Restaurant Review: Race Lane

Here’s a tasty piece of advice: RACE to Race Lane!

Last week I went to Race Lane in East Hampton for dinner with a colleague who was just back from Italy.

I went there for drinks a while back and quite enjoyed the atmosphere. Race Lane is big, open and welcoming. My RL Bloody Mary was very peppery, in a good way, tasty.

Ah, but dinner, that’s REALLY something to write home about.

Executive Chef Dana Lamel is new to the area, passionate and excited.

Diners should be very excited about this chef’s work—he’s one to watch. [expand]

I’m glad I’ll have another chance to chat with him at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks on July 16. Lamel is very open about sharing his recipes and methods. Of course using the very best ingredients is key.

I was feeling fruity and so started with a glass of Valckenberg’s 2009 Madonna Reisling.

This is just a brief listing of what we ENJOYED foodwise….

The BEER BRAISED SHORTRIB with poached egg and shoestring potatoes were meltingly delish. The JUMBO LUMP CRAB CAKE with frisée, basil crème fraîche and chili oil was pure crab, with just a touch of Panko crumbs on the outside for crispness.

A tender and flavorful ROASTED FREE RANGE HALF CHICKEN with a deliciously cheesy farro risotto and cipollini agrodolce. My colleague wisely took most of it home.

The PORK CHOP is double cut! With fingerling potatoes, bravas aîoli and blueberry mustardo, it is so moist and tender. My first move was to “undouble cut” it. That was only a start. It is, as Chef calls it, “a killer pork chop.”

The TUNA TABBOULEH is yellow fin with the additional texture of cracked wheat, with harissa vinaigrette and mint yogurt is one of Lamel’s signature dishes. It contains an interesting and satisfying mélange of textures and flavors.

The LOBSTER & SHRIMP CEVICHE poached, served in RL Bloody Mary roux and served over avocado purée is a perfect pairing.

Chef just got in some LOCAL STRIPED BASS so we sampled a filet, cooked to perfection.

We had to try the feature of the week—Crescent Farms DUCK LEG CONFIT under fois gras and a rainbow of micro green—it was out of this world.

CHOCOLATE/CHOCOLATE CHIP BREAD PUDDING served with ice cream and whipped cream—a big chuck of chocolate bread pudding perfection.

The Race Lane wine list is extensive but well-chosen thanks to co-owner and wine expert Jay Plumeri. And there are serious bargains to be had by the bottle—like the 2008 Chardonnay from Trinitas Cellars for $35. Plumeri believes in making great wine available at every price level. In addition to European wines and local wines from Raphael, this list is rich with Australian and New Zealand wines in honor of Plumeri’s beautiful wife Rowaida. She’s from Down Under, but quite likes NZ wines too—but not for the next four months—the Plumeris have a baby on the way. Congratulations are in order all around at Race Lane!

Next time I visit Race Lane, I plan to try the RACE LANE CHEESE PLATEChef‘s selection of cheeses with roasted grapes, honeycomb and homemade crostini!

I trust this chef completely—bring it on!

Race Lane Restaurant, 31 Race Lane, East Hampton, 631-324-5022.

Chef Dana Lamel invites local farmers and fishermen to contact him—or just stop by and knock on the back door. He’d like to source all that he can locally.

Experience all the best food and wine the East End has to offer—including Race Lane’s Tuna Tabbouleh—at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, the summer’s premiere food event, in Bridgehampton, New York on July 16—hosted by Marcus Samuelsson.

Go to for tickets and a complete list of participants.


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