Lunch at Red Maple The Chequit

Just in time for the summer revelry on the East End, one of my favorite restaurants on Shelter Island, Red Maple at The Chequit Inn, is now serving lunch on Saturdays and Brunch on Sundays. Red Maple’s lunch and brunch service showcases seasonally-inspired menus to be enjoyed inside the spacious, yet intimate dining room or on the charming patio al fresco. Red Maple’s home, The Chequit, is a stylish retreat that is open year round and within walking distance to many boutiques, historic sites, and the North Ferry.

Last Saturday was cool and calm. It was so lovely to see the cheerful pieces of furniture out on the front porch as well as the dining chairs outside. The Chequit is so stylish and full of life, and yet it is also a peaceful spot to escape the city and the hoards of crowds you find on the Hamptons’ main streets.

To drink, my husband had the Liquid Sunshine Wheat Ale: Shelter Island Brewery ($8). I ordered the D.B. Pimm’s Cup: Pimm’s No. 1 lemon lime soda, ginger ale, cucumber, apple, strawberry & mint ($12). The restaurant has limited, local beer list plus an extensive wine list. This cocktail truly resonated with me. It was a true taste of spring on the East End: refreshing, fruity, and just a tad sweet. New for Red Maple is the option of enjoying a pitcher of Shelter Island Brewery’s Liquid Sunshine Wheat Ale, or refreshing D.B. Pimmʼs Cup with your lunch.

We were seated promptly and our waitress was very attentive and pleasant. For example, I liked that she recommended we put in our order for little Sarah before we decided so she could have a bite to eat right away. Sarah had her favorite Pretzel Bites served with a Mustard Duo of sweet and spicy mustard ($5). Of course, Sarah opted for some sweet mustard. We split the Smoked Bluefish Rillettes: creme fraiche, chives, fried capers, rustic toast ($14) and the Mushroom Crostini: goat cheese, herbs + scallion ($8). The pretzels are so soft, with a touch of exterior crunch and some sea salt. If you are not too hungry one day, I recommend coming here for a cocktail or beer and one or two orders of the pretzel bites to split. I fell in love with this pretzel plate at first bite.

The Smoked Bluefish was very rich; the capers were a very nice touch. This is an appetizer I recommend to split among four to six guests. It pairs well with a Sauvignon Blanc, which would also pair well with the Crostini. The mushrooms stole the show and the goat cheese was light, not too heavy; can easily serve two to three.

For our entrees, my husband chose their signature Red Maple Burger: quick pickled cucumbers, caramelized onion, cheddar cheese, brioche bun, ketchup + garlic aioli ($18). The decided upon the 1.25 lb Lobster Roll: buttered brioche, lemon, chive + housemade chips. The burger meat tastes very fresh; my husband loved the sweet onions, and the homemade pickles were a great surprise. The fries were in my top five favorite fries I have ever tasted! I would come here just for the fries. The hotel should set up a stand to sell them! The fries are thick cut and served with mayo and ketchup for dipping. The mayo is an ideal fry sauce.

For dessert, I tasted two Summer Triffles. First, was the Peanut Butter Mousse: Devil’s food cake, dark chocolate curls; and the Manhattan: orange bourbon cake, cherry bitters compote, lapsang souchong tea pudding (both $9). Both cakes were moist and each bite reminded me of a comforting, warm summer’s day in the country.

For brunch, which I definitely intend to come in for this summer, is served every Sunday from 10am until 3pm. Featuring a hearty selection of house-made culinary delights, those looking for a savory start will find flavorful choices such as Traditional Eggs Benedict; Steak and Eggs made with petite filet, two eggs sunny side up, served with toast and potato hash; and an assortment of scrambles with locally sourced vegetables and seasonal cheeses, all served with a side of toast and oven roasted hash brown cake. You may wish to treat your sweet tooth to a chef’s selection of fluffy pancakes, and Brioche French Toast topped with fresh orange zest. A selection of sandwiches and seasonal salads are also available.

Overseeing the restaurant’s new Lunch and Brunch offerings is Gayle Scarberry, Red Maple’s newly appointed Executive Chef. A graduate of the Connecticut Culinary Institute, Scarberry hails from Cape Cod bringing more than a decade of experience working in various kitchens across Provincetown, MA, as a master pastry chef and cook.

Lunch is now available every Saturday from 11am until 5pm. Lunch hours will be further expanded on Memorial Day weekend and then again in July. // 631-749-0018

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