Diversions: fine dining during restaurant week, and beyond.

AuthorSmith, Erica
PositionRestaurant review

Fruit of the Vine on Shelter Island

Spurred by nothing short of true passion for outstanding food, Vine Street Cafe owners/chefs Lisa and Terry Harwood built their dream restaurant on Shelter Island. The cafe occupies a building formerly used as an artisan bakery. Now, wood beams traverse the ceiling and wall sconces provide soft lighting in the dining room, an ideal spot for intimate conversation and romantic evenings. Modestly referring to their restaurant as "an American bistro," the Harwoods lovingly present an exceptional, diverse menu that features both classic cuisine and an edgy fusion. All within good taste, of course.

The seasonal menu utilizes the freshest meats and produce of the area and a chef's philosophy that it's possible to create great meals only from the best ingredients. Not surprisingly, Vine Street Cafe excels in the preparation of several seafood dishes featured on the appetizer and entree menus. The starter Ahi Tuna Tataki, one of the restaurant's fusion dishes, and the Jumbo Prawns (with the slightest essence of curry) were executed with the utmost precision and diligence. Calamari frisee was a light, refreshing appetizer with perfectly tender fried squid rings. Back to terra firma: If you've never had venison, this is the place to try it. A roasted rack of venison complemented with spinach and mashed sweet potatoes was as tender and juicy as sashimi tuna, and dispelled any notions that venison is always gamey. In addition to its seasonal menu, Vine Street Cafe offers a signature entree each night of the week, the plat du jour, again with careful attention to the best of the local offerings.

Lisa Harwood has the same delicate touch in creating her masterful desserts--the star is the Gateau au Chocolat topped with her own mint chocolate chip ice cream. There's always an assortment of ice creams and sorbets, in flavors dictated by seasonal fruits and berries. The dessert menu is rounded out with cordials, dessert wines (including aged ports), cognacs and coffee drinks, making for an all-around sophisticated and satisfying dining experience.

On the Green in Riverhead

A country club atmosphere extends into Stonewalls Restaurant for good reason: It's located at The Woods at Cherry Creek Golf Club in Riverhead. Whether you're just coming off the course or have never picked up a club in your life, you're sure to enjoy the near-panoramic views of the lush, green course afforded by the tall windows on each side of the...

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