ClIFFS NOTES FOR HAMPTONS DINING!

Spring has sprung here in the Hamptons.    The crocus have bloomed, the trees have buds and new restaurants are popping up everywhere.   But before I go into what’s new, let’s talk about what is no longer around.   Let’s bow our heads for a moment of silence and say something kind about a few of the shuttered establishments.

Old Stove Pub-They really knew how to kill a cow twice.

Hudson Blue Crab House – They employed a lot of people in witness protection.

EMP Summer House – I always knew who was there every minute… thanks Instagram.

Bay Burger – The Jazz nights were very jazzy.

The Princess Diner – It was better than prison food.

Now onto the brighter side of things.   There are more than a few new restaurants coming to the east end this summer.    One bit of news is that we’ll have not one but TWO new Mexican restaurants coming to town.   One is from the folks at Nick and Toni’s and La Fondita.     It’s called Coche Comedor and from what I read on Edible East End, it’s going to be amazing.  You can read the details by clicking here.   Although, they said they were opening in April, my “sources” tell me it’s actually opening later this week which believe it or not is MAY!    I’m sure it will be great and besides I’ve always been a fan of Commodores (especially with Lionel).

The other Mexican is an upgrade from La Superica in Sag Harbor.   I actually liked the food at Superica but found

Coche
The Old Honest Diner is now Coche Comedor

the party atmosphere (which often included the staff) a little frustrating and too much for even this hipster.  Anyway, the folks from Sen in Sag Harbor are upping the ante, renovating and hoping to open K-Pasa by this memorial day.  The Sag Harbor Express broke the big news back in February but the clever name was just announced recently.   K-Pasa…. Get it!?!?!  Personally I would have preferred if it were named “Tequila  Mockingbirds” or “Taco bout It” or “Guacstar” or … Ok, I’ll stop.   You can read more about by clicking the link to the article here.

But enough about Mexican, this is the Hamptons…. where is the seafood?   Well for those who like to have their fish and filet it too there will be Ed’s Lobster Bar in Sag Harbor.   Going into the slot formerly occupied by Bay Burger on Sag Harbor-Bridgehampton Turnpike.   The building will be refitted to resemble a sea side cottage and feature both indoor and outdoor seating.    My idea was to keep it Bay Burger but add roller skating waiters and have trays for the car window.   But hey there’s a reason I’m not in the restaurant business.    Apparently Ed’s is a big deal in SOHO and they’ll be bringing the same cool vibe to here in the Hamptons.   If you want more details, you can read more about Ed’s in 27 East by clicking here.

Finally, some major switcharooing in East Hampton.   Hold your hats for this one…. The folks behind Bay Kitchen in East Hampton which used to be Bostwick’s are heading to the site of the former Princess Diner in Southampton.   The new establishment will be

Silver Linings
The Princess has left the diner!

called Silver Lining Diner.    The menu will be a bit more upscale than your average diner and you can read more about it here.   Ok, are you following me?    So, now the place that was Bay Kitchen for the past few years and The Boat House before that will become Bostwick’s once again!   Meanwhile, Bostwick’s which is currently on Rt. 27 at the former Snow Flake will stay put and remain Bostwick’s Chowder House.   So you’ll have two Bostwick’s to choose from this summer.

Oh and one last thing, if you’ve driven by the site of the former Agave, Mercado and Hudson Blue Crab House you may have noticed there has been some renovating going on.  Rumor has it they’ll soon be reopening as the Gawanus Canal Lobster Company!   Just kidding,  I’m not actually sure what’s going on but I heard a new restaurant will be going in the spot, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.    Also, Michael’s restaurant in Springs is relocating to the site of their other location known as The Blend on Three Mile Harbor Rd, East Hampton.

That’s all folks.

 

 

 

 

 

Salsa… Soros… and more!

I’ve griped forever about how there isn’t a good Mexican “sit down” restaurant in the Hamptons.    I’ve complained and complained.  Yes, I like La Fondita and Sabrosa but I can’t really see having a nice quiet dinner at either location.     But this summer, it seems we finally can get the whole enchilada and enjoy it too!

First in Southampton is Union Cantina.   Located at the site of the former Southampton Public House,   the “Cantina” opened in mid-June and has been packing it’s tables ever since.   So far, the reviews have been pretty good.   I haven’t yet been but FOHC (Friends of Hamptons Chatter) have been telling me the foods pretty solid… not outstanding but good.    The standouts according to my sources are the enchiladas, roasted peach glazed pork and the freshly made salsa.  While the prices are certainly not Taco Bell they’re not exactly Nello either.    So based on the word of mouth around town it seems Union Cantina is worth a visit.    If you’ve been, let me know what you think.
Secondly,  The Blue Parrot in East Hampton has long been a punch line for bad food and bad service in my book forever!  I went a few years ago when it first opened under the new management which includes Jon Bon Jovi and the girl from Jerry Maguire who has a name I can’t spell.   The food was overpriced, lousy and served with a snarl from the surly staff.      If that wasn’t bad enough they used to have a bouncer there which would have lead you to believe, folks were clamoring to get inside…. and they weren’t.   Anyway, for whatever reason I decided to stop by for a visit last week after a hiatus of close to three years.      The first thing I encountered was a friendly staff and no bouncer!     I had to wait while my table was being prepped so I sat at the bar and had a really great margarita… at $15 bucks it was no bargain but the pour was generous and the mason jar/drinking glass was filled pretty high.
I’m sorry… I’m sorry… I like you!!!

After about 5 minutes, the table was ready and I sat down as fresh tortilla chips and salsa were being dropped off at the table.      That was followed by the house Oaxaca salad and Lime Chipotle fajitas.  While I know fajitas aren’t exactly gourmet and probably not the best way to judge the cuisine, I have to say they were really good and served with fresh made corn tortillas.     By the way, yes you can make bad fajitas I should know, I worked at a Chi Chi’s in college (for those of you who don’t know, it was the Mexican Olive Garden of the 80’s).     My partner in crime Peter had the fish tacos which which also garnered a big thumbs up.      The final verdict is that I take back all the negative things I’ve said in the past about Blue Parrot.    The snarky Go Fund Me page for the chef to take cooking lessons has been taken down and my mea culpa is complete.     So ,  if you’ve not been to The Blue Parrot in years, take my advice and give it another shot.

Finally, just in time for August some good news about what makes the Hamptons such a fun place to live.    According to sources, billionaire investor George Soros made a stop with a few friends at the American Hotel in Sag Harbor.   While that’s not anything to set rumors flying what happened when the check was delivered is the interesting part.  Apparently Mr. S. (as I call him) paid his hefty check with 4 figures not including cents and added on a 100%+ tip for the staff.     While I haven’t been able to confirm this Christmas come early gift from the tight lipped staff at the hotel… my sources are pretty reliable.     Besides, what’s so wrong with being nice!?

AUGUST IN THE HAMPTONS… NO RESERVATIONS… NO PROBLEMS… THE BEST GOURMET TO GO!

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.

HIGHWAY DINER…. NEW LOOK… NEW OWNERS…. NEW ATTITUDE!

The best pot pie ever!
Ginormous salads!

So, a quick blog post is better than no blog post at all (at least according to me).   After being a sushi restaurant with financing by Wells Fargo, SHUKU the Highway Diner has reopened.   In the first restaurant opening of the season, they did it quietly but carried a big culinary stick!     While I don’t have many of the details on the chefs and owners etc., I can tell you the staff seemed to be experienced and ready to take on the task of breaking the curse of the tank!     So what did we have?  A chicken pot pie which is quite possibly the best one I ever tasted!!!!   My of my dinner companions had freshly made pasta where they said they can “actually taste the difference.”  I started with a Caesar salad that could have been a meal itself.    Also gone is the sterile cold interior that had diners sitting on edge as every new customer walked in the door.  Now, the old diner’s food wasn’t bad but I think the management and staff were in over their heads.  My favorite or least favorite experince I should say was when they ran out of bagels for breakfast at $10 a pop.  HELLO, THERE IS A BAGEL STORE TWO DOORS DOWN!    Anyway, for a first night the Highway Diner was a hit with me and everyone else at the table!   I think it has what it takes… good food … good service….a full bar and good prices!

Home made pastas!

It’s about time to have some good restaurants in the Hamptons.  Meanwhile, Nichol’s is really shuttered for renovations and who knows if it will ever return.  Meanwhile, I’m doing a death watch on about 3 different restaurants on the east end.  More on that coming soon, I promise!