New and returning favourites vie to pick up the dining mantle from EMP Summer House
By KATE KRADER
It will be a summer of options for people in and near the Hamptons.
It’s not only a buyer’s market in real estate, but there are plenty of new dining spots for the crowds — and one major absence. After two seasons as the area’s primo hangout with bocce courts and lobster boils, 11 Madison Park’s EMP Summer House won’t reopen this year. But several contenders are fighting to take its place, with most slated to open on Thursday, May 23. Better make your reservations now. Good luck, and happy summering.
Posh Madison Avenue Italian hangout Paola’s is stepping into the big shoes vacated by EMP Summer House. Owner Stefano Marracino says they’re taking over the space with an eye toward staying longer. He’ll serve a condensed version of his classic Italian menu: Cacio e pepe (still New York’s trendiest pasta), linguine with clams and bucatini all’amatriciana with smoked bacon and tomatoes will all be represented.
Marracino says there will be specialties that take advantage of local products, like zucchini flowers, and more fish than is on offer in the city depending on what the restaurant can get from local fishermen. Yet, staples like seafood salad and clams on the half shell aren’t going anywhere. The prices will be a little higher than what is on the menu at Madison Avenue, says Marracino, “but reasonable compared to what I saw when I was out there”, in the range of US$100 (RM415) a person. The wine list will be mostly Italian.
And for those who spent long afternoons at EMP, Marracino also says the backyard will continue to have games, but won’t confirm there will be bocce. He’s also entertaining the idea of live jazz in the popular outdoor space and hosting cooking classes when the summer season is done. Location: 341 Pantigo Road, East Hampton.
Blue Mar Hamptons
Chef Terrence Brennan, a veteran of Upper West Side fine dining and extravagant cheese plates at the now-closed Picholine and Artisanal Fromagerie & Bistro, will focus on seafood at his pop-up on Southampton’s Main Street.
“Now is my time to get obsessed with fish, and this is a good place to do it,” he says. The extravagant menu will run from caviar service served in a silver trough with buttered toast (“none of that other baloney like chopped eggs”), as well as grilled Mediterranean and American seafood from Dover sole to Spanish turbot, tuna and diver sea scallops. The 200-or-so-bottle wine list will include a robust selection of rosé. Location: 136 Main Street, Southampton.
Showfish at Gurney’s
First things first: Despite the strong rumours of nightlife pro Omar Hernandez bringing a club to the new Gurney’s Star Island Resort and Marina in Montauk, complete with US$3,000-a-day cabanas, a resort rep says: “It is 100% not happening.”
But what is happening after the US$13 million renovation is the food. Showfish, a 188-seat destination with chef Jeremy Blutstein, formerly of Almond, is set to prepare locally sourced seafood, a lot of it arriving in the kitchen straight from Gurney’s docks. The Fruits de Mer Showfish platter — with oysters, clams, shrimp cocktails, lobsters and crab claws — goes for US$530 and serves at least eight. There’s a strong local produce programme that includes a vegetable “butcher” in action in the middle of the restaurant and dishes like Amagansett Petite Greens with local green strawberries and Wölffer rosé vinaigrette. For those indulging in carbs, there’s a bread service that features pull-apart Parker House rolls and a tagliatelle pasta with Maine uni butter and Calabrian chile.
For parties, there’s a pair of private dining rooms, and for drinks, a separate lounge, Showfish Bar, at the base of Gurney’s lighthouse, with a menu of original and classic cocktails. Location: 32 Star Island Road, Montauk.
Next door to Amagansett’s taco and burrito spot La Fondita, and not far from his celebrity hangout Nick & Toni’s, Mark Smith is opening a full-blown Mexican restaurant in the old Honest Diner space. During the day, Coche Comedor, which is outfitted with tile floors and dark blue booths, will serve fresh lime frozen margaritas and have sangria on tap, as well as a raw bar.
Around 5:30pm, the dining room will open for business with small and large plates including tableside guacamole and ceviches, plus rotisserie chicken adobo with mole and pork rib carnitas with charred baby onions from chef Joseph Realmuto. “Of course, there will be fish, too. This is Long Island,” says Smith. Location: 74A Montauk Avenue, Amagansett.
Morty’s Oyster Stand
Chef Sam Talbot, who helped make the Surf Lodge a destination, is bringing more seafood — sustainably sourced — to the Hamptons. With partners Jeremy Morton, Jack Luber and Charles Seich (of Ferris, in Manhattan), Talbot will have oysters, uni and shrimp cocktail on his raw bar menu and grilled local squid with zucchini and macadamia nut pesto as a main course, plus, of course, a lobster roll.
The few nonseafood items include a hanger steak with roasted mushroom chimichurri. Because Morty’s is set in the former Cyril’s space, it’s resurrecting the fish house’s most notorious cocktail, the BBC (Bailey’s banana colada), as well as fresh juice drinks like the Sure Shot with vodka, celery juice and tonic. Location: 2167 Montauk Highway, Amagansett.
New York’s hippest omakase restaurant, Shuko, is heading back East for another summer pop-up. Shuko Beach, from Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau, will be at the popular Highway Restaurant & Bar after Memorial Day weekend.
Its omakase progression of sushi like toro and kinmedai will be on offer; the bar will also serve a handful of Shuko dishes, notably spicy trout and kampachi (amberjack) handrolls. Location: 290 Montauk Highway, East Hampton.
The pricey southern Italian restaurant, whose outposts stretch from South Beach to the Upper East Side, is unveiling an outdoor patio garden later this month with 20 seats and lots of small trees and shrubs.
Also new at the restaurant this summer is a catering menu for mainstays such as chicken parmigiana, veal piccata and 12oz (340g) fillet mignon, as well as a new vongole locali offering of clams on the half shell, served six ways from oreganata to casino. Location: 108 Wainscott Stone Road, Wainscott. — Bloomberg