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. We’re striving 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 seasoned with coriander spice then lightly seared and served whole over green beans with quail eggs, olives and tiny purple potatoes.”
Maison Vivienne is set to open for Memorial Day weekend but you can sample some its delights prepared by chef Florian V. Hugo at Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche on Sunday, May 27 at the Southampton Arts Center and at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company on Saturday, July 21, at Fairview Farm in Bridgehampton.
What has surprised you about opening a restaurant in this area?
How warm and welcoming the town is and just hearing the overall excitement from friends and locals alike about a new, sophisticated gourmet restaurant and inn in Southampton.
What European-influenced details will be evident at Maison Vivienne?
Everything from the chairs to lots of lavender and boxwood planted in terra cotta pots and arborvitae trees—which resemble the European Cyprus—encircling the terrace, creating that intimate feel. Dining alfresco in the summertime is the best pastime of Europeans and we’re offering a wonderful terrace that will evoke travels to the Old World. Also, in the best tradition of the south of France, we’ll have a seafood and Champagne bar in one of the areas on the terrace.
What are some of your favorite herbs to grow?
Rosemary, thyme, dill, chives, parsley, sage, lemon verbena, basil and lavender, of course, which will be featured in our signature cocktail called Vivienne. All these herbs will infuse our food throughout the menu with fragrant herb oils and marinades.
How did you feel the first time you walked into the Maison Vivienne building?
Actually a bit sad, considering the condition of the restaurant part. My husband and I knew the building very well from our numerous visits to Nello Summertime, the eastern outpost of the famous Nello on Madison Avenue. Those were the glorious days when the beautiful people gathered there and Champagne and wine flowed in seemingly unstoppable streams. We immediately began renovating the restaurant and the lounge and will make it into a warm, bright, welcoming space where we can create a chic and convivial atmosphere. The place has an amazing potential, it’s in a great location, it has a huge terrace and ample parking. We strongly believe that we can develop Maison Vivienne into a culinary destination in the Hamptons. I fantasize about the fun-filled summer nights our clients will have on Maison Vivienne’s terrace, as well as cozy fall and winter evenings with two fireplaces working in the dining room and the first snow dusting the street outside. The fact that the building is a landmark dating back to the 17th century, with original wooden beams exposed throughout the dining room and the inn further enhances its appeal as a year-round destination.
Do you feel like the rest of the world is catching up with you in a way—now that everyone is excited about exploring food?
I don’t look at it that way. I’m amazed how the interest in food, and everything related, skyrocketed over the last few years. Moreover, I’m pleased that the interest is evident across the spectrum of demographics and cuisines. The glamor is no longer only the purview of the Michelin starred kitchens; everything, from a taco truck to molecular cuisine is in vogue and a whole lot of very creative people do very imaginative things with food. I think that that enriches our society!
Dan’s Rosé Soirée presented by Porsche is Sunday, May 27 at the Southampton Arts Center. GA tickets are $140. VIP tickets are $190 and include event entry from 5 to 8 p.m. PLUS access to the Rosé After Dark VIP After Party Presented by The Palm by Whispering Angel, from 8 to 10 p.m. For tickets and more information about all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTaste.com. Patrons must be 21 or older to attend.