Ah, Race Lane. A reliably good and welcoming restaurant in East Hampton. How is it that I’ve stayed away for so long? I haven’t eaten here since Executive Chef Nimesh Maharjan took over. Will his cooking be as good as the food memories I associate with Race Lane? Short answer: “Oh, yeah.”
The longer answer started with a Race Lane Punch, which is a house mocktail, for me. It was pretty pink in a tall glass with a slice of Granny Smith apple on top and nicely sweet. Though I was tempted to indulge in a Moonshine Mojito of Dutch’s sugar wash moonshine, muddled lime and mint and simple syrup. Ah, moonshine…
My husband and I were off to a movie after dinner so I was steering clear of Race Lane’s extensive wine list and bar offerings. Local beverages include Wölffer and Channing Daughters wines by the glass and Montauk Brewing Company’s Driftwood Ale. Husband ordered a martini made with Hendrick’s gin to start. He found it “ice cold,” and was clearly pleased.
Of course I ordered the Pumpkin Coconut Bisque. With its touches of toasted hazelnuts, fried parsley and smooth coconut foam, it was an excellent savory, textural mix.
Onto an amazing octopus dish with tomato confit, Kalamata olives, parsley and pickled red chili. It’s easy to see why this is one of Race Lane’s top sellers. Cut into delicate rounds, it was the best octopus I’ve ever eaten. Tender and featuring a lusciousness comparable to puttanesca. Husband went with the Wölffer white blend to compliment this dish.
The last time I reviewed Race Lane; a reader emailed me “before” and “after” photos of his favorite dish there—steak. He recommended it highly—so I ordered the steak special this time. Perfectly medium rare, this is steak exactly as it should be, with a fine montepulciano sauce and a tasty topping of Good Water Farms microgreens. Husband was more than happy to “help” with this cut.
Husband indulged in some House Rolled Gnocchi with lobster, morels, peas and tarragon—served HOT. So soft and subtly delish! He exclaimed upon his first bite, “Oh! Oh, it’s good! Wow.”
He was tempted by the Braised Short Ribs but moved onto Sea Scallops with parsnip purée, chanterelle mushrooms and tomato served in an inventive manner over hearts of palm pylons. The scallops were “like butta,” he said. The purée was pure parsnip flavor, a lively taste of the fall season. (You know that I snagged a bite.)
Husband considered indulging in some New York State whiskey or a bit of Chartreuse but instead enjoyed a goblet of the sweet Wölffer Estate Diosa to close this magnificent meal—while I indulged in a very tasty Pistachio Semifreddo with whipped cream, hazelnut crumbs and berries…
At $33, I might well return soon for Race Lane’s three-course prix fixe. While we were there, the crowd was all-ages, couples and families. It’s a family sort of restaurant—in great Hamptons style. Overseen by the friendly and efficient Rowaida and Jay Plumeri, it’s a great place to de-stress.
Race Lane, 31 Race Lane, East Hampton, 631-324-5022, racelanerestaurant.com