Nearly 15 years after Cuvée Seafood & Grille made its Greenport debut, the Front Street restaurant is preparing to close its doors.
Owner and executive chef Deborah Rivera Pittorino announced this week that Cuvée’s last dinner service will be held Monday, Sept 7. The New American cuisine-style restaurant will remain open for private events; the property’s adjacent Greenporter Hotel, which Pittorino also owns, is unaffected by the news.
In a press release, Pittorino explained that she has decided to close Cuvée due to a “family health issue.” Her husband, Bill, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer last summer.
“Throughout the year, [Bill] has been on a difficult journey as he has undergone surgeries and a myriad of treatments,” Pittorino said. “Most recently, he began a new round of chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering and will also be participating in some studies at a few other hospitals around the U.S. as they seek additional opinions.”
Pittorino, 54, is a former Manhattan investment banker who now owns a quantitative finance business. She bought the Greenporter Hotel in October 2000 and opened Cuvée in March 2001 after guests expressed a desire for a fine-dining establishment.
“I had just planned to have a hotel, but our customers were looking for fine dining, so I had to create that here,” she told northforker in an interview earlier this month. “This was before The Frisky Oyster, before Noah’s.”
As Cuvée’s executive chef, Pittorino has made an effort to use local ingredients whenever possible, purchasing produce from North Fork farm stands like Satur, Sep’s and Latham’s farms. She also has a longstanding relationship with area vineyards.
“I made a commitment to local vineyards in the beginning and have never served California wine in this restaurant — ever,” she said. “My feeling is that if you’re coming to the North Fork, I want you to have a local wine experience.”
In addition to shopping local, Pittorino has long cultivated a garden in front of Cuvée featuring more than 40 herbs, fruits and vegetables — all of which she incorporates into menu items.
“I grow lavender and make my own lavender syrup for cocktails,” she said. “All the herbs I grow here we use in cooking and to garnish plates.”
Over the years, Pittorino said, Cuvée has established itself as a “no-fuss” restaurant with an emphasis on seafood.
“It’s not a fussy place,” she said. “We’re not aspiring to be anything but good food at accessible prices.”