Try This: Takeout dinners from Marie Eiffel

Roasted chicken and vegetables at Marie Eiffel Market. (Credit: Annette Hinkle)

Roasted chicken and vegetables at Marie Eiffel Market. (Credit: Annette Hinkle)

“What’s for dinner?”

These three little words have the ability to strike terror in the hearts of many a home cook — especially at the end of a long work day, or even worse, after a miserable three hour commute from Manhattan to the East End on a Friday afternoon.

Relax. You’re on Shelter Island now, so why cook at all when you can let Marie Eiffel take over?

Marie Eiffel Market in Shelter Island Heights is where those in the know go for great lunch offerings, including creative sandwiches, healthy pizzas, hearty soups and salads, and some of the best French pastries we’ve had on this side of the Atlantic.

But each day, Ms. Eiffel and her staff also come up with special takeout dinner entrees that are perfect for feeding hungry families or entertaining a houseful of guests.

“If you have guests, a restaurant is too expensive or maybe you’ve just arrived from the city and don’t want to cook,” she says. “Eating at home is more relaxed. You can move around at home and set up a little bar.”

Ms. Eiffel’s dinner offerings are varied and based on what’s fresh and available. On a recent Friday morning, for example, she was busy pulling together salmon, swordfish, onions and mushrooms for inclusion in that afternoon’s fish stew. With fall in the air, she’s also planning to add beef bourguignon to the regular line up.

“Normally, we have a fish and a meat dish,” Ms. Eiffel explains. “People are going to come in and say, ‘What do you have?’ Those are going to be the specials.”

Other favorites likely to appear in the months ahead are lamb stew and Ms. Eiffel’s renowned bouillabaisse.

“With the bouillabaisse, all they have to do is heat it up,” says Ms. Eiffel. “It’s taking the fuss out of it.”

On the wall of her office Ms. Eiffel keeps a list of other dishes she wants to create in the future. Though she doesn’t typically make a lot of pasta, she nonetheless keeps a list of potential pasta dishes handy for one client who is particularly smitten.

In many ways, it feels like you’re coming home for the holidays with Ms. Eiffel taking on the role of matriarch eager to provide the comfort food. It’s a role she clearly enjoys.

“We have people who come in every day for lunch and they’re bored,” says Ms. Eiffel. “They get that look. I’ll ask them, ‘What do you want? A piece of fish? I can make that for you.’”

“I’m not happy if they’re not happy,” she says.

In addition to the daily specials, available for takeout every day at Marie Eiffel Market are whole roasted chickens and ducks as well as sides including roasted vegetables and potatoes, all ready to be packed up and taken home to the hungry hoards.

Just remember, call the market early to find out what’s cooking and reserve your dinner for pick-up later in the day.

There now… wasn’t that easy?

Marie Eiffel Market entrees start at $12.99 per person. Whole roasted chickens are $19.95. The market is open seven days a week from 6:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (the kitchen closes at 7 p.m.) 184 N. Ferry Road, Shelter Island, (631) 749-0003. For more details visit