Have you ever had such a great dining experience that it became more than just a meal?
A good dinner out with family and friends is special, to be sure, but there are some dining experiences on the North Fork that are designed to make memories, to dazzle you and even inspire you creatively. From one of the most inventive tasting menus we’ve seen to workshops that let you create a delicious treat on your own, these North Fork food experiences are not to be missed.
MARONI CUISINE TASTING MENU
$200 per person, includes gratuity, tax, service, drinks
GOOD FOR: date night-approved; groups
Cast aside any preconceived notions about what you think you’ll get on Maroni’s tasting menu. It includes some of the most wild, fun and flavorful items you never thought you’d try. It was developed by owner Maria Maroni’s late husband, Michael. “It’s funny, we’ve been doing it for 21 years!” she said. “When we opened our first restaurant in Glen Head, he wanted people to try everything.” With the tasting menu, “he threw the menus out and it grew. One price, no decisions, no stress. It just became something and gave him a creative outlet.” Here’s just a tiny preview of the 20 or so dishes you’ll try on this insane (in the best way) program: truffle grilled cheese. Kobe beef sliders with tater tots. Korean-style ribs garnished with gummy bears. Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham. This tasting menu needs to be … tasted to be believed.
FONDUE FEAST AT KATE’S CHEESE CO.
$60 per person
GOOD FOR: groups; date night-approved
“You definitely should come hungry,” said Kate’s Cheese Co. owner Kate McDowell. This robust, three-course experience lasts 90 minutes to two hours and can be experienced with two people or even larger groups. To start, guests are served homemade hummus, fresh-baked bread and a salad sourced from The Naked Farm in East Marion with heirloom tomatoes and topped with goat cheese. The main event, the fondue de raclette, comes with turkey breast, grass-fed beef, grilled shrimp, truffled vegetables and more. The final course includes coffee or tea with a chocolate and cheese board. At the beginning of the feast, guests are also treated to a complimentary drink and the staff is on-hand to recommend craft beer or wine to pair. McDowell has seen two people indulge in the fondue but has also accommodated large groups of 25-plus. Reservations are a must for the fondue feast so McDowell and her team can cater to guests’ individual requests and needs — and it’s usually served later in the day, including after closing, so it’s an intimate experience for all. “Everything is super-fresh and it’s all made to order,” said McDowell. “It’s really incredible. We’re sort of this hidden gem and it’s really nice for that date or, since COVID, it’s been such a long time since groups have been able to get together.”
LITTLE RAM OYSTER SHUCKING CLASS
$75 per person
GOOD FOR: date night-approved; groups
Every Tuesday, Little Ram Oysters holds an oyster-shucking class for beginners who want to learn how to shuck like a pro. You’ll also learn about Little Ram Oysters’ farming processes and how to get the most out of tasting an oyster and getting the most flavor. Each class comes with 12 oysters to shuck and a Little Ram Oysters knife and glove to keep. Classes are outdoors and run through September.
WORKSHOPS AT ATELIER DISSET
$68 per person
GOOD FOR: family-friendly; groups; date night-approved
“There’s no age group for chocolate!”
Chef Ursula XVII has seen families, small groups and couples take her popular chocolate workshops. Disset Chocolate, which opened in 2021, has carved out a niche with small-batch chocolates that are sustainably sourced and traced. These workshops are varied — and tasty. For example, there’s “paint your chocolate canvas,” a twist on the popular paint-and-sip workshops that have become all the rage in recent years, in which you paint on an edible chocolate canvas. “You do not have to be artistic,” emphasized XVII. “We present you the primary colors and white paint and you mix your own palette and create your own idea. Everyone ends up with a different canvas.” There’s also a “make your own chocolate bark” workshop, in which you make and decorate your own crunchy chocolate. XVII said that in addition to the two pounds of chocolate you take home (whether it’s bark or a canvas), there are also snacks during every class. “Because we do these in private, too, they’re great for family get-togethers; sometimes it’s a bachelorette party,” XVII added.
FARM TO PLATE AT 1760 HOMESTEAD FARM
GOOD FOR: family-friendly; groups
1760 Homestead Farm’s Sunday farm-to-plate series features guest chefs like Aki Goldberg partnering with farm owner Larry Kaiser for delicious meals made from farm products on-premises in an outdoor demonstration kitchen. Guests can take the food home or sit at tables on the property, and the menu changes weekly. This weekly event, which launched in 2021 to an enthusiastic response from customers, has expanded this year with guest chefs. “I eat everything, but not everybody eats everything,” Goldberg told Northforker last fall. “You can be a meat lover, vegetarian or vegan. It’s not a restaurant but we do offer something for everyone, including little kids.” Check Instagram to see the weekly menu.
FOUNDERS OYSTER FARM SUNSET CRUISE
$875 for groups of six
GOOD FOR: groups
Founders Oyster Farm owner Steven Schnee describes his sunset cruise as “oyster tasting on a piece of history.” Schnee recently restored a 31-foot 1936 Chris-Craft cruiser, aptly named On the Half Shell, and is offering groups of six a lovely experience on it. “The North Fork is rich with maritime history, rich with oyster history,” he said. The cruise includes an explanation of oyster farming, a shucking demonstration and a tasting of oysters farmed on Schnee’s Southold Bay farm, paired with some local bubbly.