A roaring fireplace on a cold night might be the furthest thing from your mind while enjoying a fruity cocktail in August, but a new Shelter Island restaurant is aiming to be a go-to spot for both the flip-flop and wool sock seasons.
“The design was to create a space that was light and airy through summer, then had a warm and cozy feel for winter as Red Maple will be open year round,” said David Bowd, who co-owns the Chequit Inn, which recently unveiled its new restaurant, Red Maple.
Located on the ground floor of the historic hotel, the much-anticipated 150-seat restaurant and bar is now open for dinner. The renovated dining room and bar emits a minimalist vibe with vintage school chairs, reclaimed walnut tabletops and cozy, oversized banquettes. Wooden pedestals near the entrance serve as a place for patrons to gather while waiting for their tables. The popular outdoor patio continues to draw diners with its beautiful view.
“With Red Maple, we wanted to take the same fresh, ‘no rules’ approach that we have with our hotels,” said Bowd, who is co-owner and chief executive of Salt Hotels. “We created an atmosphere and menu where diners are comfortable ordering as much or as little as they want.”
Currently, diners can choose from small plates like smoked bluefish rillettes, a cheese plate or housemade country pate. Large plates include a Maine lobster roll, champagne poached black bass and a soft shell crab B.L.T. The raw bar offers Montauk Pearl oysters and Peconic Bay littleneck clams.
“It’s a seasonally inspired menu. Right now there’s a lot more fish on the menu, but as we head toward the winter it will have more meat, rustic vegetables and fall flavors,” explained Bowd.
Another feature is the “Simply Composed” menu, which lets diners choose their main course and side dish. After choosing between an 18-ounce rib eye, oven-roasted chicken or the fish of the day, diners can choose to pair it with either a seasonal salad or fingerling potatoes.
“It was all about taking away all these silly rules and really bringing it back to focus on the guests,” said Bowd.
When it comes to wine offerings, Red Maple is venturing into the wine-on-tap trend.
“We wanted to create an interesting wine list and part of that was to include multiple wines on tap,” Bowd said. “We’re using some of the local purveyors, so instead of bottling it, they put it into great big casks for us. The beauty of it is the first time it touches oxygen is when you’re pouring it for the guest, so every single glass is like a perfect glass of wine.”
Red Maple, located at 23 Grand Ave. on Shelter Island, is currently open for dinner seven days a week from 5 to 10 p.m. On Aug. 8, it will begin serving lunch on a daily basis at 11:30 a.m.
For more information please visit www.thechequit.com