I had never been to Shelter Island before this past August. I have had tons of students that had second homes or "country" homes there, but I never knew it was so close to the Hamptons - a mere 2 minute car ferry to the isolated island… beautiful, artsy, killer cool sunset beach, one cemetery, no hospital and us.
Vine Street Cafe
The Vine Street Cafe, a great indoor/outdoor restaurant with a grossly expensive market attached and submerged below it, was a last minute Labor Day reservation that HeView scored. I don't give props much, but this reservation earns one to the guy! After leaving the trendy, cool and bumping Sunset Beach cafe for outrageous costing cocktails, we drove to "Vines," had trouble parking (the lot is the pits and valet-less) and proceeded to stumble through the rocks into their small waiting vestibule. Our 8:45 reservation was running late (big surprise there), so we hung until being seated. We peered and pried on other patrons’ plates as we got to our sweet nook of a table tucked in a corner (quiet enough for a kvetch called my father).
There was absolutely no question, someone would be getting the house fave - the Pasta Bolognese - and I was itching for some heirloom tomatoes with mozzarella. I'm not a huge tomato fan but out here the farm fresh tomatoes change the rules. In order to all get a spoonful or two or three of their acclaimed Bolognese, we ordered one for the table as a starter. MAGNIFIQUE! OMG! INSANITY, our party of four gasped and raved! Filling, fresh, thick spaghetti and a to-die-for, perfectly made, red, meaty, salted to perfection Bolognese sauce! I will never forget this dish - officially most definitely on my bucket list. Can we import it to Manhattan? The ladies were virtually full after this sick sampling, but ordered Salmon (mom a.k.a lulu) and Roast Chicken (for me, I know-boring). The kvetch father had Moules and Frites as HeView also got the teriyaki tasting salmon. Despite being pretty darn full, I ate many a frite or too many a frite, picked at my flavorful, beautifully presented roast chicken over broccoli rabe, mango chutney and coconut rice - knowing full well I would not get close to finishing this and would bring it home for Lil View a.k.a "the monster." My mom's salmon also took the ride in the car on the ferry back to North Haven, an area of Sag Harbor. Just too much food and drink after a long day of lounging, sunning, complaining, etc. Still, every bite delicious, perfectly polished and prepared and also mouth watering. The Vine Street Cafe might be a schlep for SouthHamptoners (not us) BUT well worth the travels. Side note: the car ferry is super fun, a definite perk! Get the pasta-it’ll warm your heart and belly. 41 South Ferry Road | Shelter Island (631) 749-3210