“Where should we go for brunch?” “What do you want to do for dinner?” “Where’s a nice place for lunch?”
Happily, on the East End of Long Island, you can never fall short of answers to these eternal questions. On the one hand, you’ve always got a nice assortment of old standbys that dish out your favorites just the way you remember them. On the other hand, tantalizing newcomers, promising exciting new approaches to local seafood, produce and the rest of summer’s bounty.
EMP Summer House has opened for a second season to once again fill the former Moby’s space on Pantigo Road with serious foodies. Though the indoor dining room will be slightly more formal than the covered patio and backyard, EMP Summer House offers a more casual dining experience than its mothership, Eleven Madison Park, while taking inspiration from the seaside, drawing on local ingredients such as the über-popular Amagansett Sea Salt. EMP Summer House will offer a seasonal a la carte menu featuring plenty of seafood including grilled fish and raw options, pastas, steaks and dishes cooked in their wood-burning oven including: Lobster tempura with Bibb lettuce, pickled radish and chile-lime aioli; Tomato salad with strawberries and almonds; Corn flatbread with parmesan and truffle; Ribeye for two, wood-fired with shallot, parmesan and potato.
Reservations for EMP Summer House will be made available exclusively to American Express Card Members at empsummerhouse.com. Starting on June 1, reservations will be available through July 31. Starting July 1, reservations will be available through September. American Express will be the only form of card payment accepted.
Speaking of Moby’s old space, let’s talk about Moby’s brand new space for the season. Launched in East Hampton in 2012, the beloved coastal Italian eatery is being revived by partners Lincoln Pilcher, a photographer, surfer and former model and restaurateur Nick Hatsatouris. The two have signed a two-year lease at East Hampton Point. So many fans are now looking forward to great food in this 400-seat restaurant with fantastic views.
Zum Schneider has closed in Montauk, and taking its place is Sel Rrose, the offshoot of a popular city eatery of the same name. At this pleasant spot just steps from Montauk Highway, where you once found quantities of bier and wurst, you’ll now find a broad selection of craft cocktails and a wide variety of oysters—that is, if the Montauk location follows the model of its Delancey Street progenitor. Right now they’re just ramping up. Also expect an enticing selection of small plates. And, yes, for you fellow art nerds, the name Sel Rrose is an homage to Marcel Duchamp’s famous female alter ego, Rrose Sélavy (“Eros, c’est la vie”). The double R is supposed to be rolled.
Opening up in the scenic Wainscott location previously occupied by Osteria Salina, Il Mulino New York—Hamptons is the easternmost outpost of the Il Mulino chain of restaurants. Known for its authentic renditions of Abbruzzese cuisine, Il Mulino New York aims for impeccable service and a fine dining experience. For the Hamptons location, Il Mulino is forecasting a more casual, summery atmosphere.
Meanwhile, over in Sag Harbor, they’re awaiting the return of Tutto il Giorno. Set to open this summer in the prime Main Street spot until recently occupied by Muse in the Harbor, “Tutto” was actually born in Sag Harbor before it expanded to Southampton and then Tribeca. Expect all of your Southern Italian favorites, but now in a spacious, central location with great windows ideal for—yes—people watching. Tutto will be operating daily aperitivo from 4–9 p.m. They will be offering shared plates, wine (red, white, rosé and Prosecco) and a specialty vodka cocktail. And don’t forget: Muse lives on in its Montauk location at 41 South Euclid Avenue.
Chef Noah Schwartz has been dazzling diners for years at Noah’s in Greenport, and, since January, Schwartz has been overseeing the kitchen at the Suffolk Theater in Riverhead. Now you can not only look forward to great entertainment in the restored movie palace, but you can also get your face set for some truly outstanding food: check out the spring vegetable risotto and the baja fish tacos.
And speaking of tacos, Chef Noah’s brother Justin Schwartz, who since 2015, has been behind the wheel of Noah’s on the Road, a popular food truck offering Noah’s-style food at area vineyards and breweries, has also settled into MattiTaco, a grab-and-go style taco restaurant in the former Crazy Fork space on the Main Road in—you guessed it—Mattituck. He promises an ever-changing selection of delicious tacos with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
The Preston House, helmed by Chef Matty Boudreau, boasts a menu inspired by New American cuisine with a focus fresh and local ingredients. The refined yet approachable menu is complemented by a wine program that celebrates the winegrowing regions of the world.
Look for prepared foods straight from Almond’s kitchen and Almond’s own product line at L & W Market. “Think of it as Almond’s kitchen being open all day minus the waiters,” says chef and co-owner Weiner. Feast your eyes on Almond signature items such as Caesar dressing, au poivre sauce and fermented chili powder as well as rotisserie chicken, marinated vegetables, lobster salad, pre-made sandwiches for the beach, soups, house-made charcuterie and fresh and marinated meats ready for grilling. Coffee and breakfast items will be available every morning; the market will be open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days. You’ll find many of the ingredients used at Almond straight from their local sources as well, including fresh vegetables and eggs from Amber Waves Farm, Marilee Foster’s farm, Pike Farms and Quail Hill Farm. Plus prepared goods from Carissa’s Breads, Mecox Bay Dairy cheeses and Almond chefs Jason Weiner and Jeremy Blutstein’s own line, Kimchi Jews, which features kimchi, hot sauces, pickles and more. Additionally, L & W will serve its own line of frozen pastas, pâtés and pastries. These veteran restaurateurs will offer an online app complete with pictures for quick and easy ordering and convenient pick-up…so you can now create a complete Almond meal at home. But maybe you LIKE their waiters…
Culinary personality and newly minted restaurateur Svitlana Flom has a distinct vision for Maison Vivienne, located at 136 Main Street in Southampton. She says, “I want Maison Vivienne to be known for its jovial atmosphere of ‘Provence meets the Hamptons’ and, of course, for our cuisine.” Flom adds that she’ll strive to create superb, beautifully plated dishes that utilize the bounty of Long Island ingredients. “We’d like to welcome our guests with tiny sweet radishes served with whipped butter and flaky sea salt and freshly baked breads.” Expect classics such as Italian panzanella salad reinvented with locally grown, grilled peach halves served with burrata, cherry tomatoes and tiny basil leaves; fragrant bouillabaisse with black sea bass and seafood; even the venerable Nicoise salad will have an elevated presentation featuring local, fresh tuna.
A Hampton Bays locals’ favorite, Orlando’s, was recently sold to three young East End entrepreneurs: Diego Bamberger, Robinson Velez and Fabiola Romero. The men have changed the name to Azao Café and, while they plan to leave most of the menu untouched, they will be adding some new specialty dishes, including Peruvian dishes such as lomo saltado, a sirloin stir-fry.
Beginning July 6, New York City’s acclaimed Japanese omakase and kaiseki restaurant, Shuko, will open a unique pop-up dining experience, Shuko Beach, at Highway Restaurant & Bar on Montauk Highway in East Hampton. The pop-up will operate Friday and Saturday evenings through July and, in August, will add Thursday night service. The restaurant will be helmed by two Masa alums, chefs Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau, offering a range of dining experiences—including Chef’s Counter, in which guests who reserve one of the three nightly seatings (6 p.m., 8 p.m., 10 p.m.) at the six-seat Chef’s Counter may enjoy Shuko’s Sushi Omakase menu ($150 per person) which consists of a Sunomono (vinegar-based) starter course and a 16-piece sushi progression featuring local fish from Long Island and beyond. Reservations will open in June.
The venerable Montauk Yacht Club Resort & Marina is now known as Gurney’s Montauk Yacht Club & Resort. What’s in store for the resort? Immediately, better food and beverage service led by LDV Hospitality. The property will operate this summer, then close during the winter for a $13 million upgrade to its 107 guestrooms, ballroom, meeting rooms, three restaurants and 35-acre marina and grounds for the 2019 season. Considering how gorgeous the revamped Gurney’s Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa looks now, we’ll be excited to see the new yacht club next year.