It had been some time since I followed the serpentine gravel drive to Jedediah Hawkins Inn, this grand circa 1863 Victorian mansion in Jamesport. I considered getting a room for the night, so that my husband and I could thoroughly indulge, but he sagely pointed out that I had to be back in the Hamptons at 8 a.m. the next day. So I designated myself driver. Marriage—and negotiating the dining scene together—is all about compromise.
It was too late in the fall season to make use of the outdoor seating, but it was a great night to dine in fireside coziness. Relentlessly upbeat ’80s music poured forth from above. I thought that it might wear me out as Husband ordered a Speakeasy Manhattan, one of the Inn’s fall cocktails. Thankfully, it arrived very quickly—just as a woman at the table next to us entertained no one by singing along to the chorus of Dexys Midnight Runners’ mega-earworm. I sipped the Manhattan and found that it would indeed be quite illegal during Prohibition—boozy. As if someone above heard my silent plea, the music lowered and mellowed.
I perused the local beverages, which include select wines from Bedell Cellars, Jamesport Vineyards, Laurel Lake Vineyards, Macari Vineyards, McCall Wines, Palmer Vineyards, Paumanok Vineyards, Sparkling Pointe Vineyards and Winery, Wölffer Estate Vineyard and beer from Crooked Ladder Brewing Company and Great South Bay Brewery. And I stayed with drinking the Inn’s own triple-filtered water, which they credit to GNS Mermaid of Mattituck’s reverse osmosis system. (You might find me “sparkling,” but I always go for still.)
The current menu is both simple and flexible—its assortment of Small Plates and Large Plates invites diners to indulge.
Husband went right for the Charred Deep Water Spanish Octopus to start. As he said, “You can’t resist that, why even try?” It smelled wonderful and briny-good and was gone before you could say “cephalopod.” Just a scrum of Kalamata olives, preserved lemon and peppadew pepper remained.
I was tempted to start with the Butternut Squash Soup with Toasted Pumpkin Seeds or the American Burrata with Speck and Blistered Cherry Tomatoes—which was all the more tempting because it’s sprinkled with Amagansett Sea Salt—but I was quite pleased with my selection of the Autumnal Salad. The dressing makes the salad, and this balsamic was light and just the right touch on the baby lettuces, golden raisins, radish, toasted almonds, cherry tomatoes and goat cheese. This salad was very pretty in its presentation, even more so with a dusting of freshly ground black pepper.
Our server Tatiana suggested that we might like to try the Crispy Crescent Farm Duck Legs Confit. She was quite right. We’d had duck wings confit here in the past, but there’s “more to love” now—served with sriracha for a kick and Greek yogurt to coolly blend all together. Colorful microgreens and chopped chives accent this dish of deep umami magic.
Tatiana, and all of the staff we encountered that evening, upheld the Inn’s tradition of professional, congenial and soft-voiced service.
Husband had a bit of a wild look in his eye as he ordered the Wild Halibut with Baby Zucchini, Parsnip Purée and Porcini Mushrooms. I know that look. I said, “I want to try that parsnip purée.”
He said, “ I know, that’s what sold me on it.”
Tatiana suggested pairing this dish with a Macari Vineyards Chardonnay, which was nicely bright and not overly oaky, though it was served a bit colder than is optimal. It was a fine accompaniment to this entrée, and we both found the purée to be creamy and flavorful.
Right after “Mr. Dexys Midnight Runners” effectively told the room about his blood pressure and ankle, six out of the eight people at the table to the other side of us ordered Bourbon Ciders. I suspect that that too was a worthwhile “pairing.”
I indulged my latent vegetarian tendencies in the Garganelli, coated with finely ground carrot top pesto, mixed with roasted eggplant and zucchini and topped with ricotta salata.
We had to take a rain check on dessert—I didn’t even have room for an herbal mint tea!
Jedediah Hawkins Inn, 400 South Jamesport Avenue, Jamesport, 631-722-2900, jedediahhawkinsinn.com.
Follow Stacy’s opinionated and informed foodie adventures on twitter @hamptonsepicure.