The new management team at Claudio’s is making good on its promise to elevate the menu offerings at the iconic waterfront restaurant complex through incorporating more refined, locally sourced dishes under the guidance of newly hired culinary director, celebrity chef Franklin Becker.
Becker, owner of FB Hospitality, might be familiar for his appearances on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters and for his three cookbooks on preparing healthy cuisine. Well regarded for his plant-inspired and veggie-forward dishes at his restaurants The Little Beet and Hungryroot, Becker said North Fork produce will dictate the seasonal menus at Claudio’s.
“Our vision is to pay respect and homage to the past while bringing it into the future,” Becker said. “The future lies in the season and what’s being grown locally and making sure those ingredients shine.”
After visiting area farms and meeting with local baymen, the revised modern American menu includes burrata with local peaches and grilled beets, heirloom tomato melon salad with gazpacho flavors and local fluke with spicy greens from KK’s The Farm in Southold.
The Seasoned Hospitality management team of Stephen Loffredo and Tora Matsuoka, who have overseen operations at Claudio’s since it was purchased by the new ownership group, appointed Becker to the position Aug. 1 after he spent the summer consulting on menu changes.
Becker will be overseeing all kitchen operations with FB Hospitality partner Kevin Garcia serving as executive chef. Working together, the two co-chefs will direct the property’s three kitchens — Claudio’s main restaurant, Claudio’s Waterfront and Crabby Jerry’s — though the majority of the menu changes will be reflected at the main restaurant, Becker noted.
Garcia, whose background is in fine-dining, including working along side James Beard award-winning chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Prime in Las Vegas, said guests can expect new takes on old favorites, such as the restaurant’s stuffed clams. The staple will soon get a twist that incorporates Portuguese flavors, an ode to founder Manuel Claudio, who arrived in Greenport aboard the Portuguese whaler “Neva” in the mid-1800s.
“We are trying to keep the tradition in local, fresh foods,” Garcia said. “We are spending time on extra details of plating and presentation, so it may look a little more elevated but it will still have a familiar taste. We want the shaping of the menu to be an inclusive process, so we’ll run specials and see if customers like it before we put it on the menu.”
Seafood will continue to be a mainstay. Seared tile fish with Tokyo scallions, sweet corn and heirloom tomatoes and local squash is currently on the menu along with fish and chips made with Greenport Harbor Brewing Co. porter. The raw bar features clams, shrimp, crab, lobster and locally sourced oysters.
Claudio’s is gearing up for an extended season, staying open through the holidays. Expect the fall menu to incorporate more root vegetables, game meats and duck. There will also be special Thanksgiving and Christmas menus.
“The fall bounty is as marvelous as the summer,” Garcia said. “It brings incredible produce and meats that inspired us to extend the season.”
Claudio’s is located at 111 Main Street, Greenport