When it’s cold outside, nothing beats being inside near a roaring fireplace. Well, actually, being near that fire with a hot toddy and a gourmet meal is even better.
So many of our fondest memories are linked to the fire—roasting s’mores over a campfire, pulling lobster out from a steaming treasure pit on the beach. Do you sense a theme? As enjoyable as it is to be in the great outdoors cooking, why not kick back and let someone else do the delicious work?
The East End has many great restaurants that are open year-round. Some of the best offer their fine fare fireside, to warm you inside and out. Here are just a few of those delightful establishments:
Race Lane in East Hampton is a big place, as East End eateries go. Its fireplace is sizeable and there is ample fireside seating. The red-and-black -brick surround has a ski lodge vibe. But it’s not just the fireplace that makes it easy to imagine you’re dining in a hip getaway in the Alps: the atmosphere is warm and inviting too. Be sure to try their steak—both the New York Prime with its caramelized cippolini onions, burgundy reduction and truffle butter, as well as the Filet Mignon with montepulciano sauce, whipped potatoes, pearl onions and beech mushrooms are legend. The wine list is also a thing of beauty—ecelctic and extensive.
Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport is housed in a Victorian- era landmark, the Italianate-style home that Captain Jedediah Hawkins himself built in 1863. Complete with its ornate architectural features and a belvedere, of course there’s a fireplace. In the warmer weather it’s a great pleasure to stroll through the 22 acres of grounds that surround the Inn. Right now it’s time to pull up a chair next to the fire and order a glass of North Fork wine.
The scene at the award-winning Plaza Café in Southampton almost feels like an extension of its fireplace. It’s a big, square room painted a pale gold. The atmosphere is warm and genteel. Seafood is the main event here. Join the Hamptons cognesenti at round, tastefully appointed tables and indulge. Raise a glass to the Hamptons in winter.
The fireplace at Montauk’s Westlake Fish House offers water views to each side. You can pretend that you’re shipwrecked with nothing but great sushi, cooked food and drinks, a warm atmosphere and friendly service to get you through. But it’s better to stay in the moment and focus on enjoying every morsel of the food. Chef Larry Kolar was just named Dan’s Best of the Best’s South Fork Platinum Chef 2014. Should you feel the need for a spot of exercise, it’s only a short walk to the reclaimed wood bar.
The fireplace in Townline BBQ’s bar in Sagaponack features a fake fire below a real boar’s head. The business side of smoking all that juicy meat takes place behind the scenes in their mobile smoker, which they acquired over the summer. This is a casual place, plaid shirts and flannel are welcome—but watch out on Thursday nights, as you could be drafted onto a team in their popular trivia league, where the competition really heats up.
The Cooperage Inn in Baiting Hollow has a lot to offer. First and foremost it’s right on “the wine trail,” Sound Avenue, so that diners might enjoy its food and ambience both “coming” and “going.” Grab a seat near the stone fireplace and order up a selection of their wine country cooking. Suffer no guilt: most of the dishes can be prepared low-fat and low-salt. But do be sure to save room for dessert!