After reading through Edible East End, a magazine devoted to harvesting local, seasonal foods on Long Island, we decided to spend our second evening of our long weekend getaway dining at one of the fall issue's feature restaurants, Scrimshaw.
Scrimshaw is located on Preston's Wharf in downtown Greenport, across the street from Claudio's, where we had enjoyed our first meal. The menu was elegant in its simplicity; there were only five appetizers, five entrees, and a few specials from which to choose, but all had several components and seemed to be influenced by Asian cuisine. The decor was also elegant yet simple - candlelit white walls with photographs of scrimshaw (delicate engravings done on whale bones or teeth) and masthead statues scattered throughout.
Continuing my newly-developed love affair with pork belly, I decided to try the special appetizer. Two large squares of pork belly arrived in a hoisin sauce alongside a basket of steamed buns. The meat was a bit undercooked for my taste, some parts having the consistency of jelly, but the flavor was amazing - star anise and five-spice stood out in particular - and I enjoyed making little sandwiches with the meat and the buns.
For my entree, locally raised duck, of course, or "Crescent Farm Long Island duck breast with cherry sauce and sweet potato fries." This is the duck mentioned in the Edible article. Again slightly undercooked, the skin and fat on the duck breast did not have the crispness I wanted, but the meat was tender and juicy, the sweet potato chips were crispy, and the sauce was a great accompaniment. It was a very good fall dish that paired well with the Wolffer Estate Pinot Noir we were drinking.
Chris started with the Scrimshaw chowder, a lovely stew of Long Island seafood simmered in cream, leeks and potatoes. It was a cream-based broth, but wasn't overly thick, as many New England-type chowders tend to be. In addition, it had plenty of fish and herbs to give it great flavor and heartiness.
Chris was disappointed in his entree, a sea bass served with mussels in a tomato-coconut broth. The bass was overcooked, a couple of the mussels had an off-taste, and the tomato-coconut broth overpowered rather than enhanced the fish.
The service was a let-down, especially for a place that looked and felt so sophisticated. Servers were bustling to and fro but our water glasses sat empty on the table, as did our dirty dishes. In all, there were some ups and downs at Scrimshaw, but the Asian-inspired American seafood menu is unique and, in my opinion, worth a visit.
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