Isola, Shelter Island‘s newest restaurant, opened its doors over July 4th weekend. Located in the Historic Heights District and within walking distance to the North Ferry, owner Brad Kitkowski has completely revamped the former home to Sweet Tomatoes with plenty of outdoor seating and a spacious rustic-meets-modern wine and cocktail bar.
Isola, or island in Italian, offers a menu of New Italian cuisine, strongly influenced by seasonal ingredients with an emphasis on showcasing the abundance of local delicacies such as clams, sea bass, and tomatoes. Isola works closely with several local farms and fisheries including Shelter Island’s Sylvester Manor, Sang Lee Farms, Koppert Cress, Southold Fish Market, and North Fork Smoked Fish Company. At the helm of the kitchen is Executive Chef Seth Nathan, who brings 17 years of cooking experience to the restaurant. He hails from Santa Barbara Wine Country in California where he was Executive Chef at Mad & Vin at The Landsby hotel, and the Santa Ynez Inn.
For our first visit to the restaurant, my husband and I started with Burrata Caprese: Burrata di Bufala, Heirloom Tomato Hazelnut Gremolata, Pea Tendrils, White Balsamic Vinaigrette ($24); and the House Salad: gem & Red Oak Lettuce, Fried Red Onion, Rainbow Carrot Ribbons, Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette ($16). Prior to our appetizers arriving, fresh bread and green olives were presented to us for noshing with our drinks. The Burrata Caprese is one of Chef’s favorites. The creaminess of the Burrata compliments the freshness of the tomatoes, which are currently in season.
This is Chef Nathan’s first time visiting and working on Shelter Island. “I don’t have any intention of leaving. We intend to keep the restaurant open year round.”
“Our intention was to create traditional Italian flavors with traditional techniques mixed with new world techniques that I have learned from working around the world,” adds Nathan. “We wanted a slighter newer version of a classic Italian menu [that is] approachable, welcoming, and at the same time still interesting and inspiring.”
For our entrées, our waiter recommended the following: Chicken Parmigiano: Murray Farms Organic Chicken, Fresh Mozzarella, Bucatini, San Marzano, Parmigiano ($28); and Pappardelle: Bolognese, Red Wine, San Marzano ($28). Bucatini is a thick tubular spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the center. Our waiter was spot on with his choices. The portions were generous and the flavors were fresh and comforting.
These are two favorite dishes on the menu. The Chicken Parmigiano is open of their bestsellers. The chicken is seasoned with lavender and fennel, taking that traditional Panko breading and “uplifting it a little bit.” The Bolognese is crafted with dry-aged rib eye and brisket. A classic Bolognese with a little something different.
Their dessert selection is very notable and includes Homemade Panna Cotta, Homemade Tiramisu, and a Nutella Pizza.
Read their full menu here.
Isola is currently open for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Dinner is served Sunday-Wednesday 5:30-11pm, and Thursday-Saturday 5:30pm-12am. Lunch is served Wednesday-Saturday 12-4pm.
http://isolany.com // 631-749-9036
*Header photo courtesy of Isola.