Try this: Vine Street Café prix-fixe

Vine Street Café shrimp scampi

Shrimp scampi at Vine Street Café. (Credit: Annette Hinkle)

It doesn’t appear that any Shelter Island restaurants are participating in Long Island Restaurant Week, but there is still one great option for dining without breaking the bank.

Not so long ago, on a beautiful fall Friday evening, my husband and I made plans to meet up with some friends for dinner. We live on the South Fork while our friends are weekend North Forkers with a place in Cutchogue.

Thus arose the age-old conundrum that we all experience when we have friends on “the other side” as it were.

“Where should we meet?”

The answer?

Shelter Island, of course!

So we agreed to split the difference. My husband and I jumped onto the ferry bound for Vine Street Café where we met up with our North Fork friends and caught up over a fabulous three-course prix fixe dinner to swoon for.

By the way, in case you haven’t tried it, Vine Street’s fall prix fixe is one of the best deals going on the East End these days. At $28, it’s a steal and available daily from 5 to 6 p.m.

But let’s just keep that between ourselves, shall we?

Chef and owners Lisa and Terry Harwood stress the local and seasonal nature of their menu, and Chef Terry works closely with area farmers, fishermen and vineyards to serve up what’s fresh. Everything is made in-house and as the pastry chef, Lisa’s desserts compliment the meal beautifully.

On the night we went to Vine Street for the prix fixe, we were the first table to arrive, but before the mains even arrived at the table, the place was packed out.

I soon realized why.


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I started my meal with the lovely pickled NOFO beet salad, followed by the country fried chicken for my main (served on a bed of Manchego grits and greens, it’s comfort food personified). Because I couldn’t decide on dessert, my husband and I made a deal — we split the cheese plate and the classic profiteroles (with hot fudge and vanilla ice cream no less — more comfort on the way).

Vine Street Cafe Country Fried Chicken

Country fried chicken at Vine Street Café. (Credit: Annette Hinkle)

One of our friends opted for the Peconic littleneck clams for his appetizer followed by the shrimp scampi as his main, while his wife went for the simple green salad and the miso glazed salmon (that one came with bok choy, mushrooms and coconut rice). For dessert, he headed right for the house-made sorbet while she couldn’t resist the biscotti.

Who could blame either of them? Top it all off with some fine white wine, great conversation and you have the makings of a mighty fine night out with good friends — across the great divide, no less!

Vine Street Café’s $28 three-course prix fixe menu is available daily from 5 to 6 p.m. Vine Street Cafe is located at 41 South Ferry Road, just 1.5 miles from the South Ferry. Reservations are highly recommended. Call (631) 749-3210 or visit www.vinestreetcafe.com.