North Fork Shack is keenly and refreshingly self-aware. The take-out spot towards the eastern end of the wine trail, opened by Creative Courses Catering co-owners Samy Sabil and Ryan Flatley in 2016, delivers no-fuss grub in an unpretentious atmosphere. There are farm tables, blue walls, nautical accents like buoys and a burlap-lined counter that fit in seamlessly with the rustic, beachside nature of the North Fork. But what really has patrons talking is the food, which favors flavor over fancy. Sabil shared the dishes that are as buzz-worthy as a glass of vino at a neighboring winery.
The North Fork is known for taking a hyper-local approach to menus and North Fork Shack is no exception. The eatery sources the fresh local cod from Southhold Fish Market a stone’s throw away. The kitchen soaks the fish in buttermilk and cholula and fries it golden brown. Tartar sauce seasoned with Old Bay, house pickled tomatoes and lettuce make for tangy-savory finishing touches.
Fried food and shacks go together like the North Fork and Sunday Funday, but this dish is perfect for those times when cravings call for something light. But that doesn’t make the grilled calamari at North Fork Shack equivalent to a bland plate of greens (those aren’t on the menu). “Grilling allows for the flavor of the fresh squid,” Sabil said. The caper vinaigrette gives the dish an indulgent feel and the fingerling potatoes, Kalmata olives, scallions and lemon zest mix-and-mingle perfectly with the squid.
Pulled Lamb Pita
The inspiration for this dish comes from a spot in Casablanca, Morocco where Sabil was born and raised. The staff braises the lamb in Moroccan spices and the pita comes with chermoula, one of the country’s traditional condiments consisting of peppers, tomato and cooked-down harissa. Once the eater gets passed the arugula piled on top of the pita, there’s no need to use utensils—the meat is soft and tender.
This taco comes with fish as light and fresh as an afternoon in Greenport. The locally-sourced cod is lightly seared in a pan with a blackening rub. Queso fresco, pico de gallo and chipotle aioli bring a little heat but not so much that someone who prefers mild salsa can’t enjoy it.
A fun twist on the BLT, North Fork Shack uses shiitake mushrooms in lieu of bacon. Bacon lovers need not sulk. “It’s a vegetarian favorite but surprises meat lovers as well.” The ‘shrooms are roasted until golden brown to “bring out a nutty bacon-like flavor and texture.” It comes complete with avocado, tomato, lettuce and a roasted garlic and malt vinegar aioli for added seasoning.
North Fork Shack is located at 41150 County Rd. 48, Southold
There’s plenty to sip while you savor at North Fork Shack. Pulse goes behind the bar in the October Drinkology column. See it Sept. 26.