Somehow I’d never darkened the door of Shippy’s Pumpernickels Restaurant East in Southampton before last week. I knew it was an East End institution. I knew that they specialized in German food. It’s right in the village, I could walk there from (and stagger back to) Dan’s Papers’ Southampton offices. As soon as I did step inside, I took in the dim atmosphere, the un-ironic “vintageness” of the place, the giant paintings of golf greens, the mustachioed bartender from central casting, Sinatra sang from above. I was home.
Our summer editor Emily Smith Gilbert had come along for the ride—in fact she graciously drove. She was also set for some German foods, which she tells about in her own words below.
Our server Chrissie. Friendliest, most helpful, most efficient server on the East End. Hands down. Brava.
Beer at lunch was a must. Chrissy suggested the light pilsner on draught, served in the midday-sized glass mug. Perfekt.
Chrissy suggested that we start with Shippy’s German onion rings which are made to order, very thin, kissed with flour. They are light and delicate. Emily commented, “I would put these on any sandwich.”
I started the serious eating with Split Pea with Ham Soup. All of Shippy’s soups are made in-house. So I assume that they’re all as good as this one, which was flavorful and rich, but not heavy.
We were tempted by the local seafood but I had to have a brat—the Grilled Bratwurst on a roll with sautéed onion, melted Swiss cheese (Swiss is close to German, it’s all good!), with pickle and radish. That hit the spot—with a touch of mustard. I took half of this sandwich back to the office for lunch the next day.
We didn’t save room for dessert so we split a slice of key lime cheese cake.
Here’s Emily’s take on her first lunch out while working at Dan’s Papers:
Whenever the waitstaff seats me in a booth, I immediately have affection for the restaurant. I know booths exist in other countries, but something about red vinyl seating is so quintessentially American.
We were off to a good start at Shippy’s, then, safely ensconced in our dining room of a booth that fit two quite comfortably. I asked for a glass of Schmitt Stone Riesling—not too sweet, in the best way—at a rock bottom price I have never before witnessed on a wine menu in the Hamptons.
I went all in and ordered Sauerbraten with Traditional Potatoes and Cabbage. The dish came with a green salad to start. I selected Balsamic Vinaigrette from the lineup of usual suspects.
Shippy’s onion rings—which are to regular onion rings what shoestring fries are to steak fries—were a perfect snack while Stacy and I waited for our starters. When my salad arrived I was delighted to find that it wasn’t over-dressed. It was a great way to trick myself into feeling like I’d eaten healthfully, even after all those fried onions.
Then: the Sauerbraten. Oh my. The generous portion of marinated pot roast was melt-in-your-mouth tender. Complementing it was a rich, tangy gravy that cut the heaviness of the meat. That, combined with the red cabbage, well on its way to becoming sauerkraut, elevated the dish from the usual beef-and-veg. The traditional dumpling-style potatoes were just the right texture for slicing into, spearing a bite with my fork and soaking up the gravy before popping it into my mouth. I made a valiant effort to clean my plate, but in the end had to take home leftovers—not that I’m complaining!
Shippy’s Pumpernickels Restaurant East, 36 Windmill Lane, Southampton. 631-283-0007 shippyspumpernickels.com