Hamptons Restaurant Review: Southampton Social Club

Hamptons Restaurant Review: Southampton Social Club

Sit back. Relax. It’s the off-season, but it’s not quite time to head into hibernation. Southampton Social Club is still serving its signature cocktails and, coming in October, a tapas menu to keep things classy through the fall.

The Social Club is unique to the East End scene in that it draws an eclectic crowd—from fine diners to those just out for a drink to nationally recognized celebs—due to its ability to transform from a peaceful dinner oasis to a trendy nightclub with top-notch DJs.

On a recent Saturday, my friends and I decided to indulge in an array of appetizers, alternatively pairing them with the Southampton Mojito—served regular style, as well as in mango and in coconut flavors—and the Social Cooler. Our favorite was the Cooler, a summery concoction fit for a fall night due to the spicy kick of the jalapeño-infused Don Julio tequila. The drink is made with a fresh watermelon purée, lime and is served on the rocks.

Our appetizers proved to be the perfect sampling, as Chef Scott Kampf revealed that the Social Club is now switching from full dinner service to tapas and dancing on Saturday night, filling a void in the trendy off-season scene. Beginning the first week of October, the Social Club will introduce Social Saturdays. The new tapas menu, featuring both light and more substantial items, will replace the full menu, which will still be available for private parties.

Our array of appetizers included the lobster tacos, Social spring roll, braised short rib sliders, jumbo lump crab cake and tequila lime grilled jumbo shrimp. Though not all of the apps we sampled will be on the tapas menu, we quickly came to the conclusion that anything Chef Kampf creates will tantalize the taste buds. And we got a feel for the scene that Social Saturdays will create, as the light dishes were the perfect way to fuel our subsequent dancing.

The tequila lime shrimp is served cold, perfect for an evening spent by the Social Club’s indoor fire. The tapas menu will have a decadent-sounding coconut shrimp with a sweet chili sauce. Also on offer will be braised short rib sliders. Hot and bite-sized, they came with just the right amount of barbecue sauce, more than passing muster from a group of girls who went to school in barbecue-loving North Carolina. The pickle added just the right amount of bite to the savory flavor.

Additionally, Social Saturdays will showcase the Alaskan lump crab cake, mini chicken quesadillas (served with peppers, onion, jalapeno, Monterey Jack cheese and cilantro), chicken lollipops (with a sweet soy sesame barbecue sauce), pizzetta (served with roasted Roma tomatoes, Burratta mozzarella and fresh basil), and edamame and chickpea hummus.

The lump crab cake was pan-seared, allowing the true flavors of the crab to come through, as this dish is only lightly touched. The Dijon aioli made for a nice kick, and the charred lemon added a freshly grilled flavor.

For an entrée, I enjoyed the charred vegetable Napoleon, made with almond pesto, fire roasted red peppers, summer squash, zucchini and portobello mushrooms, served on a bed of farro, a grain prepared soft and made flavorful with an heirloom tomato reduction.

I ended the dinner portion of my night with some dessert. As it was my birthday, I was surprised with a sparkler in my white chocolate mousse. The mousse was served in a chocolate bowl and topped with blueberries and strawberries. The creamy concoction was sweet but not overly so, and the now-chocolatey fruit quickly disappeared.

Chef Kampf brought out another dessert for the table—a “rice crispy treat” with a chocolate ganache. With just the right ratio of mallow-to-crispy, this version paired perfectly with the chocolate for an almost s’mores-like taste. The rice crispy treat will be a part of the tapas menu, as will the SSC donuts, served with a crème anglaise and a raspberry coulis.

After dinner, our table was cleared away to make room for dancing, a staple at the Social Club that did not disappear with the season.

Southampton Social Club, 256 Elm St, Southampton. southamptonsocialclub.com, 631-287-1400

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