Restaurant Review: Jamesport Manor Inn

The Jamesport Manor Inn is off the beaten track (Route 25) in Jamesport. This is a good thing. The setting is bucolic with ponies, open fields and flowering crops all around it. There was in fact a rainbow over the adorable little red horse barn when we arrived.

The Inn itself is a real gem. It’s mind boggling to consider that what appears to be a remarkably untouched 1850s mansion was actually built four years ago. A fire reduced the then newly restored, original building to ashes in 2005, just before it was set to open. It was obviously a labor of epic love that inspired owners Matt and Gail Kar and Frank and Anne McVeigh to rebuild every detail of the original. It’s spacious and well appointed. But that is another story, let’s talk food-no art first!

After you enter, the first thing to complement the enjoyment of your dining experience at the Jamesport Manor Inn are the works by local artists displayed on the walls. These are some beautiful, classic walls and the art on display right now is paintings, screen prints and drawings by Scott McIntire and Dianne Martin. I was quite taken with McIntire’s iconic North Fork images upstairs in the Rosalie Dimon Gallery. I especially liked the tractors and black birds. The big blue octopus screen print seems a bit out of place aesthetically-but it’s a fun moment. Martin’s bird compositions are both sweetly sentimental and layered with fascinating texture.

My husband and I found the Inn’s staff friendly and helpful. Our server, Ron, was very open about his favorite menu items and how much he likes working at the Inn and that the steak is “huge” and the gravlax “really good.” This was all encouraging. We were tempted to try the Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and Pear Tomato Salad with Avocado Lime Puree. We probably will the next time we’re there.

My husband started with the Smoked Atlantic Salmon Gravlax. He quite liked his salmon with toast points, paddlefish caviar and creme fresh. He found it “refreshing” and “not too heavy.” There were tasty arugula sprouts sprinkled on top-instantly spoiled, he wants EVERYTHING sprinkled with fresh arugula sprouts now!

I started with the Roasted Local Beet Salad. So aged goat cheese, bacon, orange sections and roasted pistachios began my Jamesport Manor Inn odyssey. The pistachios provided an interesting textural dimension and the bacon was particularly well chosen-but what is it that made all the dishes I had somehow spot-on? After our meal it hit me-everything was served at exactly the right temperature. Temperature is very important when it comes to presenting a dish at its best. Hats off to Jamesport Manor Inn Executive Chef Michael Mandleur and Sous Chef Thomas Cooper! I look forward to chatting with Mandleur about this at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks on July 16.

For my entrée I ordered the Goat Cheese Pan-Roasted Organic Chicken with Maple Acorn Squash Puree and Asparagus with a Red Vinegar Reduction. This chicken should come with a warning-somehow the combination of the rich, proteiny chicken and the hot, oozing cheese on top will make you want to eat the chicken skin. I haven’t eaten a chicken skin in years. Oops. I didn’t eat it all at once though, I had a piece of chicken packed to go home. It was really good cold, the next day. I’m not typically a sweetened squash fan, but the deepened maple flavor worked its magic.

My husband ordered the Seared Atlantic Sea Scallops and Braised Barbeque Spare Ribs with Garlic-Scented Spinach and Smoked Paprika Oil. He found the scallops just right and I agreed, based on one half of his smallest scallop. I can also testify that the barbequed ribs are nicely spicy with pronounced mustard seed. My home grillmaster commented that it’s a rare rib that isn’t chewy, but tender like these. Ooh, and a bed of fresh, local spinach, now that’s livin’.

He was happy to finish with a heated cognac. I had a Trio of Sorbet & Gelato for dessert. It wasn’t easy to choose the flavors but ultimately Pistachio, Pomegranate and Blueberry Merlot hit all the right notes.

Local offerings at the Inn include Crescent Farm Duck Breast and Peconic Bay Oysters. Long Island wines are also featured, including Paumanok, Lenz and Grapes of Roth. The wine list includes a good selection of bubbly plus Wolffer’s Ver Jus. ‘Love that. There is also an array of French and West Coast wines to choose from.

I was gazing out the window, contemplating what a great site the Jamesport Manor Inn must be for weddings when-blink-fairy lights all over the trees sprang to life. Perfect!

Note: At this time of year you can expect the sun to set beautifully behind the idyllic horse farm at about 7 p.m. Don’t miss it! My he-man husband’s commentary in this matter : “That has to be the best view from a restaurant I’ve ever seen.” Check it out!

The Rosalie Dimon Gallery, located on the 2nd Floor of the Jamesport Manor Inn, hosts the works of local artist members of the East End Arts Council quarterly. The public is welcome into the Jamesport Manor Inn to enjoy complimentary local wine and cheese and to meet the artists this Sunday, May 22, 3-5 p.m. Their work will be on display through August 6.

Following the reception the Jamesport Manor Inn will be offering a special Reception Prix Fixe beginning at 4:30 p.m. at $35 per person.

Jamesport Manor Inn and its Rosalie Dimon Gallery are open Wednesday through Saturday, noon-10 p.m., Sunday 11:30 a.m. -10 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday. Jamesport Manor Inn, 370 Manor Lane, Jamesport 631-722-0500.

jamesportmanorinn.com.

Check out all the best food that the East End has to offer, including selections from The Jamesport Manor Inn, at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks on July 16. Find ticket information and all the details on danstasteoftwoforks.com.

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