Hamptons Epicure: Good Foodie News You Can Use, Near and Far

A Dock to Dish fishburger
A Montauk fishburger. Photo credit: Courtesy Dock to Dish

Not all the hot East End dining news happens when the thermometer goes up! Now is a splendid time to get your indoor dining on. Maybe, if you have an outdoor room with a fireplace, grill and patio heaters, you’re out braving it, toasting our bounteous wine country. You’ll find me curled up with a menu at one of our fine restaurants. It’s always warm inside a roast.

I did, however, get motivated enough to head to New York recently to sit in a warm library-cum-bar to take in a performance of Drunk Shakespeare (drunkshakespeare.com). It’s a lot like it sounds. I prepared for the experience with a lunch of fine Lebanese fare by candlelight at L’Ybane Wine Bar & Restaurant, right near the performance space, on 8th Avenue.

Long Island foodies will be heading out in force for NYC Restaurant Week which runs January
18 –February 5 (nycgo.com), but excitement strikes closer to home with Hamptons Restaurant Week April 3–10 (hamptonsrestaurantweek.com). From Sunday to Sunday, all participating restaurants will offer a three-course prix fixe for $27.95 all night—with the exception of Saturday when it will be offered until 7 p.m.

In the meantime, many local restaurants are offering unique prix fixe experiences. One of my favorites is the Bridgehampton Inn—though it’s closed for a winter holiday right now, it will re-open February 5. (You have plenty of time to make that all-important Valentines Day reservation!)

Another standout is Sag Harbor’s Wölffer Kitchen. In addition to their prix fixe menu, they have started offering happy hour specials Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday. Enjoy complimentary bar snacks and drink specials from 5:30–7 p.m. And Chef Brian Cheewing is now serving brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m.–3 p.m.

Some of our other top restaurants offering “delixe prix fixe” include Le Charlot in Southampton (for dinner and lunch!), 75 Main in Southampton; Almond, Pierre’s and Bobby Van’s in Bridgehampton and Muse in the Harbor in Sag Harbor.

The annual Hamptons Restaurant Shuffle has begun! South Fork resident Ron Perelman is reportedly buying the building that most recently housed Richie Notar’s Harlow East (before that it was B. Smith’s) in Sag Harbor. The billionaire businessman, who opened East Hampton’s Blue Parrot margarita bar in 2009, plans to use part of the space for Le Bilboquet, an eastern outpost of his popular Manhattan restaurant, this season.

“Fishburger, fishburger give me your hand. Give me somethin’ that I can remember.” I just made up a song (with some help from Gil Shakespeare and John Carter). Local school kids will be singing a new tune beginning on January 22. That’s when students at Bridgehampton High School will sample New York State’s first sustainable fishburger for distribution in school lunch programs—The Montauk Fishburger Project!

Preparing fishburgers
Preparing fishburgers. Photo credit: Courtesy Dock to Dish

Last week an alliance of chefs from across the East End announced its initiative to reconnect local elementary and high school students to an increasingly abundant nutritional resource being responsibly harvested, under strict federal and state fisheries management regulations, from the waters off of eastern Long Island. The culinary leaders are all founding members of Dock to Dish, the first Restaurant Supported Fishery program in the country, and have now entered a first-of-its-kind partnership with The Long Island Commercial Fishing Association and the Bridgehampton Edible School Garden program, to make wild, sustainable, traceable local seafood accessible to area youth using their novel fishburger format—The Montauk Fishburger Project.

The prototype fishburger, which utilizes only local species of wild finfish that are rated sustainable by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA), was created by adapting a recipe from chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin. It will be served to students on buns made from organic flour derived from indigenous strains of wheat grown and harvested at Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett.  The fishburger will include kelp from the Long Island Sound, grown and harvested by ocean farmer Bren Smith in the Thimble Islands.     

Program founder Joseph Realmuto, chef and owner at The Honest Man Restaurant Group said in a statement: “We are in the middle of a movement to bring back our farming and fishing culture here on the East End.  Two things that have stood in the way of returning local seafood to our households and school system have been the amount of labor that goes into preparing fish dishes, along with a resistance from younger people to try foods that they are unfamiliar with. The Montauk Fishburger Project solves those problems.” Realmuto adds, “The Montauk Fishburger has been a very nice addition to our menu at Rowdy Hall, and created quite a bit of excitement with both our staff and our guests. The Fishburgers became an instant crowd favorite because they were so tasty, but being that they are also local and sustainable, we felt good about serving them knowing that they represent a broader picture of what we do here and what Rowdy Hall is
all about.”

All of our kids deserve bunches of good school lunches. Look for your own Montauk fishburger at area Dock to Dish participating restaurants (docktodish.com).


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