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Where To Dine

To us dining is a total experience; food, ambiance and service. Miss one and it just isn’t that special. Have them all and it will be a night you’ll remember for some time. Good food is a given in our recommendations, but alone it is just not enough. Our recommendations include all three elements and hope your experience is as good as ours.

North Fork Table & Inn  |  1770 House
Nick & Toni's  |  East Hampton Grill
American Hotel  |  Pierre's

North Fork Table & Inn
57225 Main Road, Southold
SPECIAL OCCASION

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The summer of 2006 may well become known as the beginning of the food revolution on the North Fork. That's when the North Fork Table opened and if it is the precursor of what is to come, the area will be a food mecca in no time. How can you go wrong, with a restaurant pedigree of its owners that includes Aureole, River Cafe, Gramercy Tavern and Hearth? In a business with a high failure rate, the odds are stacked for these folks.

The first thing you notice upon arrival is the buzz. People are happy to be here...this is the place to be on a Saturday night., even on the night we were there in the pouring rain. The second thing you notice is the soft elegance of the decor, a bit of a Gramercy Tavern feel, which is understandable. Pale blue walls, white wainscoting, thin plank pine floors, beamed ceilings, Andrew Wyeth like artwork, a black slate bar and an antique white armoire. Tables are dressed with crisp linens and comfortably spaced. There are a number of intimate nooks like table #31 for two or a table for six toward the back of the bar room.

Chef Gerry Hayden makes use of local resources for a menu with a French flair. He likes to subtly blend flavors by braising and roasting. As evidence, a wonderful braised pancetta crusted rabbit loin and a grilled aged sirloin with a red wine braised short rib on the menu and enjoyed the night we visited. Delicious ragouts and caramelized vegetables complemented these terrific entrees.

Desserts from Claudia Fleming, formally the pastry chef at Gramercy are amazing marriages of scents and tastes,  warm sugar and spice donuts with hot buttered rum and an upside down caramelized apple tart with cider sorbet and creme fraische to name just two.

The wine list starts with about 15 wines by the glass, each with compelling tasting notes. They are available in a 3oz. taster or a 6oz. glass. While you are seeing this more often today, it is still somewhat unique and a wonderful way to try a number of wines.

The list itself is not particularly long, nearly 30 reds and 30 whites with an additional 13 high end reds and 3 high end whites. About a third are from local Long Island wineries. What is unique are selections from Morocco, Argentinia and Greece on the red side and Switzerland and Hungary on the white. Paired with California, France, Germany and Chile, this makes for a most eclectic and very interesting list. Best of all the prices are incredibly reasonable. Half of the reds are $50 and under and all but 6 whites are under $50, many in the $30's. Bravo for not getting caught up in the wine gouging frenzy.

Dinner for two with wine, @$200.



ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: It can get a little noisy when full (which is usually) but pick a table like #31 and you'll feel like it's just the two of you.



WHAT OTHERS SAY....
"Always a pleasure”, this Southold “gem” of chefs Gerry Hayden and Claudia Fleming is “everything an East End restaurant should be”, rated Long Island's No.1 for Food and Service while offering “the freshest locally sourced ingredients” “from farm to sea” transformed into “awesome, savory” New American prix fixe menus with desserts that double as “works of art”, all accompanied by a “superlative” staff; the “simple but elegant” setting lends added appeal, completing an experience devotees declare "the best around" and “well worth the price”; P.S. the adjacent Lunch Truck is “the bomb.” " ZAGAT



You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information.

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1770 House
Main Street, East Hampton
SPECIAL OCCASION

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Without a doubt 1770 is one of the most romantic restaurants in the Hamptons. The small elegant and intimate dining room has beamed ceilings and fans and thick crown moldings above walls half painted beige and half covered with a subtle grass cloth. Wall sconces and antiques clocks adorn the walls and the dark hardwood floors are covered with Oriental rugs. Antique dining tables are surrounded by brown wicker chairs with comfortable cushions. When the fire is going, there is no more romantic room around. The menu is limited in number of choices, but long on innovation and flavor with a decided Asian twist, like a lobster and green papaya salad with peanuts, cilantro, Thai chilis and a Nam Pla (Thai fish sauce) and lime dressing. All kinds of flavors going on here. A roasted tenderloin of pork with bacon, chestnuts and a loganberry sauce is delicious and there’s a very tasty hanger steak (made famous at Les Halles in NYC) with a red wine shallot sauce, french fries and a truffled creamed spinach.

Not much of a dessert eater, I usually like the cheese course (of which 1770 has an excellent one), but the caramelized banana tart with chocolate ice cream is becoming the stuff of legends. Most people bring it up when you ask about the restaurant.

The wine list is excellent with California, Long Island, France, Italy and Australia represented. They also break down the categories by flavor…fresh and fruity, light and dry, medium body and so forth, a practice which I like very much. Prices range from very reasonable to very expensive, but there are plenty of selections under $50.

Tables #5 and #6 are the most intimate at the front of the room, overlooking the tree lined street and near the fireplace.

Appetizers range from $13-$25, entrees from $22-$35. There is also a $29 and $59 prix fixe choice. All credit cards accepted. Dress is upscale casual.



ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: High



WHAT OTHERS SAY...
"Charming, elegant” environs whisk diners away to “an earlier time” at this East Hampton “standout” – an “intimate” inn set in a 1663 home – dishing out “fabulous” American fare with a local leaning; the “very special” surrounds and “gracious” service fetch “expensive” tabs, but a “cozy”, fireplace-warmed tavern downstairs offers a more “casual” “escape from the typical buzz. ” ZAGAT



You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information. 

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Nick & Toni's
North Main Street, East Hampton
EXCELLENT

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I like anything roasted or grilled over a wood fire and Patrick Fromm at Nick & Toni’s has taken that kind of cooking to a new level. Despite its reputation as a celebrity favorite, there is no pretension here….this restaurant is really about the food.

The dĂ©cor is crisp and clean….white walls and tablecloths, oak and cane chairs. Color is introduced in the artwork and the flowers. The burning wood oven aroma is intoxicating and a portent of wonderful flavors to come.

On my last visit I started with Hudson Valley fois gras, roasted lady apples, fois gras mousse and toasted brioche. The roasted apples were a perfect compliment to the fois gras. As an entrée, I had an incredibly tasty wood roasted free range chicken with roasted potatoes, pancetta, garlic and rosemary. Paired with a crisp Italian white, this was a wonderfully satisfying meal.

There are three comfortable rooms in which to dine, the bar area which centers the restaurant and two side rooms. There is also a delightful patio available in the good weather. Table #10 in the bay window, table #29 in the bar area and table #6 are the most romantic in my view.

Appetizers range from $11-$18, entrees from $25-$34. Their legendary pizzas, cooked over wood, sadly are only available Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, but if you are in the neighborhood, well worth stopping in.

There are about a dozen wines by the glass ranging from $8-$13 and about 10 1/2 bottles from $15-$64. The wine list is excellent with choices from all over the world and very reasonably priced from$28-$1,400.

Dress is upscale casual and all credit cards are accepted.
Keep your eyes peeled because you are very likely to see someone famous…but remember to act nonchalant…that’s the Hamptons way.



ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: Medium



WHAT OTHERS SAY...
“A “popular” landing pad for celebrities and the “see-and-be-seen” crowd, this “trendy”, farmhouse-style East Hampton icon turns out “brilliant” Italian-Med fare that’s the “real star”, featuring “local produce” and “top-notch” dishes from a wood-burning oven, plus an “exceptional” wine list; “gracious” staffers are poised to deliver dishes priced for the “rich and famous”, provided you “get past the reservation desk.” ZAGAT



You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information. 

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East Hampton Grill
99 North Main Street, East Hampton
EXCELLENT

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We were big fans of Della Famina and were sorry to see it go, but the East Hampton Grill, opened in 2011, is a wonderful addition to the dining scene in the Hamptons. Part of the Hillstone Restaurant Group, the restaurant joins the Rutherford Grill in Napa and the Palm Beach grill in Florida among others. We loved the Rutherford Grill during our visit last year and were so impressed with the East Hampton Grill we ate there twice during one weekend.

The formula is so simple you wonder why others don't get it; warm and cozy decor, great staff and wonderful food. The bright, white decor of Della Famina has given way to a darker, more intimate patina with dark woods, striking artwork and fresh flower displays. The open floor
plan is now smaller, more intimate dining nooks. The lively bar area remains mostly the same.

The menu is not particularly elaborate, but what is there is done exceptionally well. This is good old American comfort food at its best. Start with an order of Heavenly Biscuits with rosemary, butter and honey. Try also the deviled eggs, I had them twice! The pan fried true Dover Sole was lightly breaded, perfectly cooked and fresh out of the water. BBQ ribs fell off the bone and were served with hand-cut french fries and a fantastic coleslaw. Jumbo lump crab cakes were pan fried blue crab with Pommery mustard, french fries and that wonderful coleslaw. Can't wait to try their prime rib and rotisserie chicken.

Good wine list with some excellent choices, albeit a bit pricey, but hey this is East Hampton.

ROMANTIC QUOTIENT
: Medium

WHAT OTHERS SAY….
"A HOT new spot, the East Hampton Grill, which opened in May, is lighting up the summer on the East End. It’s a scene, but with good reason — the food is terrific.

Owned by the Hillstone Restaurant Group, which also runs the Palm Beach Grill in Florida, the East Hampton Grill has taken over the space that was home to the restaurant Della Femina for nearly 20 years. It breaks the light, airy Hamptons mold with an enticing dark, woody look, reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts style."

There is a stunning floral bouquet at the dining room entrance. Walls are wood-paneled; a room divider with shelves holding books, baskets and pottery breaks up the space. New York Times.

There’s “something for everyone” at this “happening” East Hampton American from the group behind Houston’s, specializing in “upscale” “comfort food” heaped in “large portions”; dark lighting and wood-accented decor are “warm” to some, “un-Hamptons” to others, while a few take issue with “expensive” tabs and service that can be in a “rush.” ZAGAT

You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information.
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American Hotel
Main Street, Sag Harbor
EXCELLENT

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The mood at The American Hotel is set with crisp linens, sparkling silver and crystal, soft candlelight and fresh flowers in four elegant rooms decorated in Empire and Victorian antiques and furnishings.

What’s nice about this place is when you eat alone here, it has the feel of an old men’s club, comfortable and cozy. Sit at the bar and drink in the local color. If it’s a romantic dinner you are seeking, an intimate table beside the fireplace in the bar or a table in the adjacent Atrium will do the trick. You might even sit next to Billy Joel or Uma Thurman.

My quest for the perfect veal chop ended at the American Hotel. Well, I didn’t really know I was on a quest until I had this perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked delight. It was called a “special” and special it was. I started with a salad of endive and watercress with toasted chevre, aged balsamic and grape tomatoes and enjoyed a very good local Long Island merlot from Bedell.

But, the rest of the menu is equally as good. Fresh seafood appetizers, including shrimp, oysters and chilled lobster, various kinds of cavier, tuna tartare, oak smoked Irish salmon and a galantine of pheasant highlight an extensive first course menu.

For entrees try the curry, coriander and mint-flavored blue claw crab cakes with a warm salad of star anise and carrots and chive beurre blanc or the sesame-crusted sushi-grade tuna in lemongrass-scented vegetable broth. For something a little hardier, I would suggest the local Peking duck with seasonal cherries and wild rice or the free-range breast of chicken paillard grilled in cream and morels, or any of the steak entrees.

The wine list is superb, earning the Hotel the coveted, “Grand Award” from the Wine Spectator, an award that has been bestowed on the restaurant for 20 years in a row. The cellar offers 1700 selections and has over 30,000 bottles. The list is some 85 pages long and is very fairly priced with many bottles under $40.

Appetizers range from $8-$100 (an extravagant seafood sampler for two), entrees from $22-$45. All credit cards accepted. Dress is smart casual.


ROMANTIC QUOTIENT: High


WHAT OTHERS SAY
“The grande dame of the Hamptons”, this “legendary” Sag Harbor stalwart in a circa-1846 building offers an “experience to savor”, from the “first-class” American-French cuisine and “superb wine list” to servers that “make you feel special”; summer meals on the “beautiful porch” are favored by the celeb-spotting set, otherwise there’s a “lovely garden room” and “bustling” bar – just remember to “bring your checkbook.” ZAGAT



You can make dining reservations by going to our Weekend Planner for contact information. 

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Pierre's
2468 Main Street
Bridgehampton
EXCELLENT

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Like Balthazar in NYC, Pierre's in Bridgehampton is my favorite all-round restaurant in the Hamptons. You can eat every meal there and the food and atmosphere are wonderful. Pierre's is like having St. Tropez, St. Barts and the Hamptons all in one restaurant,

A mahogany bar festooned with fresh flowers lines the left side of the room as you enter. The rooms are all decorated in white with burgundy accents (booths and curtains) and colorful artwork. Diners can enjoy a fireplace in the back room or outside dining in warmer weather.

Pierre's Gourmet Market opens at 7am and is stocked with delightful pastries, tarts, croissants, quiches, sandwiches and more.

Breakfast brings fresh organic smoothies and juices, pastries and croissants from the market, omelets with goat cheeses, and herbs and vegetables, French toast and wonderful special items like Oeufs en Meurette; Poached eggs with caramelized onions, bacon, mushroom, veal stock Served with toasted brioche.

For lunch/brunch add burgers, salads, oysters, lobster, sandwiches like the Croque Monsieur, Tarte flambée Alsacienne aux lardons et oignons; thin crust topped with fromage blanc, onions, and bacon and more.

The dinner menu features a wonderful variety of beef, chicken, shellfish, fish and more. Some highlights; 2 lb Maine lobster fricassée, flambé with Cognac and tarragon. Served with French fries, Grilled tuna steak with an olive oil and lemon juice dressing. Tabouleh salad & shoe string potatoes, Roasted ORGANIC free-range chicken, with ratatouille and potato purée, Aussie Free-Range Natural rack of lamb prepared with mustard and "herbes de Provence" Served with French string beans and gratin Dauphinois and Grilled Pasture raised hanger steak with Béarnaise sauce, watercress and French fries.

The wine list is a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence winner and though heavily French has representatives from the major wine regions of the world. There are some great choices here, albeit somewhat pricey, there are also pleanty of reasonable choices.


 

WHAT OTHERS SAY...
“You almost feel Parisian” at this posh Bridgehampton bistro say Francophiles high on chef-owner Pierre Weber’s seafood-focused menu, brimming with “traditional” French fare and “outstanding desserts” that generate “good buzz” among the “see-and-be-seen” crowd; though some contend it’s “a bit pricey” with “spotty” service, sidewalk seating and “excellent” pastries from the adjacent bakery are “summer delights” that make it “hard to ignore.” ZAGAT
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