Though the Southampton Social Club is on my short list of places to consider for birthday celebrations, special occasion dinners and the often-necessary, after-work cocktail, I didn’t realize how special the restaurant and bar is until a recent late night visit over Memorial Day weekend.
The next morning, my out-of-town friends all told me that they want to “open a place like that up in Boston.” Practically founded by the Irish, every other building in Boston is a bar. But clearly the city is missing the dynamic that the Social Club has brought to Southampton.
Southampton Social Club expertly blends a Hamptons fine dining and late night scene, somehow managing to be both trendy and laidback. Maybe it’s the hydrangeas and slate-tiled patio that help give off the vibe that you’re at a luxe Hamptons backyard party. Is there anything better than sitting outside on a summer night? If only my backyard had a full service bar with expertly crafted cocktails and full tap…
A “Club” in the sense that there’s drinking, dancing and bottle service after hours, the Social Club also offers fine dining, which was the reason for my most recent visit. Though we did whet our appetites with one of the restaurant’s signature cocktails. I went with the Social Cooler, a concoction that includes jalapeno-infused Don Julio Tequila, watermelon purée and fresh lime on the rocks. A little spicy and just the right amount of kick for a summer night. In general, I’m more of a beer drinker than a cocktail drinker, and Social Club’s tap currently includes the seasonal favorite Sam Adams Summer and, much to my dad’s pleasure, Guinness.
Chef Scott Kampf creates a unique menu that emphasizes fresh fare and ingredients. We started off the evening with a smattering of appetizers—the SSC Lobster Rolls, the Braised Short Rib Sliders and the Sesame Encrusted Ahi Tuna. Was it the movie Julie & Julia that said you’re not supposed to say “yum” when eating? Movies aren’t my thing so…“yum” is one of the few words that would do the lobster rolls justice. Billed as a “savory lobster salad” served on “toasted mini-croissants,” the rolls are light on the mayo, with lots of small chunks of meat. The croissants, too, did not disappoint, as they were soft and buttery, not falling victim to the potential pitfalls of having a pastry after 9 a.m.
The short rib sliders were sufficiently doused in the roasted strawberry barbecue sauce, a nice twist that does not force me to draw comparisons to my four years spent in the heart of barbecue land, North Carolina. Plus, there was a gherkin—a fancy pickle—on top, which promptly made its way in between the toasted brioche rolls. Again…“yum.”
I guess it was a lobster night for me, as I went with the lobster capellini as an entrée. Made with fresh Maine lobster, local corn, grilled artichokes, edamame, lobster bouillon and chives and soft bunches of capellini pasta, it was filling but not overly so. A point to note is that the edamame and corn are both crisp, not soft, giving the dish a nice texture.
I was going to reach over and try my dad’s mahi mahi, but it was gone before I could take my eyes off of the lobster. Probably not the worst thing, as I had to save room for dessert. I ended the meal with the SSC Doughnuts, a homemade delicacy served hot with crème anglaise and raspberry coulis. The GM revealed that people often call specifically asking for the doughnuts, which are served four at a time, and I greedily wrapped the half of one I had left for breakfast the next morning.
We made it in time for the early dinner prix-fixe menu, which is served from 5 p.m. until close on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and until 7:30 p.m. on Friday. For $35, patrons can enjoy a starter, entrée and dessert, and the a la carte menu is well represented.
Those Boston friends? They all promptly “liked” the Social Club on Facebook after visiting in May. SSC’s enticing social media updates mean that I’m always ready for them to show up unannounced any given Friday night. But until then, I could be content to just sit, sip and dine on my own.
Southampton Social Club, 256 Elm Street, Southampton. 631-287-1400, southamptonsocialclub.com