North Fork Table & Inn

Most New Yorkers wouldn't think of fall as the season to go "out East," which is exactly why it's a great time to go. A tour of Long Island wine country during harvest time will take you to one of the best restaurants out East, in the Hamptons or otherwise. The North Fork Table & Inn in Southold is smack in the middle of vineyard-land.

Using local, seasonal ingredients from the myriad neighboring farmers, chef Gerry Haden, formerly of Aureole and Amuse in Manhattan, created an extensive but focused menu that leverages the bounty of quality vegetables, fish, and game available on the North Fork. Though it doesn't come cheap - the average entree price is about $35 - the food at North Fork Table is worth it.

Unlike so many places in the Hamptons where you pay top dollar to get jostled at the bar and neglected at the table, North Fork Table has the ambiance and service to match its price point. The atmosphere inside the quaint old farmhouse is sophisticated and quiet, with a stripped-down, almost stark interior and ambient lighting throughout. Many of the diners are regulars with houses in the area. Everyone seemed particularly intent on the wine list, which is heavy on offerings from North Fork vineyards. Lest you worry you don't know the terroir well enough to pick a bottle, sommelier and owner - with his wife Mary - Mike Mraz will steer you in the right direction, often offering a taste before you commit to a whole bottle. The Paumanok 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Vintage was excellent, and Jay McInerney's Long Island favorite, The Grapes of Roth, is also on the list and all it's cracked up to be.

If there were any misses on the menu, we didn't find them on a recent Friday night. Cod and Yukon Gold potato cakes were light and fluffy, served with homemade tartar sauce laced with truffle oil. The assortment of K.K.'s biodynamic heirloom tomatoes were enveloped in a paper-thin slice of delicious Berkshire pork prosciutto. Apparently, K.K. is a local farmer who's rather obsessed with tomatoes, bathing the seeds in all sorts of concoctions before planting them. "She puts a ram's horn in the earth on the night of the full moon," Mraz joked of her biodynamic methods, which are derived more from the Farmer's Almanac than the bioengineering trickery of today. Ram's horn or no ram's horn, the results are amazing tomatoes.

The white asparagus and fava bean salad was out of this world. Somehow the combination of this cool vegetable crunch, the delicate green onion buttermilk dressing, and the campfire scent of applewood smoked bacon made for an incredible trio. When asked where they got the bacon, Mraz said, "Just the local butcher in Southold." Who knew?

Black Angus strip steak was as good as any you'll find in a steak house, and the accompanying glazed baby carrots and truffled potatoes were on another plane entirely. Fresh fig sauce pooled around the succulent duck breast, giving it a similar sweet tang as a traditional cherry sauce, but with an almost grape-y flavor much better suited to a meal served with fine wine.

The piquillo pepper "gazpacho," made entirely with peppers and laced with shrimp, avocado and cilantro, lacked any of the harshness you might expect from a soup made entirely with peppers, because they had been roasted to a point of falling-apart sweetness.

Kudos go to pastry chef Claudia Fleming too, who makes cinnamon beignets light as air and the triple-threat dessert of chocolate mousse, a brownie, and dulce de leche ice cream.

The best you can expect from most restaurants is an attention to detail. The North Fork Table exhibits an attention to minutiae - microfarming, the microclimate of Long Island wine country, and micromanaging everything that appears on the table. If the fall menu, due to debut any day now, is anywhere near as promising as the summer one, we say please, manage away.

North Fork Table & Inn
57225 Main Road
Southold, New York


Ode To a White Anchovy Sandwich

For the Marinated White Anchovy Sandwich from ‘Wichcraft, Bryant Park Tent, Fashion Week

O sandwich, no one cares for you here.
The briny flesh of silver-backed fish,
The gentle goodness of a soft-cooked egg,
The bracing zing of a salsa verde crushed
Against a minor thicket of frisée:
All these are lost
On a Blackberrying crowd
That won’t drink the free energy drinks
Because they’re caloric.

The strictures of fashion dictate
That your deliciousness shall have no power
Over a group who
If they had to choose between you and a size two
Would always choose the latter, not the fatter.

I am your only admirer.
I know, because I asked. Was there anyone else
Who ordered this sandwich today, or even
All week? No, said the counter lady, hands in pockets.
You’re the only one.


Fashion Week SS08: Anne Klein

And on the seventh day, the fashion world wore jeans.

It's a testament to Isabel Toledo's talent that so many heavy hitters came to the Anne Klein show on the last morning of a particularly grueling fashion week. The artsy Toledo lent a dose of chic and a bit of folly to the traditionally straight-laced brand, where she is entering her second season, without straying too far from its core audience. Suits had an industrial edge. Taking a cue from her husband Ruben, she painted washed silk dresses with colorful flowers. Truly original.

Plum Sykes in jeans
painted jeans

painted everything
colorless glasses frames

Simon Doonan in jeans.

Lynn Yaeger and Mickey Boardman

Anna Wintour

painted tee
Joe Zee

skinny black jeans with platform boots

detached lapels and skinny black jeans
A hand-painted dress at the show. Look for the whole collection on WWD.com later today.

Fashion Week SS08: Marc Jacobs

Bad news: The Marc Jacobs show was going to be delayed by two hours, late by even Marc Jacobs standards. Publicity agents circulated through the hipper-than-thou crowd, suggesting that everyone go get something to eat, get some dinner or something. No one moved.

"There's a bar across the street?" a waiting editor said.

Mass exodus.

The show pinpointed what the crowd outside already knew: There's no one way to corner the market on cool. Breaking with other designers, Marc Jacobs showed a number of silk shift dresses in a cinched-waist season that was already starting to feel a bit constricted. Taking up the challenge to do "sexy," he interpreted it in the French vein: déshabillé, with sheer panels of fabric and visible undergarments. The unexpected clothes and the expansive pageantry of the show were like a long, cool glass of water after a frustrating wait.

Julie Macklowe

fashion power trio
Shalom Harlow and another model - name, anyone?

a Marc Jacobs hat
Carmen Electra makes eye contact

the shoe of the moment, by Balenciaga
Victoria Beckham
Anna Wintour and daughter Bee Schaffer (They arrived well before Posh.)