Barrow Food House in Aquebogue offers high quality quick and casual food
When a menu has so many healthy options, at what point does my repeated recommendation for her fried chicken thigh sandwich become a dereliction of duty? I thought to myself, still full of memories of a sandwich I had only eaten once in my life, and that was two months ago. It’s not like I haven’t also tried and liked the green mango salad loaded with avocado, quinoa and several other things my diet is deficient in ($ 12), or the asparagus salad and of potatoes that Kyle Romeo made me taste ($ 12). And while my job is to direct people to the most delicious food on the island, I would rather not have a stack of cholesterol-lowering prescriptions on my conscience. At some point, I really have to stop talking about the Fried Chicken Thigh Sandwich at Barrow Food House in Aquebogue.
Today is not that day. The chicken – heavily breaded, modestly seasoned – is liberally spread with a tangy chili butter topped with just the right amount of purple coleslaw under a puffy brioche bun ($ 12). No wonder the traffic in Aquebogue is so bad.
“It gets worse in the fall because of the pumpkin smuggling,” said chef-owner Romeo, who opened the Barrow without a reservation almost exactly two years ago with his chef-owner-wife Amanda Falcone. “Even locals who live two miles from the road don’t come to see us then.”
That said, the restaurant, a charming 1850s farmhouse, is far from quiet in the summer or any other season. Things were even busy during the pandemic, thanks to a window that Falcone and Romeo put into use as a drive-thru during those contactless pickup days of yore. Now it’s back to just a window again. There is something unexpected about this.
The couple, who live in an apartment above the Barrow Dining Room with their four-year-old son Bennet, met a few years ago when they both worked at North Fork Table & Inn in Southold , the hometown of Romeo. Falcone grew up in Riverhead, though now his father Les lives minutes from the restaurant on a six-acre farm he owns. You can see where it’s going.
“In the summer, we can use all the lettuce on the farm and supply the restaurant for four or five months,” Romeo said. “It’s good because it’s our own private farm. It takes a lot of cleaning up the vegetables, so it’s extra work, but it’s worth it.”
cold sauce with eggs (gribiche) and nooch (nutritional yeast) Besides salads, the reward consists of Barrow’s radish and kohlrabi salad ($ 5), asparagus and leek soup ($ 7) and supporting roles in Barrow’s Roast Beef and Pepperoncini Sandwich ($ 15), as well as his one- and two-patty smashburgers ($ 10 / $ 14).
“We really wanted to make healthy, high quality food at a fast pace,” Romeo said, “and that’s what people expect of us.”
Or most people, anyway. Quite a few of us are getting down on the chicken sandwich, as fast or as slowly as we can.
Barrow Food House is at 452 Main Rd. In Aquebogue, 631-779-3379, barrowfoodhouse.com. The opening hours are Sunday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Closed Monday and Tuesday.