Marlene and Peter Eckstein, frequent visitors to the East End, found culinary treasures from the land by the Ionian Sea at Blue Islands, a new restaurant that recently took over the Rhumb Line on Front Street in Greenport.
The Ambiance: Recently renovated with the subtle appeal of the Greek Islands, tin ceilings sparkle as cloth-covered tables and a somewhat segregated bar section welcome diners to this new addition to the dining scene on Front Street. The street side of the restaurant is the "Santorini" section and windows facing the sidewalk give a pleasant view of the passersby. The charm of the music of Greece fills the air and serves to embellish the taste of the food. Walls are filled with views of memorable locations of the remarkable islands and the staff's friendly servers only add to the perception of being there.
The Diners: Marlene and Peter Eckstein of Smithtown ventured into these environs to catch the feel of a busy seaport, and this restaurant seemed to satisfy this desire. With a passion for Greek foods of all sorts, this couple was the perfect choice to lend an opinion as to the quality and presentation of their selections.
The Meal: The menu has a vast variety of options and in true Greek fashion, prime catches from land and sea are displayed to aide in making a selection. The restaurant's physical configuration restricts the showcase from being seen when entering, which could prove advantageous. The helpful waitress Katie was there with suggestions of specials of the day. Marlene chose the spinach pie ($8) and Peter, the saganaki ($11) to start. The spanikopita was a bit dry but quite well seasoned. The traditional kefalograviera cheese appetizer was prepared in a unique fashion (at least for Peter) as a neatly broiled square. Surprised by the lack of "stringiness," Peter dived in and enjoyed Blue Island's style.
The main course was appetizingly displayed and the gyro platter ($16) was tender and beautifully accompanied. It was nice to have the fries unsalted so one could adjust the degree of tang. The side tzatziki could be replaced with a salsa-like topping or a tomato sauce. Shrimp santorini ($25) was concocted by chef George, who took pride in explaining that the food in Greece is regional and this was his particular mode of combining goat cheese, broiled shrimp and orzo in a subtle oil and garlic plus herbs sauce, with tomatoes and onions. Served piping hot, the portion was generous and nicely presented.
Impressions: This upscale family-style restaurant has a welcoming place on the Greenport scene, with regional food of Greece embellished by comfortable surroundings in a frenetic environment. The warm wait staff and pleasant chef and owners make for a real plus. The use of local vegetables along with a wide variety of alcoholic Greek specialties and 12 beers on tap complete the experience.
Blue Islands is located at 34-36 Front Street in Greenport. Call 631-477-2310.