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Tapas night at Goodfood in Mattituck left a lasting, delicious impression. (Photo Credit: David Benthal)

The Northforker team eats out like it’s our job. In an annual tradition for the September Food Issue, we’re sharing the dishes that have made our year.

Gnocchi con Funghi at Isola, Shelter Island Heights

I am located in a gnocchi neighborhood. You know how ads for summer rentals say the place is “steps away” from the beach? My place is steps away from really good homemade gnocchi, which is even better. Sixto Coronel is the chef at Isola, our neighborhood joint, and his tender gnocchi has ricotta in the dough and a light sauce of roasted mushrooms and green peas with fresh sage. Brown butter (currently an ingredient in everything from oatmeal to chocolate chip cookies) is getting to be the only kind of butter anyone wants, and here it is the brilliant toasty umami base for puffy potato dumplings in a light, herby sauce. So sweet, so bright! — Charity Robey, contributing editor 

The Philly at Center Cut Meats, Mattituck

There’s something extra fresh about a sandwich prepared at a butcher shop and guests and residents of the North Fork learned that this year when Center Cut Meats opened on Main Road in Mattituck. Their take on the Philly cheesesteak features perfectly cooked and thinly sliced prime rib-eye and it will not disappoint. — Grant Parpan, content director

The Philly cheesesteak at Center Cuts is the real deal. (Photo Credit: David Benthal)

Warm Butter Poached Lobster Roll at Fortino’s Tavern, Greenport

I was on the edge of my seat all winter about whether or not Fortino’s Tavern was returning for a second season — I didn’t make it there in 2020 and had heard all of the rave reviews, especially about the lobster roll: Maine lobster with tarragon dill aioli, baby arugula and scallions served on a brioche bun. I made reservations for a Friday night in July within minutes of finding out the owners had the keys to the building for a second season. This was a warm, buttery, large chunks of lobster overflowing out of the bun type of lobster roll. There is something so special about eating a lobster roll with water views all around you. I savored every bite and already made reservations for next time! — Kaitlyn Burke, sales and marketing coordinator

Chicken Milanese at Porto Bello, Greenport

The chicken was so crispy and tender and when paired with the goat cheese, just melted in your mouth. That amazing view of the marina makes everything taste better as well! — Tina Contento, advertising account executive

Tapas at Goodfood, Mattituck

The clam dish at Goodfood, part of their new tapas menu … and also the chicken dish, the cod fritter, the olive oil and bread selection. OK, so everything I tasted on that menu was amazing. I’ve been thinking about it since! — Cerria Orientale Torres, sales and production manager

The small bites at Tapas Night at Goodfood. are sure to leave you satisfied. (Photo Credit: David Benthal)

Bacon, Egg and Cheese on a Roll at Sterlington Deli, Greenport

I’m a sucker for sandwiches it seems, as last year my pick was also one. But there’s something revitalizing about a breakfast sandwich, some secret je-ne-sais-quois element that delis seem to have. And this one has my heart. In the early hours of the a.m., all I want are thick layers of crispy, salty bacon, smashed, jammy eggs and the absolute meltiest of cheese all stacked between a soft seeded roll. It’s the perfect messy bite to jumpstart my morning. — Felicia LaLomia, lifestyle reporter

Veal Rollatini at Touch of Venice, Cutchogue

This is my go-to order and something that I crave with a good glass of red wine. — Andrew Olsen, publisher

Fisherman’s Catch of the Day at Windamere, Mattituck

Halibut over beet risotto and asparagus and topped with crispy leeks was featured in the Fisherman’s Catch of the Day when I devoured it during a rainy Memorial Day weekend visit. The hearty piece of halibut was impeccably cooked with little seasoning, letting the freshness of the fish really stand out. The halibut sat on a bright beet risotto, creamy and decadent and the perfect contrast to the fish and asparagus. The crispy leeks provided an enjoyable crunch. I never wanted this dish to end. — Michelina Da Fonte, associate content director

The roasted halibut, beet risotto and local asparagus at the Windamere (credit: Felicia LaLomia).

Scallion Pancake at Opties and Dinghies, Orient

I have eaten many (probably too many) takeout scallion pancakes, but this version — like everything that comes out of this teeny-tiny Orient kitchen — was a bit of a revelation. The pastry is as flaky as something you’d find in a Parisian patisserie, which makes sense from a restaurant that is part French café and part Asian dumpling shop. The buttery pancake is balanced by the scallion within and the herby sesame dipping sauce that comes on the side. I order it with a quartet of fat shrimp dumplings and a lip-puckering ginger gelato and take it all to nearby Truman’s Beach at sunset for a takeout meal that transcends all others. — Sara Austin, editorial director

Smash Burger at Barrow Food House, Aquebogue

If I had to choose my favorite thing I’ve eaten so far this year it would be the Smash Burger at Barrow Food House. It sounds a little crazy to me because I love vegetables and you can get a burger at a lot of places, but this one is just delicious! There’s something about the ratio of all of the elements that makes it great. Whenever we order from Barrow Food House, we inevitably get one to share. — Sarah Olsen, special projects editor