By Tes Silverman
Across from the Engeman Theater in Northport is Danyell’s Kitchen, which serves up Mediterranean-inspired cuisine that is quite a departure from the previous establishment, Campari. Owner Danyell Miller took over Campari four years ago with the intention of creating farm-to-table menus that showcase more than just Italian cuisine.
Miller believes in supporting local artists by displaying artwork on the walls of her restaurant. In addition, she creates thematic events that combine art or music with a unique menu that highlights what’s available during the season.
Another incentive to dine here is the concept of “27 after 7”. After 7 p.m., patrons can dine on a three-course meal for $27, which includes appetizer, entree and dessert.
Examples of what patrons could taste are appetizers like monkfish cake ($16), eggplant rustica ($20), butternut squash ravioli ($12) and sausage stuffed clams ($14) for starters. The monkfish cake is poached in champagne, which adds zing to its usual mild flavor while keeping its delicate texture.
Served over balsamic glazed portobello mushrooms, the fish becomes a complex dish that is quite filling for an appetizer. The eggplant rustica is grilled eggplant with tomatoes and served with pasta. The pasta is cooked al dente and with the eggplant’s spongy texture, creates a hearty dish that’s not heavy. The butternut squash ravioli is cooked perfectly and the filling has a tinge of sweetness from the sage brown butter, adding some creamy texture to it. The sausage stuffed clams are prepared with red peppers in a cream sauce which could easily be seen as a heavy dish, but is actually quite the contrary. The clams are quite fresh and the sausage is flavorful. The peppers prepared with this dish bring out a hint of spiciness that just adds more flavor.
If you like salads, the beet, orange and tomato ($12) and summer panzanella made with tomatoes, cucumber, olives and prosciutto ($14) are the ones to choose. The beet, orange and tomato salad over mixed greens with a citrus vinaigrette is quite a combination of tastes due to the sweetness of the beet and the acidity of the tomato and orange. The summer panzanella is a hearty salad due to the olives and prosciutto. While the tomatoes and cucumber may seem bland in comparison to the olives and prosciutto, the combined ingredients bring out intense flavors.
For entrees that are quite unique, the Moroccan salmon, seafood cassoulet and summer splendor (fire roasted shrimp, calamari and scallops over roasted vegetables and lentils) are the ones to try. The Moroccan salmon is coated with spices and served with roasted carrot and risotto. The salmon is tender and quite flavorful from the spices and the risotto is quite creamy. The seafood cassoulet features a melange of ingredients such as andouille sausage, crab, calamari, and shrimp. Prepared with cannellini beans in a tomato broth risotto, the result is a hearty dish similar to a gumbo.The summer splendor’s ingredients of fire roasted shrimp, calamari and scallops create a seafood lover’s dish that could be eaten on their own. Once you add roasted vegetables and lentils to the mix, it brings out the different textures of the seafood and its freshness.
If you’re inclined to have dessert, the one to have is the coconut shooter with chocolate ganache. The coconut is slightly sweet and, combined with the chocolate ganache, creates a delicate and delicious dessert.
Miller vision for Danyell’s Kitchen is simple: “To provide patrons with a stimulating experience with art and music that would go along with the food.”
But she is struggling to keep that vision alive.
Since Miller changed the restaurant’s name from Campari to Danyell’s Kitchen in March, ”Since March of this year, we have gotten behind on our bills every week. Owning and operating a restaurant in a sleepy little village is difficult, and I have been advised by many who have seen the numbers to close down.” “I don't have enough resources to be open. Just like artists and musicians need a community to help nourish their art, the same can be said about restaurant owners. At this moment, it is my turn to ask for support. I am asking the community to help me in any way they can to keep Danyell's Kitchen from closing.”
Miller’s impassioned plea for help is a testament to her commitment to the Northport community. Her mission to remain open and serve the highest quality of food and service to her patrons is undeniable. With help from the community she loves, she hopes to continue and become a long-standing establishment.
Hours: Monday-Tuesday, 12-9 p.m.; Wednesday-Saturday, 12-10 p.m.; Sunday, 12-9 p.m.
225 Main Street