Restaurant Review: Amarelle

Amarelle means “cherry tree.” Situated across from the village pond in Wading River, Amarelle is quite picturesque inside and out.

This restaurant gets high marks from me for its friendly, efficient staff. Our server Steve was delightful, an enthusiastic foodie. Diane and Eric milled pepper and cleared with silent precision. I can’t say enough about how beautifully each dish is presented, you have to see it for yourself. Chef and owner, Lia Fallon, is also a professional food stylist. We eat first with our eyes—at Amarelle your eyes will feast.

My husband and I sampled some summer cocktails—an Amarelle Lemon Sunset of Limoncello, Meyer lemon, bourbon, club soda and tart cherry juice for me, a Basil Gimlet of gin, agave nectar, muddled basil and lime for him. My Sunset, in shades of pink, was strong in a good way—it took CHARGE of my evening relaxation. Husband found his Gimlet “nice, good-smelling, not too sweet.” [expand]

But you’re reading this to learn about Chef Lia Fallon’s food. In a word, “Oh, yeah!”

I went for a Summer Prix Fixe, which is served from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., so I started with the Tomato Gazpacho. I’ve never been a big gazpacho fan—but color me newly converted. Hello, tiny ribbon of sour cream…

For my entrée I had the Squash Three Ways—zucchini grilled with balsamic vinegar, patty pan roasted with bamboo rice and currants and a pan-seared squash blossom stuffed with goat cheese mousse. Yum. This squashy selection was the essence of summer and I felt healthy eating it. The bamboo rice was tender and delicious. The squash blossom, otherworldly.

Then I thoroughly enjoyed a Salad Amarelle of butter lettuce, frisée, arugula, sun-dried cherries, cocoa-dusted goat cheese, delicately toasted almonds and white balsamic vinegar with vanilla bean essence. This is a special salad—exacting but not fussy.

For dessert I had the Profiterole with vanilla gelato and warm fudge sauce. Nothing objectionable here. My guys said they were too stuffed for dessert—but they both found a little room for a bit of my profiterole.

At Amarelle the menu is not strictly divided into “Appetizers” and “Entrees.” Most of the entrees are available as a smaller, appetizer serving. It works.

Husband had the Tomato Medley of heirloom tomatoes, roasted tomato coulis, Parmesan and basil oil. Paired with Palmer’s 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, this is THE moment for tomatoes! Then Husband enjoyed Sea Scallops in brown butter over red quinoa, topped with very crispy shredded leeks. I stole a piece of one scallop—ahh, that pleasing, buttery, creamy sweetness…

Our teenage son ordered the Buffalo Hanger Steak, blackened, with sweet potato pancakes, corn-crusted fried onions and salsa verde. I didn’t have a prayer—no way was I getting a taste of any of it. He very much approved of the savory/sweet combination.

Teenage Boy followed his buffalo course with cheese, the Weekly Cheese Plate—the chef’s selection of local and artisanal cheeses. Truffled Pecorino, Roqueford-Crusted Chevre and Camembert served with dried figs and toasts were gone in a flash.

We also sampled some items from the Chef’s Tasting Menu. The Oyster Fritters with sweet creamed corn, wilted arugula and harissa emulsion were lush and the corn perfect.  The Grilled Watermelon served with heirloom tomato bruschetta, feta and basil was a delight.

We were tempted by the Peach Tartin, but better to make a second, delicious trip to Amarelle. We look forward to trying the Apricot Sorbet.

Amarelle’s Wine List is well edited, concise. In addition to wine from abroad, you can enjoy East End faves including Lenz, Paumonok, Sparkling Pointe and Wölffer.

Of course many of the ingredients are local—food can’t be this good unless it’s local. Enjoy vegetables from the Andrews Family Farm, Davis peaches, as well as Mecox Bay and Catapano cheeses.

 

Amarelle, 2028 North Country Rd., Wading River. 631-886-2242, www.amarelle.net.

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