Andrra is situated a bit off of the beaten path on Three Mile Harbor in Springs, but the location is fitting, as the restaurant’s delights also stray a bit from the typical Mediterranean cuisine.
I met fellow Dan’s Papers writer Kate Maier for dinner the other night, and we were immediately greeted by Noti Krasniqi, who opened the restaurant less than a month ago with brother and executive chef Sami Krasniqi and Richard Silver. The brothers are from Kosovo, and they bring their own Eastern European influences to the menu.
“It’s comfortable food with a Mediterranean twist,” says owner Richard Silver. “Andrra is all about bold Mediterranean flavors.”
The trio refer to their restaurant as a ‘labor of love,’ as it took a lot of persistence to bring their dream to reality.
The restaurant and bar is located at Harbor Marina at the former site of the Boathouse, and the three decided to take the space when it became available in late February. Seven weeks of extensive renovations later, and the restaurant has been completely transformed.
“We were slammed for Mother’s Day,” says Silver, who was proud to report that the feedback on the menu has been overwhelmingly positive.
The first thing I noticed is what everyone initially raves about – the view. The second-floor dining room is located on Three Mile Harbor, and the three decided to include open air windows to maximize sunset sightings. The design seamlessly merges an indoor and an outdoor dining experience.
Noti and Rich ran down the list of popular menu items, which seemed to include a majority of the selections. I went with the recommendation of Mama’s Mussels for an appetizer. Made with ouzo, white wine, oven dried tomatoes, shallots and fennel, they had a bit of a smoky, full flavor.
Kate tried the Stars of the Sea, which is a medley of seafood that she happily noted did not skimp on the varieties.
For a truly unique appetizer, Andrra also offers Toskan BBQ Shrimp, which are served spicy sweet and ale braised with garlic and smoked paprika. Andrra also offers Andrra Mezze, an Eastern European concept similar to tapas, as it allows you to small portions of many of different appetizers.
Then, it was time for the main courses. Andrra’s menu was created under the auspicious eye of Billie Valentine of Valentine Culinary Consulting. Valentine brings extensive culinary expertise to Andrra as the consultant chef. Known worldwide, his resume that includes some of the best restaurants on the East End, including The Maidstone Arms Inn & Restaurant in East Hampton, and throughout the nation.
Andrra’s menu has a variety of surf and turf options, including Branzino, Lobsta’, Soft Shell Crabs, multiple cuts of steak and lamb. Noti confirmed that a lot of the food is sourced from local fisherman, and the restaurant uses real fish stock.
“You can’t call yourself an Albanian restaurant without a good piece of lamb!” says Silver.
Kate noted that the dish lived up to its hype. She especially liked the accompanying edamame roasted garlic puree. I sampled it as well and can attest to its unique taste.
I went with the Ocean Diver Sea Scallops, which are grilled with limonetta sauce and served with Israeli couscous. The scallops were light and flavorful, and I liked having them grilled instead of pan seared, which I feel is the more traditional route. However, after enjoying a variety of unique tastes all night, I was a little disappointed that the couscous didn’t have more gusto.
For dessert, we tried the homemade baklava, which definitely satisfied my sweet tooth. The traditional Eastern European goodie is made with layers of filo pastry and chopped nuts, and it is held together with syrup.
But, we had one more treat to try before the night was finished – a glass of beer from Chicago’s Goose Island brewers. The craft beer hit the spot, and Kate and I wandered into the bar area to finish our drinks. Monday night is local night at Andrra with guest bartender Joe Kastrati, and we noted that we would gladly return for a cocktail and a sunset sometime soon.
The bar area is sizable, and there is also an adjoining lounge that I can only imagine will be extremely popular once the summer season really begins. Andrra will have late-night hours on the weekends until 2 a.m. The restaurant will serve small plates outside of the traditional dinner times, making it a dream spot for anyone who has ever had a midnight snack craving.Andrra 39 Gann Road East Hampton 631-329-3663 www.andrra.com