Water Mill Square has a new restaurant, PDR, which stands for private dining room. Megan Brown, a Culinary Institute of America graduate who trained for three years under Marcus Samuelsson at Red Rooster, then became sous chef at Narcissa and The Standard East Village, and went on to work with Michael Cimarusti at Best Girl in Los Angeles, has taken over the space that was Mirko’s for years.
She’s started with an outdoor lounge, kitchen, and bar, offering four salads, four small bites, and four larger items, such as carbonara-style house-made lumache with corn and pancetta; smoked duck wings with Scotch bonnet, citrus sauce, and stone fruit; and local fish and chips. “It’s comfort and soul food,’’ said Brown.
“I want to focus on a small menu to give a snapshot of my culinary lens. I’m getting people to try food now and adding daily specials like scallops and corn chowder, as a way to highlight the locality and to introduce folks to dishes beyond my bar food until I get the full restaurant open.’’ That will happen in early August when she expands to the 55-seat indoor space. “I have a deal with Green Thumb farm so I go over every morning and pick out things that move me, and then pull out my blackberry vinegar or pickled ramps.’’
Salvatore Biundo, who owns the popular Italian restaurant Centro in Hampton Bays, was driving by the Friendly’s in that hamlet last year, when he saw a man placing a “for sale’’ sign outside. He walked over to him, told him to take the sign down, and struck a deal on the spot for the space. Over the July 4 weekend, the location was reborn as Hamptons Standard.
“I loved the location and thought there was nowhere to go all year round that had good grab-and-go food as well as a full-service affordable restaurant with an accessible menu and lively bar,’’ explained Biundo.
At Hamptons Standard, a market upfront serves For Five coffee, breakfast items like oatmeal and blueberry pancakes, salads, sandwiches, and rotisserie chicken; and a 100-seat modern American restaurant offers a wide range of dishes including short rib flatbread, gnocchi, chicken pot pie, pork chop Milanese, local seasonal vegetables and fish, and steak from a wood-burning oven. “We have something for everyone, including milkshakes for the kids,’’ he promised.
Over at Centro, Biundo’s classic trattoria with generous portions of farm-to-table ingredients and homemade pastas, he has added a second bocce court and is holding matches every Wednesday.
The Shuko team is back at the Highway Restaurant this summer, co-opting the six-seat bar Thursdays through Sundays for omakase service, which can be had at tables as well. Unlike at the New York raw fish mecca, you can order sushi a la carte here as well, and there is a menu of hand rolls. “We are partnering with Caviar Russe to do caviar presentations and we are setting up take-out and hope to have deliveries going by August,’’ revealed Shuko co-owner Nick Kim.
The Garden at Water Mill has finally gotten its liquor license and decided to keep its regular menu, rather than bringing in previously scheduled visiting chefs. “It became too confusing for guests who didn’t want us to change,’’ said owner Joseph Miller. The dishes being turned out certainly are interesting; among them are grilled romaine with coconut yogurt, burnt olives, lemon, and cherry jus; octopus with yuzu kosho sauce, crispy chick pea, and sesame; and sea bass with lentils, white wine, mussels, and lavender. There are also more traditional lobster bakes and smokehouse dinners.