Signature Dish: The Southold Grill at North Fork Table & Inn, Long Island

At the North Fork Table & Inn, which is located in Southold, next to the Peconic Bay in New York State’s Long Island, the focus has long been on fresh, local produce with soul. Chef de Cuisine Steven Barrantes and his team bring the acclaimed chef and restaurateur John Fraser’s visions to life, celebrating the bounty of Long Island’s farms, vineyards and waterways.

Supper sat down with Barantes to find out more about one of his signature dishes, The Southold Grill.

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What inspired the Southold Grill?
The inspiration came from being surrounded by water; we wanted to create a dish that was a direct connection to the bounty of the local waters. 

What’s in the dish?
Right now we have grilled tilefish, scallops, squid, and a monkfish roulade that has scallop mousse wrapped in caul fat. It is finished with a seaweed salad, charred lemon, herb bouquet, and a fumet made from the bones of the fish. 

How is the dish made?
All of the items we cook over the hearth. The scallop and tile fish are simply grilled and finished with fresh lemon juice; the squid is lightly scored, grilled, sliced and then tossed with a seaweed salad we mix. The monkfish is laid out in caul fat with a mousse made from scallop and then grilled until golden brown. We make a bouquet of herbs depending on what the farms are growing at the moment. We add a poached turnip for a hearty vegetable and it all sits in a fish broth made from the bones and seasoned with caper brine, fish sauce, lemon juice, and a lot of olive oil. 

Why is this dish one of your favourites?
I enjoy showcasing different techniques in a single dish; from the monkfish roulade, to the grilled squid, to the simply-grilled tile with crispy skin. Each protein and component needs a high level of attention so it shines in the dish. 

What personal touch did you put on this dish?
The roulade I truly believe is a very unique concept. We took inspiration from chef John’s Mediterranean heritage of the kokoretsi and added a North Fork twist. I truly think it’s a very unique way to manipulate the monk and scallop from our waters. 

Where do the ingredients come from?
We work very hard with our local fish purveyor to get us local and seasonal products. Scallops we get from Shinnecock – the tilefish, monk, and squid we source from the Atlantic Ocean. 

How do you see this dish evolving with the seasons?
In the summer we take cherry tomatoes and marinate them with saffron and garlic for a bright and flavourful punch of juicy umami. In the colder months we use root vegetables for heartiness. For the seafood, we work with the fishermen to use what they can source at the time. 

What’s your favourite thing about this dish?
I love the aesthetic and how the dish makes an impact visually. Each component has its flavour, from rich to sweet to complex to simple – it has a little bit of everything.