Taking advantage of Hamptons Restaurant Week
, we took a chance to visit a few local restaurants. At a twenty dollar prix fix, this seems to be the perfect way to try a new place without the commitment of a hefty dinner bill, as long as your willing to make reservations, since most of the places we talked to were booked solid.
Nestled in Riverhead is Tweeds Restaurant
and Buffalo Bar
, a local favorite since 1896. Once past the unassumingly quaint main street entrance, the subdued lighting, inviting looking chairs and dark wood accents in the trim and mahogany bar that dates back to the 1893 Chicago
Exposition, draw you in and make you feel right at home. You almost miss the large trophy head on the wall, a bison hunted by Teddy Roosevelt in the Dakota Badlands, though its watchful eye over the bar and restaurant is not imposing.
To start, we ordered a glass of the house Shiraz, and a tasty local Chardonnay from Castello Di Borghese
. These offered the perfect mix of tastes for the forthcoming food. To start, we sampled two of Tweed's salads, their house special salad with shrimp, asparagus, and soft cheese, and the Bistro Salad with blue cheese, beets, apples and candied walnuts. Both salads gave the perfect blend of crisp with just a hint of sweet to start the meal. Next we tried the caviar appetizer, a balance of a sliced sushi balanced on a cracker with a soft dill cheese, topped with a small dollop of caviar. Generous in its portion, eating was a delicate matter as we tried not to loose any of it between bites. Rounding out the appetizers, we sampled the French onion soup, a staple at most restaurants. Tweeds gives this delicious starter a fragrant twist with a ruby red port gratinee, warming us up for the main entrees.
For dinner, we decided to try one of Tweed's more famous dishes, the Bison in a wild mushroom cognac cream sauce, and scallion mashed potatoes. Much leaner than beef, bison is a diet friendly alternative to the steak dinner. Done to a perfect medium, the bison was melt in your mouth delicious, and the sauce had us sopping it up with everything in sight from the mashed potatoes to the plentiful dinner rolls. We also tried the baked salmon with a grain mustard glacage, a flavorful twists that added excitement to what other restaurants could pass off as mediocre. The rice pilaf and vegetables rounded out the plate, without overwhelming the taste buds. Again generous with its portion, we were left wishing for more room to finish it off.
For dessert, we were ready for a lighter fare, if we had intentions of being able to leave without being rolled out the door. In anticipation of this, Tweeds offered several dessert choices, catering to both the indulgent and the lighter end of the spectrum. We tried the blueberry crumb pie, and a berry torte, both overflowing with juicy berries that had us thinking of spring and summer.
At the end of the evening, no one left the table hungry. Definitely a place to revisit after the bustle of restaurant week, Owner Ed Tuccio keeps the local gem down to earth. The locally raised buffalo are a definite feature to the menu, and highly recommended, but for those not adventurous enough, Tweeds, with chef Peter Psyllos, offers up plenty of other hearty dishes to please any palate.
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