We have so many talented chefs, makers and growers on the Forks and their dedication is my motivation,” O’Donnell said. “Cooking at the Beard House is as special as it gets in our industry. Some of the greatest chefs who have paved the way for others like myself had the opportunity to express their cuisine within those walls, and that is priceless. The history that kitchen holds is a book that continues to be written. It’s an honor and a privilege to be a part of something so special.”
Centro Trattoria & Bar opened in Hampton Bays last month, in the space that formerly housed another Italian restaurant, Villa Tuscano. Centro’s owner is Sal Biundo, a former partner at Osteria Salina in Wainscott, and its chef is James Carpenter, whose résumé includes the American Hotel in Sag Harbor and East Hampton’s The Living Room at c/o The Maidstone. Biundo described the menu as “fresh and authentic Italian food with a dash of Mediterranean influence.” Items include fritto misto, linguine con le vongole and whole branzino. There is also a selection of salumi (capicola, mortadella) and several pizzas (one is topped with wild mushrooms, mozzarella, arugula and truffle pecorino) cooked in a wood-burning oven. The dining room seats 70. The space also has two marble bars and an outdoor bocce court. 336 Montauk Highway, 631-594-5744