My only regret about dining at Edgewater Restaurant a few weeks ago is that I made the reservation for after dark. Situated right on Shinnecock Bay in Hampton Bays, clearly sunset is the time to dine.
But it’s also obvious that this is not one of those places that relies on the view to propel diners through a meal.
Edgewater is an Italian restaurant that stays true to an important Italian tradition—there is an emphasis on the homemade. The inviting menu includes a wide variety of freshly prepared basic Italian staples and delicioso Mediterranean flavors.
Like any good Italian meal, this one started with a glass of wine. My mom and I chose a Chardonnay from Wölffer, noting that Edgewater has an ample wine list. Local specialties mix with Italian selections, California varieties and international options. My dad stayed true to a more American tradition and went with a local Fire Island beer.
Edgewater’s bar area is sequestered off from the chic dining room by a row of fish tanks, in a nod to the nearby bay.
The restaurant offers a wide array of soups, salads, pizza, focaccia, pasta and traditional Italian entrées. Our knowledgeable waitress answered all of our questions, persuading me to try the eggplant rollatini, which is a house specialty. To start, I opted for the butternut squash soup—another choice that met with approval—in an attempt to counter the cooler weather with something warm.
The soup was the perfect way to whet my palate. Not overly creamy, the chef allowed the natural flavors of the squash to come out. It’s topped with a dollop of mascarpone and crispy pancetta—a nice touch to this traditional seasonal staple.
My dad started with the fried ravioli, an appetizer he’s still raving about. What sets Edgewater apart from many Italian American restaurants is that everything is done well. Traditional specialties dominate, and the emphasis is on freshly-prepared dishes. Even fried items lack an overly greasy taste. To that note, I happily tried a few pieces of the ravioli.
My mom started with the roasted brussels sprouts, which are tossed with shallots, crispy fried prosciutto and grated parmesan cheese. She noted that roasting was a unique way to prepare the sprouts. It really brought out their flavor.
We leisurely enjoyed our apps—the staff was attentive, but not into rushing us, which is nice. But soon, it was onto the entrées.
The eggplant was delicious. It came out as two large eggplant rolls, each stuffed with ricotta and spinach and topped with ample marinara and mozzarella. The slices of eggplant were lightly pan-seared, giving the rollatini a solid base to hold the filling without being overly oily. The ricotta is freshly made, a touch you can definitely taste.
My only complaint was the side of pasta and marinara sauce. Compared to the flavors of the eggplant, it seemed overly heavy on the marinara.
My dad went with the braised beef short ribs, which are served with a crimini mushroom risotto and drizzled with a white truffle oil. He noted that they were incredibly tender, giving area barbecue and Italian joints a run for their money. My mom’s whole-wheat penne rapini satisfied her craving for “something with vegetables”—though the garlic seemed to dominate the dish—and the bite-sized chicken meatballs added just the right amount of protein.
I ended the meal with an Italian style cappuccino, which was served with a ladyfinger.
Growing up on the East End, I can remember dining at Edgewater as a kid, but have no good reason for why it took me so long to come back. The fact that it pleased the palate of 7-year-old me and 24-year-old me indicates that they do multiple things well—they have an expansive menu, and the simply prepared foods allow the true flavors to
Edgewater Restaurant, 295 E. Montauk Hwy,. Hampton Bays. 631-723-2323 www.edgewaterrestaurant.com