A major renovation is ongoing at The Chequit on Shelter Island, but a sampling of the food during a soft opening of the restaurant gives us hope for the future.
The menu, conceived by Chef Noah Schwartz of Noah’s in Greenport and executed by fellow Chef Darren Boyle, features Asian and American cuisine. While the menu is also still under construction, it’s encouraging in preview mode.
Let us take you through our first trip there:
The mahogany porch with original-design spandrels offers charming views of Dering Harbor and of the 19th Century Victorian homes that dominate the neighborhood. Nowhere in sight is a building constructed later than 1900.
Winter on Washington Street ($16) is a sophisticated mix of Greenport Winter Harbor Gin, rosemary simple syrup, and lime served in an elegant, and shatterproof plastic cup.
We started with tuna poke ($22) and an order of scallion pancakes ($12). The crisp pancakes were layered thick with local spring onions, and the dipping sauce was excellent, soy sauce-salty with fruity yuzu and a chili-kick.
The main event
I ordered shrimp in the fried rice ($34) with sweet flecks of carrot and bright green edamame, with a fried egg on top and ate every grain. I thought I was going to skip the pork belly steamed buns ($15) that my dining partner ordered, but after one exploratory bite of the slightly sweet steamed buns wrapped around a savory slug of tender pork belly, perfumed with cinnamon, fennel, star anise and cloves, I soldiered on.
Around us, orders of Double Kobe Smash Burgers ($20) sped by to other tables filled with diners who fell silent as they lifted their brioche buns and dove in.
What is it about good key lime pie that empowers you to eat it, even if you were well-fed already? In this case, the refreshingly tart lime flavor and crumbly graham crust, paired with a tiny dab of whipped cream and candied walnuts were enough to inspire us to lift our plastic forks and enjoy the end of a meal that was a very good sign for the future of this beloved local inn.
The Chequit is located at 23 Grand Ave. in Shelter Island Heights.