Noah’s Is Worth the Trip

A delight
Noah Schwartz, the chef-owner of Noah’s Morgan McGivern

Noah’s
136 Front Street
Greenport
477-6720
Dinner, Thursday through Monday
Lunch, Friday through Sunday
Brunch, Saturday and Sunday

    Noah’s in Greenport is a delight. It is always a wonderful surprise to explore new places you know nothing about and decide immediately, “I’m coming back for that dish. And that one, and that one.”

    Noah’s is a pretty big restaurant on Front Street with high ceilings and a long marble bar. The walls are a sea foam green and there are pale blue banquettes along one wall. The entire restaurant is decorated with massive fish prints by Montauk’s Annie Sessler, which are pretty on a smaller scale and majestic on this grand scale. The owners, Noah Schwartz, a chef, and his wife, Sunita, have wisely installed a good number of undulating pieces of soundproofing on the high ceilings. On the day of our visit Noah’s was quite busy but the noise level was civilized.

    There is a good selection of raw bar items and a great part of the menu is taken up by small plates — one of my favorite concepts, as I get to try more food. We began our meal with some of the naughty beer and bacon glazed almonds, mache salad, Gorgonzola rosemary fries, cauliflower gratin, crab tacos, calamari fritto misto, and pulled duck barbecue.

    The glazed almonds were a nice savory sweet nibble with our glasses of local Sparkling Pointe brut. Mache is a fragile, delicately flavored green that can easily be overwhelmed if you fuss with it too much. This mache (from nearby Satur Farm) was treated with respect, lightly dressed in a sweet fig balsamic vinaigrette and topped with a few dried fig quarters, toasted pecans, and mild goat cheese. The Gorgonzola fries were excellent, crisp yet fluffy and sprinkled with parsley and rosemary and just enough Gorgonzola bits to add an occasional sharp salty bite. The cauliflower was smothered in mild curry cream sauce and topped with Gruyere and garlic bread crumbs. It was superb and simple.

    The crab tacos were also excellent. Two crisp little shells were filled with Tasmanian red crab (whatever that is) and bits of apple. The calamari fritto misto was outstanding. Some restaurants only serve the cute rubber bands of calamari because I guess some guests get squeamish seeing the lovely creepy tentacles. Noah’s had those crisped up tentacles proudly topping a pile that included fried slices of lime and paper-thin jalapeños. The beer batter was perfectly seasoned, and the smoky chipotle aioli was just right with it. Last among the “small” plates was the pulled duck barbecue on smoked cheddar polenta. This was the only dish that was good, but not particularly distinctive, the barbecue sauce being rather mild and sweet.

    For entrees we ordered the yellow fin tuna burger, fish and chips, a Kobe beef burger, and a brunch special of eggs benedict with andouille sausage. The tuna burger was very good, served rare on a Blue Duck Bakery brioche bun with seaweed salad, wasabi aioli, fries, and pickles. Quite a bargain at $16. The fish and chips were excellent, moist pieces of cod fried in Greenport Harbor beer batter and served with a zesty remoulade and a light purple cabbage slaw. The burger was also excellent, mostly because it had a good charcoal grilled crust and flavor, like an outdoor summer barbecue burger. This was also served on Blue Duck brioche. The eggs benedict were just right. The hollandaise was good and they were served on top of brioche toast with smoky andouille sausage.

    The service on the day of our visit was excellent. Our waitress knew her stuff and was good with recommendations on the dishes and local wines. The prices are moderate. We found that plenty of the small plates could be entrees. “Tastes” are $3 to $7, small plates are $8 to $18, raw bar selections are $6 to $49 (seafood tower), full plates are $15 to $24, and desserts are $9. The wine list is heavy on local wines. We tried a crisp Kontokosta sauvignon blanc.

    For desserts we tried the roasted apple hazelnut cake, key lime pie, and creme brûlée trio. The cake was very good, moist, and full of apple slices and plenty of hazelnut (or Nutella) flavor. The salted caramel sauce and whipped creme fraiche complemented it nicely, adding sweet, salty, and tart tastes. The key lime pie, served in a big square, was very good. It was fresh and tangy and the graham cracker crust was thick and still crunchy.

    The creme brulée trio, however, was the best. Three tiny ramekins were filled with perfectly bruléed sugar toppings that you had to crack through to get to the rich, silky smooth custards. This is a simple dessert, folks, but not necessarily easy. One was faintly flavored with lavender from East Marion, one was orange, one vanilla. The lavender essence was barely detectable but perfect. Too much and you may think you are tasting Granny’s bubble bath. The vanilla was excellent, and the orange was delicious as well.

    It’s not often you can please a large group of people with disparate tastes, but Noah’s succeeded in this. It was also heartening to see the use of so many local resources, not just the seafood, but the baked goods and goat cheese and cauliflower and lavender and so on. I found myself muttering throughout the meal “I’m coming back, I can’t wait to come back, I will definitely come back to Greenport to go to Noah’s.” My guests all agreed and I think you will, too.

Annie Sessler’s fish prints add a striking element to the decor at Noah’s.