Hidden inside the Great Rock Golf Club and in Wading River and not actually on the North Fork, it’s no wonder that this restaurant is up against odds when it comes to generating awareness of the venue. (There were only two other tables dining during our noon seating on this particular Sunday.) Driving through the gated entrance, it feels like a typical community development. A few seconds in and the restaurant signage points you left. Easy-peasey.
A spacious parking lot and short walk into the main building meant a speedier start to the brunch experience. A contemporary Hyatt-like decor (I took several pictures of the beautiful, modern setting that were unfortunately wiped out from my DSLR camera, and more’s the shame!) set a scene that was very stylishly New American, despite being a tad impersonal.
It took mere seconds to be seated at a lovely table flooded with natural sunlight and overlooking a meticulously groomed hole on the golf course, and not much longer to receive our menus and have water poured. And so it began.
I wanted to love this place. I really, truly did. The menu seemed interesting and diverse, and the dishes unusual. Unfortunately, execution fell short and not a single thing was properly seasoned. It overpromised and underdelivered when it came to brunch dishes, although the lunch items that came out seemed spectacular. In fact, it was a more lunch-oriented dish that was the best bite of brunch, the Kentucky Hot Brown. And perhaps the worst thing was that the plates weren’t heated and neither was the dining room, bringing everything to ice-cold temps almost instantaneously.
- Bread: There wasn’t any, so this section is not applicable.
- Chicken & Waffles: These feature prominently in their photos, and yet is not available for brunch, disappointingly. In fact, we were only given the brunch menu, despite other diners clearly enjoying items from the lunch menu, including sandwiches that looked like they lived up to the “craft” promise.
- Montauk Lobster Deviled Eggs: With three halves to an order, it was only by grace of having ordered such a variety of foods that we didn’t argue over these delectable bites. Whipped well and seasoned subly with lobster flavor, topped with microgreens, these were a delicious start that made us excited for the entrees.
- Breakfast Flatbread: With a big red oven in plain sight through the kitchen pass-through, how could we not try one of their “signature” flatbreads? After consulting with the server, we opted for the classic: scrambled eggs, sharp cheddar, bacon, and scallions. Unfortunately, there were a few technical issues with it. The eggs were overworked and dry, and there were a lot of bare spots missing egg. The scallions were missing. The bacon was sparse and kind of generic. The sharp cheddar was a nondescript layer on the flatbread rather than a topping as I’ve seen other breakfast pizzas executed, and the bread itself was a crisp, thin, wafer with very little personality. This would have been fine as a blank palette if only the toppings delivered.
- Skillet Potatoes/Home Fries: Potatoes are usually a carb-lover’s delight, wonderful in every rendition … unless they are woefully underseasoned. In this case, that was exactly their state. There wasn’t a trace of salt in them, and we had to salt and pepper at the table. They weren’t crunchy, despite the caramelization on the surface potatoes, and some pieces were not hot. There were no vegetables, and they almost tasted like chunky mashed potatoes that were fried just a wee bit.
- Jumbo Lump Crabmeat Benedict: There certainly was a generous smattering of fat chunks of lump crab on the toasted English muffin. However, the muffin was barely warm when it arrived, and the egg and Hollandaise cooled quickly as well due to the temperature in the dining room. It’s admirable, then, that the Hollandaise did not break. The eggs were cooked just fine and not vinegary, but a hint of tarragon would have done wonders for this dish that could have just as easily been served deconstructed. The ingredients just didn’t tie in together just right.
- Organic Chicken Hash: Honestly, I started out so excited about trying this. I thought it was brilliant to do a tarragon-roasted chicken as a hash instead of the usual corned beef, but this was a big let-down due to the mediocrity of the potatoes. There were pieces of skin (which is fine; just a heads up!) in the chicken hash and cartilage, too (not as fine), which made eating with care a necessity. The single poached egg served on it was cooked well and added nice flavor. The Hollandaise didn’t do too much for it, though. A little onion and pepper could have gone a long way.
- Kentucky Hot Brown: This was the overwhelming star of the show. Seriously, this was delicious. Hot slices of real roasted turkey, topped with a few thin slices of crisp bacon, a couple of slices of tomato, and microgreens on a brioche burger bun. YUM. The maple gravy was only slightly sweet and not overwhelmingly so, and fantastic despite getting super cold in moments. The twice-cooked fries were crispy and slightly hollow (if that’s your thing), and still needed salt, but the turkey was tops. If you go here, GET THIS.
- Coffee is pretty tasty, but gets cold very fast due to the small cups used and the freezing cold temperature of the dining room. Could use more frequent pours and heat-retaining carafes versus the glass mass-market coffee pots.
- Mimosa flights are served in a charming little chandelier of tipple-sized glasses, and are a bargain at $16 for about five renditions.
I loved …
- The decor. This is a trendy space fantastic for happy hours, tapas, and get-togethers and would be brilliant for a baby or bridal shower.
- The Kentucky Hot Brown. That gravy. That turkey. That bread. Mmmm.
- The lunch and dinner menus. So maybe brunch just isn’t their meal. But the outstanding Yelp reviews for lunch and dinner and the inventive offerings for both would make me give them another chance for a different time of day. If the sandwiches that came out for lunch orderers were any indication of what they could do, they’re well worth a second chance.
Pure North Fork Craft Kitchen & Bar: 141 Fairway Drive, Wading River
*Disclaimer: Although this was a PR-sponsored brunch experience, the tasting notes and opinions are genuine and my own. We are deeply appreciative of the experience and regret that we were unable to objectively rave about the meal as we would have liked and hope that the feedback provided will be used to improving the meal for future diners.