8 Fresno Place East Hampton, NY 631-324-8700
John Yashinowsky, formerly chef-owner of Caswell's and Gianni's in Montauk, makes American nouvelleties with local ingredients and accents Euro, Asian and Hamptonian.Hours: Dinner every day. Reservations recommended.
John Yashinowsky, formerly chef-owner of Caswell's and Gianni's in Montauk, makes American nouvelleties with local ingredients and accents Euro, Asian and Hamptonian. Joining him in this enterprise are David Loewenberg, co-owner of red/bar brasserie in Southampton and The Beacon in Sag Harbor, and Michael Nolan, once owner-manager of Miracle Bar & Grill in Manhattan. The collective experience shows. Fresno is a smooth, streamlined, noisy operation, neatly choreographed and carefully appointed down to the zinc-topped bar, where some Saturday-night diners find a seat to eat their Fresno burgers. The hues are airy earth tones, the lighting subdued. And the staff gingerly moves things along. You'll quickly finish the velvety charred tuna, sliced and slouching on a hillock of respectable, cool soba noodles that offer hints of sesame, soy and wasabi. A crisp, blue-corn-crusted, soft-shell crab rests on a mound of snappy, chunky avocado salsa. Take a mellow turn with the inviting Maine-meets- Milan lobster-and-crab risotto, flecked with sweet corn. Less appealing is the shrimp in phyllo, which may remind you simply of overcooked shellfish wrapped in Shredded Wheat. The shrimp aren't very spicy, either, and the mango-star fruit chutney sounds more enticing than it is. You're better off with mussels flavored with tomato, fennel and saffron. Salads are lively little affairs and respectable alternatives to the appetizers. The combo of hearts of palm, avocado and tomatoes in a cilantro-chile sauce is good. Likewise the house salad with organic greens, yellow and red tomatoes, drizzled with a sherry vinaigrette. The Thai salad translates into a zesty union of tatsoi, mizuna, green papaya and a dressing fueled by chiles and mint. Mild, herb-crusted organic salmon heads the school of fish, buoyed by green lentils, haricots verts and leeks. The North Fork blackfish also is recommended, seared, then sent to the oven and ultimately accompanied by truffled potatoes and roasted mushrooms. Vinous, meaty, grilled portobello mushrooms are the centerpiece of a spirited vegetarian course, which includes well-seasoned, savory mashed cauliflower and sauteed spinach. The grilled, double-cut pork chop looks big enough to satisfy more than one of the house's studiously slim diners. The juicy number gets a gloss of tamarind sauce and the company of roasted sweet potatoes. "Duck two ways" must refer to the cuts. This is no rare-breast-and-confit-of-leg duet. The sliced breast and the leg are just overcooked and aren't rescued by the dried cherry sauce. Instead, sample the pan-roasted chicken with mustard sauce, plus garlic mashed potatoes. Yashinowsky's kitchen sends out a professional, Tahitian vanilla crÃ¨me brÃ»lÃ©e and an updated berry cobbler that makes you remember homey, crumblier ones with greater fondness. The obligatory dessert, however, is the terrine of chocolate, a Belgian bricklet set in Kahlua-spiked sabayon. The warm chocolate cake naturally comes with warm chocolate sauce and a scoop of espresso ice cream. Did you expect decaf? Reviewed by Peter M. Gianotti, 6/13/04.