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Seared tuna club. (Credit: Vera Chinese)
Seared tuna club. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

When we first launched this column last May, there was a reason we didn’t call it “What’s for Dinner?” That’s because dining out once a week at one of the North Fork’s many rustic, farm-to-table eateries would surely take a big bite out of our wallets.

No, high-quality, local cuisine is not cheap.

But lunch is a way for the budget-conscious to enjoy even the most high-end restaurants and to do so frequently in a more relaxed setting.

So sometimes while working on a lovely NoFo Sunday, I eschew the everyday deli and go the chef-owned restaurant route.

RELATED: MEET CHEF LENNY CAMPANELLI OF PETULANT WINO

My lunch partner and I stopped into the Petulant Wino restaurant for our first lunch Sunday after dining there for dinner three times since it opened last June. The lunch menu, while more restricted than the many varied small and large plates featured on the dinner menu, offered plenty of options to satisfy — and lunch still comes with the restaurant’s delicious house-made bread.

We chose the deviled eggs with olive tapenade to start ($6). We definitely recommend this inexpensive treat. Note the beautiful presentation.

Deviled eggs. (Credit: Vera Chinese)
Deviled eggs never looked so pretty. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

My partner chose the ABCLT which featured avocado, crisp pork belly, chipotle mayo, lettuce greens and heirloom tomatoes on grilled brioche ($14). I chose the seared tuna club served with heirloom tomatoes, greens, bacon and wasabi aioli on grilled brioche ($15). All sandwiches are served with your choice of a side and house-made pickle chips (so good). I can’t comment on my partner’s meal because it disappeared before I could ask for a bite.

The ABCLT sandwich. (Credit: Vera Chinese)
The ABCLT sandwich. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

My sandwich was served with a purple potato salad, which gave this otherwise common dish a nice pop of color. The tuna did seem to be prepared more medium-rare than seared, but other than that, it was a tasty and surprisingly filling sandwich. The wasabi was strong, which I appreciated. And I suspect this sandwich tastes even better when heirloom tomatoes are in season.

We opted out of dessert, but if you visit, we highly recommend the eatery’s signature fig cake. It’s the type of thing you will tell your friends about months after eating it.

This restaurant — with its eclectic, funky decor set in a 19th-century farmhouse — has quickly become one of our North Fork favorites. And popping in during the middle of the day allowed us to enjoy the experience without dropping $150 (our total bill ran about $38.)

If you are looking to impress your friends during a day in Wine Country, Petulant Wino will not disappoint.

Petulant Wino is open for lunch Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and open for dinner every day except Wednesdays. Visit them at 739 Main Road in Aquebogue. For reservations, call (631) 779-3900.

Vera Chinese

Credit: Vera Chinese
Credit: Vera Chinese

Previously:

Tony’s Asian Fusion

Front Street Station

North Road Deli

The Giving Room

CJ’s American Grill

Love Lane Kitchen

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