On your way from Southampton to Water Mill, you’ll see a simple white sign on your left that reads “Calissa,” which roughly translates to: One of the most decadent, authentic Greek cuisine experiences in the Hamptons (paraphrased, of course). And with the new year, comes an all-new Sunday Winter Brunch menu that adds even more variety to an already diverse list of offerings.
Upon being seated in the Mykonos-inspired dining room with a window into the kitchen for you to watch the masters at work, you’ll be presented with your option of Bottomless Bubbles. For up to three hours, you’ll be treated to unlimited Veuve Clicquot Champagne or Prosecco by the glass or mixed in a classic cocktail—options including mimosa, Bellini, St. Germain Spritz and Aperol Spritz. The Veuve Clicquot mimosa really should be the new standard for brunch mimosas everywhere, with its perfect balance of pulpy freshness and bright bubbliness. The restaurant’s award-winning wine and spirits list is on offer, as well.
As you sip your bubbly, you’ll want to further indulge yourself with one or all of Calissa’s six Mezze items. As with everything on the menu, the freshness of the Tzatziki is palatable, tasting as if the bits of cucumber came straight from the garden onto your plate. Don’t be fooled by the guacamole appearance of the Avocado Tzatziki, as the garlic and dill notes in this spread elevate the fruit to a range of flavors previously unheard of. As the only spicy option on the Mezze list, the pepper-infused Kafteri provides some much-appreciated heat, while the lemony Taramasalata offers a welcome burst of citrus. And you can’t go wrong with the Santorinian hummus or olives either, so you’re best off ordering the Grand Pikilia Platter, which includes all six and plenty of pita bread.
The most addictive item on the appetizers list is undoubtedly the Crispy Zucchini Chips, which far surpass tortilla chips and the like due to their versatility—the option to top each chip with Tzatziki, squirt it with lemon or eat it in its natural glory adds a layer of flavor customizability that ensures your taste buds remain fully engaged with each bite as you quickly clear the plate. Appetizers also include the classic Tomato Greek Salad, Mykonian Rocket Salad with apple and pomegranate, Cos Salad with scallion and lemon, Avgolemono Soup, Saganaki Cheese and Crispy Calamari. To each, you can add grilled chicken, rosemary pork, grilled salmon or steak—quadrupling the number of combinations to try.
After the apps, comes the main attraction—the brunch entrées—and each one delivers in a big way. The Horta Benedict is the brunch classic at its finest, with hollandaise sauce and a runny egg over steamed spinach, sautéed and seasoned to perfection, and a toasty English muffin. The Lobster Benedict takes this flawless concept and swaps in a little something for the many seafood lovers on the East End. Like the zucchini chips, the Thick Sliced French Toast, made with halal bread, offers plenty of flavor combinations to try, with warm syrup and walnut butter on the side and a dollop of whipped Greek yogurt on top. The Egg and Sausage Gyro is a brilliant brunchy take on a traditional gyro with loukaniko, tomato, avocado tzatziki, dill and scallions lovingly placed inside a large pita wrap. Finally, the Shakshuka is an oven-prepared dish reminiscent of eggs sitting atop a bed of the finest salsa, when in actuality, this Greek masterpiece in a skillet consists of tomato, peppers, onion, cumin, paprika and feta cheese.
The lunch entrees on offer include delectable dishes such as the Homeade Savory Pie Platter of Spanakopita (spinach) or Kolokythopita (butternut squash), a Souvlaki Platter of grilled chicken or garlic-rosemary pork, Lobster Pasta, Strip Steak, Grilled Branzino, Lamb Saganaki Burger with mint Tzatziki and a Salmon Lentil Salad with shaved Brussels sprouts, grapes, manouri and pepita. Your side options include sautéed Horta greens, Briam (Greek ratatouille), fingerling potatoes and Greek fries.
While dining at Calissa for brunch, it’s clear that freshness and variety were key when chefs Bob Abrams, Carlos Cortes and Andres Ruilova concocted this delightful menu. The number of spreads and sides to try, cocktails to sip and pairing options to experiment with is staggering and well worth several return trips to taste every combination of Greek flavors.
Calissa’s Sunday Winter Brunch is available on Sundays from 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Visit calissahamptons.com to place your reservation.