2016 Hamptons Restaurant Reviews Recap

Photo: Iakov Filimonov/123rf

Dan’s Papers checks out a lot of Hamptons and North Fork restaurants throughout the year. Here is a recap of every restaurant we reviewed 2016, from Hampton Bays to Montauk. Bon appetit!

Le Charlot, 36 Main Street, Southampton
“I started with what, despite the overall high quality of the meal, was a particular standout: the Belgian Endive & Pear Salad. A beautiful study in pale—walnuts, freshly ground black pepper and arugula set against the pears, endive and Roquefort. Of course its subtle flavors and crunch, against the bite of Roquefort, are what most endeared it to me.”

Kozu Hamptons, 136 Main Street, Southampton
“We had to try the Smoked Pork Belly Buns. The sweetness of the hoisin sauce is balanced by the pickled Daikon radish and ginger. Chopsticks in hand, we forged ahead to tackle the Spicy Tuna Crispy Rice served in rectangles with little pepper slices on top. So good—a delightful mix of textures and flavors. We also shared a dish of Vegetable Tempura, which was super-hot, light and crispy.”

Manna, 670 Montauk Highway, Water Mill
“There are just two words that you need to know when dining at authentic Italian restaurant Manna in Water Mill: delicioso and perfecto. Capice? Even the bottled water and the soft rock music is Italian! Half of the diners the night I visited were speaking Italian—a mucho bene sign!”

Union Cantina, 40 Bowden Square, Southampton
“Union Cantina’s signature cocktail, the Cinnamon Sol, struck me as an appropriate opening foray. Sol means sun or sunshine. A mellow yellow in color, my Sol of Don Julio Reposado Tequila, pineapple and fresh lime was strong in a good way—it took me back to holidays I barely remember. The finely ground cinnamon sprinkled on top of its foam and ice cubes was not out of place. I stirred it in for a nicely balanced beverage.”

Saaz Indian Cuisine, 1746 County Road 39, Southampton
“Saaz is the Hindi word for “symphony,” it’s like a pleased sigh and an ahh put together—the sound one makes at the conclusion of a glorious meal. It’s officially Happy Hour at Saaz in Southampton from 4 to 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. But I’m yet to spend an unhappy hour—or minute—in this hall of Indian gastronomy!”

Oreya Restaurant & Lounge, 281 County Road 39A, Southampton
“The Jasmine Rice Pudding tempted us both with its Sicilian pistachios and rose water, but we were so full that we were unable to sample the delights of pastry chef Mame Sow. But perusing the dessert menu solved a great mystery. It turns out that this is where the famous Cotton Candy from the Four Seasons restaurant has landed! Order a fabu blob, if you dare.”

Tweed’s Restaurant & Buffalo Bar, 17 East Main Street, Riverhead
“Tweed’s Restaurant & Buffalo Bar is a landmark in Riverhead, an establishment tailor made for lunch or dinner while one is out enjoying the many shopping venues the area has to offer. Located in a historic building downtown, The John J. Sullivan Hotel, Tweed’s takes you back to a classic dining experience without any pretension.”

Dockers Waterside (closed for the season)
“The whole experience of Dockers Waterside is refreshing. It’s only natural that it has become a popular institution. We visited on a busy Thursday night to enjoy the atmosphere of the setting, the food, the staff, the lively conversation and live music. What more could you ask for?”

Zum Schneider (closed for the season)
“The interior is decorated in warm wood tones with lots of German beer paraphernalia adorning the walls—also, a stuffed deer head that lends a certain “Old World” feel to the place, as does ‘Rosi,’ a ship’s figurehead (only in this case she’s clutching a ceiling-supporting column). Rafters are painted the white and blue of the Bavarian flag—much of the food is specific to the Bavarian state in the southeastern part of Germany—as is the back of the elevated stage, where live music happens on the weekends, including performances by the house oom-pah band Moesl Franzi and the JaJaJas.”

Westlake Fish House (closed for the season)
“Tucked away in the Westlake Marina is restaurant gem Westlake Fish House. Inside, the dining room walls are painted nautical white and blue. The tabletops are a beautifully distressed copper. The aesthetic is refined rustic—but not pretentious. Anything but that. In a way, the décor mimics the menu, which doesn’t mess with the star of the show: fresh seafood.”

Backyard Restaurant at Solé East (closed for the season)
“Cap your night with a frothy cappuccino and a sweet treat. The most popular item on the dessert menu is the flourless chocolate torte. Decadent and not too sugary, the torte has the right amount of bitter to truly make the flavor exceptional. Or go for the tiramisu. The top layer of mascarpone is the definition of silk. You’ve never tasted anything so velvety and creamy. It’s the perfect finish to a truly incredible meal.”

Southampton Social Club, 256 Elm Street, Southampton
“The food was delicious, and the presentation was well done. The best way to describe what this venue evoked is an understated energy and mature elegance with the dimmed lighting, white curtains, the beautifully adorned fireplace, exquisite chandeliers and candle-lit tables.”

Shippy’s Pumpernickels Restaurant East, 36 Windmill Lane, Southampton
“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.”

Mercado Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar, 1970 Montauk Highway, Water Mill
“I had time to plan my gustatory attack: fresh tortilla nachos with black beans, black olives, cheeses, sour cream, house-pickled jalapenõs, crema pico de gallo as an ample appetizer. Then, Chile Relleno de Picadillo—a lightly battered poblano pepper filled with Mexican picadillo of pork and beef, almonds and raisins.”

Swallow East, 474 West Lake Drive, Montauk
“In addition to being remarkably open and welcoming, Swallow East is a contender for hippest eatery in Montauk—authentic Montauk photos on the wall, a cute staff, PBR on the bar menu, loads of outdoor seating. And the swallow name and logo are based on the traditional nautical tattoo of a migrating bird.”

Orlando’s Café, 40 West Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays
“Orlando’s Café on Montauk Highway in Hampton Bays has been a popular breakfast spot for locals since it opened in 2004. Huevos rancheros is the hot ticket for the first meal of the day. It’s easy to see why—crispy corn tortillas smothered in eggs and black beans, with bits of sliced ham peaking through. Chef and co-owner Orlando Garbanzo bakes Brooklyn-style bagels every morning. They go fast. The atmosphere behind Orlando’s storefront windows is light-filled and relaxed. Many regulars kick back with the newspaper.”

Turkuaz Grill, 40 McDormett Avenue, Riverhead
“I got the falafel entrée. Very filling, very delicious. There is nothing that I don’t like here—perfectly shaped and deep-fried pillows of ground chickpea, hummus, tahini, bulgur wheat, pancar salatasi (yogurty beet salad), a savory bit of onion salad and a tossed salad all on one big plate!”

Almond Bar & Restaurant, 1 Ocean Road, Bridgehampton
“I was long overdue to try the much-touted Montauk Fishburger. It seemed as though our table’s candle flickered along to the beat of the groovy music playing from overhead as I chomped down. Served on a locally sourced bun with sliced tomato and raw Spanish onion, this burger of local skate and yellow fin tuna and Thimble Islands kelp hits all the marks.”

Muse at the End, 41 South Euclid Avenue, Montauk
“I started with a Muse Rum Punch of Montauk Rumrunners Coconut Rum, Sag Harbor Rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, maraschino cherries, and orange, lemon and lime slices. Just as our effervescent server Bianca promised, this drink took me right back to summer.”

Pierre’s, 2468 Main Street, Bridgehampton
“How romantic is Pierre’s in Bridgehampton? It’s French, it’s housed in an old, white building, its staff members are handsome, the fine wine flows from the cellar of over 5,000 bottles and there are colorful loafers for sale in the dining room window. This last item might not be particularly romantic—but it’s interesting.”

Muse in the Harbor, 16 Main Street, Sag Harbor
“Muse had me at vanilla rice pudding, the homey standby that anchors the trifle. The layers of strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream were the proverbial icing on the cake of this almost rustically simple delight.”

That Meetball Place, 54 West Main Street, Patchogue
“In addition to the meatballs, That Meetball Place offers salads, sandwiches, pastas, artisan fries and weekly specials, including a delectable-sounding pumpkin bisque that perfectly fit the cozy vibes created inside. But, as we were at a meatball place, we went with, appropriately, some ’balls.”

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