A pawpaw is a fruit indigenous to much of North America. It is said to be very luscious and custardy, tasting something like a mix of mango and banana with a little cantaloupe (sounds good to us!). The challenge with the fruit is that it bruises very easily and spoils shortly after harvest. It is best enjoyed immediately, often after it is cut from the tree. In that tradition, chef Taylor Knapp, one of the people behind Peconic Escargot, has introduced PAWPAW to Greenport. It’s a pop-up restaurant, where the menu items are immediate and rarely repeated. Miss it, and it’s gone.
Don’t get us wrong, there are many amazing chefs on the North Fork. However amazing any chef may be, their creativity is going to find restraint because of menus, customer preference, and the realities of business. There are creative limits to any menu.
This is where PAWPAW shows its difference. Taylor Knapp has left the restaurant scene, but stays in the kitchen. Every Monday for the foreseeable future, he transforms some Greenport locale (currently Bruce’s Cheese Emporium at 208 Main Street) into his play-kitchen. Because each meal consists of several courses, Taylor can take risks with flavors and foods that not everyone may like and then present them in unconventional ways. This is pop-up dining at its finest.
Taylor believes in locally sourced and foraged foods, meaning that ingredients are extremely fresh with items procured specifically for one meal. Without a restaurant to cook for each evening, Taylor has the opportunity to make something new each week, and he really seems to seek to play with old standards and stretch convention. The fifteen-plus course tasting menu means that everyone experiences the flavors simultaneously at the long communal table, opening conversation and discussion. With a maximum of sixteen guests, it can’t help but seem intimate and friendly.
The best way to learn about PAWPAW is to experience it for yourself. Gather some foodie friends and email Taylor at PAWPAW to make a reservation for the next available Monday evening. Wine is available or you can bring your own. Space is limited and seats are taken sometimes weeks in advance, so don’t expect to pop in.