People often suggest restaurants to me—for review, for my own pleasure and sometimes they want me to report back to them what ingredients are in a particular dish for their own edification. It’s all good fun, but I can’t get to them all. I’d been hearing good things about the East Hampton Grill since it opened in 2011. Then, last week, hair stylist and fabu foodie Marc Zowine told me I HAD TO have their fried oysters and Kate Pratt from East Hampton Gourmet raved about the meal she and her husband Chef Michel Mazuret enjoyed there—so I called for a reservation.
A Wednesday night in January and there are plenty of cars in the parking lot—a good sign. The cars right near ours bear license plates from Arizona, California and New Jersey. Clearly, as an outpost of the Hillstone Restaurant Group, East Hampton Grill must deliver on quality consistently.
My husband and I were welcomed into a large, very warm space and seated next to a big fireplace, with a Chuck Close print overhead and jazz raining down from above.
Our server Andre suggested the Heavenly Biscuits and the Grilled Artichokes to start and we heartily agreed. As the menu says, “Our food is made from scratch daily.” As we waited for our biscuits we ordered cocktails—A Lemon Thyme Gimlet for moi and a Gibson for Husband. I was really impressed with my drink of Reyka vodka, fresh lemon and thyme simple syrup because, though remarkably balanced, the savory thyme won the battle over sweet. So tasty but subtle, it could actually be consumed along with food, but one was enough for me. Husband approved of his Gibson of Beefeater gin and house pickled onions—he found the onions less subdued than mass market pickled onions. This is something he cares about deeply, this and wine. The East Hampton Grill Wine List includes some local stars like Grapes of Roth, Lieb, Macari, Paumanok plus, when we were there, they were still offering the famous inauguration wine, Bedell’s 2009 Merlot. Of course he ordered a glass. Of course I tried it. Very balanced and middle-of-the road merlot. Everything you look for in a merlot but no overkill, a wine that people from red and blue states could agree on.
Those Heavenly Biscuits arrived piping hot, broadcasting rosemary, a bit crispy on the outside and tender within. I was impressed throughout the meal that all of our food arrived at its ideal temperature and it was all very professionally presented. These details make a huge difference in your enjoyment of a meal.
Three large artichoke halves came next, singed into submission and accompanied by a house made rémoulade. Bravo.
Of course we also ordered the Oysters St. Charles—fried oysters over cheesy creamed spinach on the half shell with tiny dollops of lemon aioli, accompanied by a bottle of Rex pepper sauce. Cooked to perfection and pleasantly salty, Husband had this to say, “Wow. It’s the creamed spinach…that does it…oh so rich…”
The featured dish on Wednesdays is Braised Beef Short Rib, which suited Husband. He quite liked it and the whipped potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts and carrots that it came with.
I didn’t find anything I wouldn’t want to eat on the menu so I left my entrée choice up to Executive Chef Brian Stefano to decide. I was quite pleased with the local Tile Fish he sent out, alongside creamy whipped potatoes and a healthy heap of expertly cooked spinach and cabbage. About three minutes after it arrived I exclaimed, “Oh God, I cleaned my plate!”
We were far too full for dessert—so we shared one, Warm Apple Cobbler. Hot, cinnamon-y and gooey, the cobbler featured loads of walnut halves and Honeycrisp apples from the Milk Pail in Water Mill. Husband also enjoyed his customary warmed Hennessy cognac.
Of note for our readers who turn directly to the Food & Dining Section as soon as Dan’s Papers hits the racks: Friday’s featured dish at East Hampton Grill is Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes with Pommery mustard…
East Hampton Grill, 99 North Main Street, East Hampton, 631-329-6666, easthamptongrill.com