North Fork

Lee Brothers’ Guide to North Fork, Long Island
The windswept North Fork, a 30-mile-long finger of farmland between Long Island Sound and the bays that separate it from the South Fork, has two main spines of blacktop. The northern route is a highway through potato fields and vineyards. The two-lane southern road, by contrast, meanders through the farm villages of Cutchogue and Southold, and is further slowed by the fact that it just may have more farm stands per square mile than any place on earth. Roadside signage often takes the form of a ladder of hand-painted tags—tomatoes, melons, ducks, fresh eggs—hanging one from another, and at the peak of summer a single farm might offer 20 different items. To read them all, drivers must slow down to a pace that infuriates anyone behind them—especially those keeping city time.
We’re the kind of guys who would, by habit, crawl to a stop at every such stand, scrutinizing the baby eggplants at Sang Lee Farms, sampling peaches at Wickham’s down the way. But on this clear, bright summer day we were running late for a reservation at Noah’s. We’d heard from friends with a summer place in Cutchogue that the restaurant does excellent work with the region’s fish and shellfish and functions as a crucible for a newly energized food community of bankers turned poultry farmers, firebrand organic winemakers, and upstart purveyors of artisanal ice cream. They all channel the Slow Food ethics that have made the North Fork one of the most compelling dining destinations within reach of New York City.

Before dinner, we made a quick detour to check in at the Silver Sands, a no-frills but tidy motel-with-cabins near the town of Greenport that harks back to a golden age of Long Island summering: a neon marquee from the 1960’s, a framed needlepoint Welcome sign at the front desk, and a crescent of beach hugging a cove where you could imagine whiling away a weekend or a lifetime.

After dropping off our bags and taking a perfunctory dip in the water, we hustled to Greenport, the maritime village that’s the commercial center of the North Fork, and to Noah’s. The terrace was packed; the lofty dining room buzzing with a crowd of regulars. A table of ladies with silvery coifs cooed over their waiter (who happened to be the grandson of one of them) while a weekending family, toddlers in tow, feasted on crab tacos and Gorgonzola-and-rosemary fries. We took our seats at the bar and in short order had glasses of crisp Chenin Blanc from Paumanok, a winery we’d passed not 20 minutes ago, and an iced platter of local oysters: Hogs Neck, Blue Point, and the alluringly named Pipes Cove.



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