So the Hamptons are more crowded this year than last. But yet, everyone from shop keepers and especially real estate agents (talking rentals) are saying that business is off. One thing I always do when I take my stroll around town trying to look better dressed than the next guy, I always ask shop owners “how was your season?” The response I keep hearing “not great.” But it’s so crowded, which leaves me wondering what gives!? Well some folks are blaming the increasing popularity of those short term rental websites for the problem. For example, you can rent a house in Southampton from a website called Marquis for a nightly rate of $1,100 a night even though this is in violation of town code which requires a minimum of 14 days. So, according to some there lies the problem. You have a house which advertises an occupancy of 12 people each essentially paying $100 per person, they’re not the types who are going to be spending money about town in the shops and restaurants. By the way, I like that the Hamptons are becoming more accessible to folks who wouldn’t normally be able to visit but by allowing overcrowding in houses it’s more like a spring break location than quiet escape from city living. What do you think?
Yes, it’s finally August in the Hamptons. The water is warm. The sun is shining. Traffic is bumper to bumper on 27 with Range Rovers in full bloom. While SoulCyle’s parking lot looks like a WWF pay per view. But enough about all the things we cherish in the Hamptons during August. Instead lets talk about a major first world problem that so many of us know first hand, the difficulties with getting a weekend restaurant reservation!
Yes, it’s the time of year when 25 minutes turns into 2 hours for a bar table. It’s more than any south of the highway socialite should have to endure. But luckily for you Paris, Kimye and all of the other society readers of Hamptons Chatter, you don’t have to suffer in silence any longer! Here are a few ideas for getting gourmet meals in your very home without having to stoop to pizza or any sort of wonton that comes in a paper carton.
|Free form lasagna from JK Chef Collection|
1) Call JKChef Collection – 631-460-0010 – started by chef Jeff Purrazzi and Jack Kelly, the service has a stable of top tier chefs that come to you and and will handle the entire meal from soup to nutted apple tare-tatine. According to Purrazzi, “The process of hiring a private chef is pretty easy. We normally speak with our clients over the phone and get an overview of the families culinary likes and dislikes…
…. from the formal dining to the beach BBQ. The key is to match the clients needs to the perfect chef. Once we do that, we put the two together to create the perfect dinner menu.” Prices vary based on the size of party and the duration of the event. If you like more information you can visit their website www.jkchefcollection.com or give them a call at 631-460-0010. Make sure to tell them Hamptons Chatter sent you!
2) Saaz -1746 CR 39 Southampton – 631-259-2222 – Gourmet Indian food that in it’s short in town has garnered a large and loyal following. The location is easy since it’s virtually the first restaurant you see as you drive into the Hamptons. The full menu including a slew of vegetarian dishes is available online and they even deliver to a large chunk of the east end. So skip the pizza and go for some steamed chicken somos instead!
|Salmon Tartare – Fresno|
3) Fresno – 8 Fresno Place East Hampton – 631-324-8700 – New American cuisine at it’s best. Head Chef Gretchen Menser’s rotating menu of classic crowd pleasers with an epicurean twist is why updated menu and get your tilefish or osso bucco to go! Diners have been lining up at this East Hampton favorite for years. But the real reason I’m mentioning this here is you can go online, check out the
4) East Hampton Grill – 99 North Main St. East Hampton – 631-329-1955 – Walk right by the crowd at one of the most popular Hamptons restaurants, step up to the bar and grab your grub and get out of there. Yep, the home of the “heavenly biscuits” will pack your dinner for you to enjoy in your own kitchen. The menu is available online and updated frequently. While I’m not sure I would get the oysters to go (a little messy) from the fresh fish, to the roasted chicken and the french dip all are made from scratch daily and travel well. But most important of all, the clean up is a breeze.
|The french dip at East Hampton Grill – ask for horseradish!|
5) The Seafood Shop -356 Montauk Highway, Wainscott – 631-537-0633 – Yes you can buy your shrimp and your fresh fish for home cooking but you can also get a complete dinner on the fly without breaking a sweat. Lobsters, grilled fish and fresh salads and even a chicken breast sandwich are all on the take out menu. It’s a complete menu available online that is updated with specials daily and diverse enough for even the finickiest of diners. It might not be fancy but the food is awesome!
So there you have it 5 ideas for the hungry agoraphobic in all of us.
In case you missed it there was a lot of buzz a few months ago as Tom Colicchio and Topping Rose House parted ways. Much of the well deserved criticism revolved around the fact that the prices were steep and the food was just a tad too “precious.” Well, when it was recently announced that Jean-Georges Vongerichten would be moving into that prime location, it was with a skeptical eye that many Hamptons folks awaited the arrival of it’s latest celebrity chef. I mean, doesn’t everyone want quail and sweet breads when visiting the beach?
But guess what? A good thing happened on the way to Bridgehampton. Rather than taking a step on the fancy side, the restaurateur took a page more from his Inn at Pound Ridge menu and gave it a Hamptons spin. Jean-Georges at the Topping Rose House is now open and ready for business. While make no mistake the bill is going to cost you a few more dollars than an Olive Garden Prix Fixe, the prices are reasonable by local standards and the menu is actually pretty accessible. The restaurant was open over the Memorial Day and served dishes from the new menu including; Tuna Tartare with Avacado and ginger marinade for $22, Kale Salad with Lemon and Parmesan $15, Parmesan Crusted Organic Chicken for $32 and a Cheeseburger with Frizzled Onions and House made pickles for $21. For the vegetarian in the group, they also have a Garden Vegetable Brown Rice bowl with Salsa Verde for $26. While I haven’t had the chance to check it out yet, if it’s anything like the Westchester outlet I have no doubt it will be packed from now until Labor Day! For more information or reservations, you can try calling 631-537-0870 or go online by clicking here!
With Valentine’s day right around the corner and the 12″ of snow on the ground I know a lot of you are thinking about a nice romantic evening with a glass of wine….. or 6…. in front of a roaring fire! So are there any good spots for that romantic dinner before dipping into the champagne glass tub (you know what I’m talking about) without heading to the Poconos? Yes, there are my friends and I’m here to tell you more!
First up… The American Hotel, Sag Harbor. – The Hotel has a big huge hearth and a style from an era gone by…. and I’m not talking about the clientele. Big fluffy chairs a warm wooden bar and some nice dark lightening that would make Joan Rivers look like Kate Upton…. or at least Florence Henderson. It’s the perfect date night location with a solid menu, great service and dim flickering lights that are going to make you look good!
|Hey baby, am I making you hot? At EH GRILL.|
1770 House, East Hampton. – I love this place but I’m particularly fond of eating in the basement. Its far less formal than the main dining room and they have the rustic brick walls, gas fireplace and some of the best meat loaf I’ve ever had! Be sure to make a reservation if you want to eat downstairs, it’s now more popular than ever before. A nice relaxing place to spend your Valentines Day.
East Hampton Grill, East Hampton. – Where did you think the EH Grill would be, Quogue!? A great
bar scene, great food, a huge fireplace and some of the fastest service on the East End. So, why is fast service so important? Well if you’re looking to get lucky that night, who has time for a 5 hour dinner!?!?
Robert’s, Water Mill. – If one of you is from Southampton and the other is from East Hampton, this is the perfect place. My favorite dish there is the “penne bolognese”… but I can’t eat that anymore. Summer is around the corner…. oh hell i’ll order it anyway. Featuring a great menu, great service, a really extensive wine list and a toasty gas fireplace, Robert’s is a great place for a little smooching.
There are two more I want to mention but I’m running out of space. Red Bar in Southampton is another great location for a romantic evening, featuring it’s great open space and plenty of candle light. Also, Race Lane in East Hampton…. Big sofas in front of a fireplace… enough said.
Finally for those desiring something a little off the beaten Hamptons path, may I suggest going to Riverhead. No, I won’t suggest going to the only waterfront McDonald’s with boat slips in the country (trivia fact.. check it out) but rather one of the most innovative and different restaurants I’ve experienced in a long time. THE RIVERHEAD PROJECT or RHP is located at 300 E. Main St., Riverhead and in addition to the chic decor, diverse menue and great service there are some out of the box events like “The Wine Project” … with a sommolier supervised wine pairing dinner and “The Movie Project”… which is…. well you get it. Go to their website for more information. It’s fun stuff! Recently, I had the chance to talk with owner Dennis McDermott (formerly of The Frisky Oyster in Greenport ) and chef Lia Fallon about what makes RHP so unique.