The attractions of the Southampton Inn are many—comfortable accommodations, easy access to village shopping and attractions, ample parking, live music, Cooper’s Beach is nearby. But, as always, Husband and I were all in for the food. Chef James Carpenter has a reputation for using the bounty of the East End and rightly so.
We were knocked out by his local fish dishes and by the Satur Farms Little Gem Salad. But I’m getting ahead of myself—of course we started with drinks. Our first sampling of Jon Bon Jovi’s pale-hued Diving Into Hampton Water Rosé 2017 was encouraging. It has a good nose, is mild and balanced. Definitely a “session rosé,” just what summer in the Hamptons demands.
As the evening’s “designated drinker,” I also tried a Hamptons Lemonade, made with Stoli Blueberry Vodka with fresh blueberries and mixed with lemonade, over ice. It had a fun kick and the berries were muddled enough that they could pass through a straw—convenient. Notably, it’s not too sweet.
Next time (if we stay over) we’ll try their rendition of a Long Island Iced Tea with Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Patrón Tequila, Bacardi Rum, Triple Sec and Coke.
Of course we were delighted to see “LOCAL” right at the top of the wine list, with some fan favorites including Bedell Cellars, Channing Daughters Winery, Croteaux Vineyards, Paumanok Vineyards, Sherwood House Vineyards and Wölffer Estate Vineyard. The list is neatly divided into Reds, Whites, Rose, Bubbly.
The Claude’s menu has it all—a tempting roasted chicken, Berkshire pork chops, grilled Scottish salmon, sheep ricotta gnudi with lamb meatballs. We wanted to go with local options, so Husband started with some Peconic Pride Oysters from the North Fork, accompanied by a lively shallot mignonette. He concluded, “of course they’re good.”
Ah, my very East End salad. The Satur Farms Little Gem Salad contains fennel fronds, micro greens, slightly pickled cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, radishes, pea shoots, tiny beet greens and, of course, Little Gem lettuce leaves in a light shallot sherry vinaigrette. It says “fresh!”
The Skin-on Striped Bass Special “a-peeled” to Husband. It came with summer squash and eggplant in a tangy, buttery rich tomato sauce. Our server Dominique suggested pairing it with a glass of Mount Nelson Sauvignon Blanc. Husband declared the dish “fantastic!”
The sparklingly friendly Dominique is from South Africa, like most of the Southampton Inn’s staff this season.
I went for the Pan-Roasted Dayboat Halibut, which was cooked to perfection and served with a wild mushroom ragu, truffled potato purée and crispy leeks, all sprinkled with fresh parsley. I was diving into tender halibut and smooth potatoes with every bite.
Since Claude’s has herbal mint tea on the menu, I thought I’d try a dessert. I indulged in the Local Organic Carrot Cake, three layers of spicy cake with mascarpone frosting, pineapple and walnuts. Husband had a cup of decaf coffee and a Strawberry Sorbet Shortcake, which features the richness of vanilla crème fraîche and a hit of balsamic vinegar.
I definitely want to come back for a breakfast of avocado toast sometime, and for lunch, to try the hand-cut french fries…and for the Thursday night Cabaret at Claude’s series featuring pianist Konstantin Soukhovetski. Spokojnoj nochi.
Claude’s, 91 Hill Street, Southampton, 631-283-6500, southamptoninn.com.