Restaurant Review: First and South

I was happy to spend 12/12/12 in Greenport on a mini-getaway. To celebrate my husband’s birthday we stayed overnight at the Harborfront Inn. Of course we dined at First and South—it’s been on my list of restaurants to try since it opened last spring. In fact, when we checked in at the Harborfront the attendant suggested, unprompted, that we have dinner there.

First and South is, as you may have calculated, on the corner of First and South Streets. It’s housed in a big, welcoming Victorian. Co-owner Sarah Phillips showed us around. I love the “funky stuff” like the old, peely-paint ice box used for storage and the chalkboard wall in the dining room. Local artists decorate this wall; right now it’s adorned with the image of a large fireplace decorated for Christmas.

We chose to dine in the bar at a cozy table. Bartender Kevin warmed us up with a Winter’s Crush (me) and a Sidecar (Husband). I adored my “Crush” of blackberries, lemon juice, cloves, allspice, honey, Calvados and Jameson Irish Whiskey, served warm. I really liked the added textural interest of the blackberry seeds. I’d have it again—though I may have to wait a bit. First and South, which has been open seven days a week all year, is taking a well-deserved rest beginning January 4, through February 14, 2013.

Husband found his Sidecar quite sour, effectively grapefruity in flavor.

Some local favorites on the bar menu include Sparkling Pointe, Lieb Cellars, Jamesport Vineyards, Macari Vineyards, and Greenport Harbor beers.

Naturally we had to try the award-winning, hand-cut French fries. Sooo good! They’re about the size of my fingers and served—just as they should  be—piping hot. Do yourself a “flavor” and order both the Black Garlic Aioli AND the Sriracha Mayo for dipping. The “Home Made Ketchup” did not excite, but those fries! I kept eating them long after I should have stopped.

Our server Sean made some helpful suggestions but he seemed to genuinely be in lust with every item on the menu.

I was, as usual, not in the mood for Crispy Duck Tongue, so I ordered the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner. A half chicken with delish mashed potatoes and Swiss chard, it was a winner in that the meat was tender, moist and mild. The Swiss chard was quite fresh but had a hint of smokiness to it. I ate all of my veggies but had most of the bird wrapped for lunch the next day. I was too stuffed to even try a dessert—especially after I’d “helped” Husband with his salad.

Husband ordered the Cauliflower Salad and he’s still raving about it. Local cauliflower with chopped almonds and ribbons of carrot in garlic yogurt. Quote: “This is a pretty incredible way of serving cauliflower!”

Husband moved on to the Skirt Steak which he quite liked—I didn’t get any of that. At first he enjoyed the accompanying Roasted Autumn Vegetables but he soon grew weary of the required heavy chewing—they weren’t very “roasted.”

Sean’s description of the New York Cheese Plate was enticing but Husband had also failed to save room for dessert.

We can’t wait to get back to try breakfast and lunch at First and South. I’m generally impressed with Chef Taylor Knapp’s work and I’m excited to see—and taste—what year two will bring. In the meantime, you might well enjoy attending their New Years bash. It features dinner service until 1:30 a.m. plus signature snacks and live music for only $65 per person. (Make your reservations right away!) First and South promises “simple food made great, great food made simply.” 

First and South, 100 South Street, Greenport, 631-333-2200, firstandsouth.com

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