A Tale of Two Restaurant Openings…. Plus, Everyone Really Is A Critic!

Ok, the dust has settled and we’re back to a calmer and more civilized Hamptons, well up until July 4th weekend anyway.    That being said, I’m exhausted the guest, the traffic and the difficult cocktail conversation.  “Yes, I heard that Saint Barth’s is not what it used to be.”  Oi vey!  But other than the buzz about where everyone else went and where I didn’t there were a few topics that seemed to be on everyone in the Hamptons lips.   The state of the real estate market on the east end and what new restaurants have come to town!    But if you thought today’s blog was going to be about the market, you would be wrong!    I’m going to spill the beans on the two biggest openings of the last week!

Now, while I didn’t go to any restaurants this past weekend I do have sources that braved the openings of two highly anticipated new restaurants in Sag Harbor; Doppio and Harlow.   The menus and pedigree of both are very different and the reaction to both was pretty much the same…. VERY DIFFERENT!

Harlow which arrives in town with very high expectations opened it’s doors recently.   Located at the

A rough start?   But oh what a view!

old B.Smith’s location on Long Warf, it comes from one of the partners of the infamous Nobu and already has one location in the city.     Billed as similar to their city outlet with a more “low key East End atmosphere,” the restaurant will none the less attract a similar crowd with offerings such as their signature oyster bar.   So,  was it a home run?   Well according to  friends of mine who went this past Saturday, it was a more of a strike out.   They described the restaurant as a complete “cluster f***!”  In spite of having reservations they were put off not 1…. but 2 hours before they called it quits and headed off to The Cuddy instead!    They said the staff was also very surly and I’ve also heard mentions about the bathrooms not working and patrons having to go down the block.    So as you can tell, I have no reports on the food just yet!

Now, I get it!  It’s Memorial Day weekend and you got slammed and we’ll give you some time to get your bearings.   But then again, it’s not like you didn’t know it was going to be a crowded holiday weekend!    We’ll check back in a few weeks and see how they do especially since it is one of THE best locations on the east end and the menu looks really impressive.

Doppio is up an running!

Meanwhile, down the street at the home of the former Madison and Main the folks at Doppio apparently got off to a very auspicious start.   Billed as an artisan bistro, the restaurant with the
“dopey” sounding name obviously came to town ready to do business.    I’m hearing  the crew in Sag Harbor is a well oiled machine with good food and good friendly service!    Let’s hope they can keep up the good work!    The last thing in the world I wanted on the east end was another Italian restaurant but Doppio sounds like its worth the trip!

Speaking of customers and their restaurant experiences, if you ever want a good laugh look no further than some of the reviews for Hamptons restaurants on YELP!    Now, I know sometimes people are just plain pains in the butt and that’s why I take the caveat here, I didn’t write these comments, I’m just reporting them.   I mean, god forbid people do online reviews of this blog!   I can hear them now; “How can you not know the difference between they’re and there.”   “You have all the wrong punctuation.”   “Lousy spelling.”   Yeah, well you know what….  lighten up Frances, it’s a blog not the New York Times!    I know I’m not Tom Wolfe but at least I’m no Bret Easton Ellis!   So anyway, here are some of my favorites that had me squirting my Sauvignon Blanc through my nose!    But more importantly it proves my point Hampton diners are sometimes hard to please!

Pierre’s Bridgehampton:  While the over all rating for Pierre’s was 3 out of 5 Stars, there were a few scathing remarks that have not doubt been responsible for a dent in their status.   TB from Manhattan said on 7/22/13 “below average food, fighting cougars…. and beyond obnoxious.”    Is a restaurant full of cougars a bad thing?

Calvin from NYC wrote on 8/30/13 “Too arrogant!  French man…. Do not give them a credit card for reservations and the reservation never on time.”   Well Calvin,  if you can own a credit card you can obviously afford to buy a verb.  Calvin you are a stupid American!

Sant Ambroeus, Southampton:  Overall they got 4 out of 5 stars, so why not 5?   Well, TF from Atlanta wrote on 6/12/13, “I tipped a very small amount because of poor service – about 10% but later on my credit card statement I noticed that they ignored the tip amount I wrote and “updated it to 18%.”  Sorry TF, zeros and 8’s look so similar it’s an honest mistake.  Maybe they were just agreeing with you and put another zero on top of your zero!?  See… it can happen!

Well apparently service with attitude is their biggest issue.   Christy G from Greenwich Ct. wrote on 7/7/13 “if you don’t walk in dripping in gold and Versace they assume you shouldn’t be there.”   While S.P. from Denver, CO. wrote 4/14/12 “why give a wine list if you ‘re never coming back to take the order.”   When in Rome you two!

LT Burger, Sag Harbor:   3 out of 5 Stars.   Josh M. from Manhattan wrote on 1/28/14 that he “wouldn’t go there if my eyebrows were on fire and the place had the only water in Sag Harbor.”    I guess he didn’t like it?

Trust me they get better but I’m trying to be nice here guys!    Some comments involve bad food and cases of Montezuma’s revenge!    All I can say is it’s rough out there!

Old Stove Pub, Sagaponack: 2 out of 5 Stars.   Michael S. from New York wrote on 8/23/13… “If you enjoy sea bass that smells like a soiled diaper served, eventually, by a shiftless and competent waiter than this is your joint!”

In the age of social media EVERYBODY IS A CRITIC!

Date Night Advice in the Hamptons and the Best Burger!?

So a few years ago, I did a posting about how when it comes to dating, where you go can tell you a lot about the person.   It’s also a good guide to picking the right location for someone who is truly special.  Well as we all know, it’s always changing here on the East End with new restaurants and some of the old favorites.  So here is my updated 2012 dating guide for Hamptons restaurants.  This is more geared towards the ladies but guys, use it as a guide as well.   Perhaps you can make a better impression on your next blind date.

Restaurant: Nick and Toni’s , The Palm or East Hampton Grill

What does it say: If it’s on a Friday or Saturday night.. it means they have connections. They’re also not short on cash and willing to go head to head with some of the biggest attitudes in the Hamptons. If they order the zucchini chips (N&T) onion rings (Palm) or buttermilk biscuits (EHG) they’re daring… not afraid of calories because they’ll be at the gym in the morning. It also says, they really know the menu. If the bartenders or waitresses know them by first name, they’re generous and good tippers. They deserve a least a second date or to go a few bases. If you’re date is on a Sunday or prixe-fixe night, it’s up to your discretion.

Additional Advice: My advice hasn’t changed much since last time on these, avoid topics or conversations dealing with the following: ex-wives, alimony or investing with Bernie Madoff.  Notably missing from this list is the American Hotel which I think has truly earned it’s reputation as the wax museum of the Hamptons.   If you go on a date there, you’re probably double dating with someones parents and as Whoopi said in GHOST, “you’re in danger girl!”

Restaurant: Players Club & Agave (Bridgehampton)

What does it say: Chances are your date is a summer renter here in the Hamptons. They’re still new to the scene so if you’re waiting for that invitation to Gwyneth’s or Sarah Jessica Parker’s forget it. If this is a first date, finish the evening and change your cell number. You can do better.  Besides, if it were in the city you know they’d be taking you to Scores or El Torito!

Additional Advice: Avoid topics relating to home ownership in the Hamptons, real estate, St. Barth’s at Christmas and flying coach versus first class.

Restaurant: 1770 House

What does it say: Your date obviously knows some of the hidden treasures of the Hamptons. It also says, they’re willing to go to a quiet place and they’re not afraid to hold a conversation with you.  You’re date is likely confident and not afraid to spend a little extra for something special. Now, I want to be clear we’re talking about the upstairs restaurant here… if you end up in the downstairs pub it only says one thing to me; THEY’RE MARRIED!

Additional Advice: If your upstairs you can pretty much discuss anything, they obviously are open and willing to talk. If your DOWNSTAIRS avoid discussing wives, mistresses, explaining difficult things to children and commuting to the city from Nassau County.

Restaurant: Almond

What does it say: If it’s Friday night and he’s taking you to Almond, he’s gay! If you already knew he was gay… then just enjoy he probably knows a lot of people.

Additional Advice: If it’s Saturday, I’m not quite sure what to do but I think you’ve done ok. If it’s Friday and your on a hetero date… avoid topics like musicals, football and closets. It will only make you both uncomfortable.

My last note today and probably the most obvious!

Restaurant: Cyril’s or Murph’s Tavern

What does it say: People go to Cyril’s and Murph’s for one reason; to drink!  If someone actually takes you there on a date it could be they’re  fresh out of rehab or about to go! I would also be suspect of everyone your date just said hello to, odds are they’re tomorrow’s date! If you drove separately (hopefully you did) pretend to get a text message and leave immediately to deal with a “personal issue.”

Additional Advice: Avoid such topics as binge drinking, rehab, STD’s, sobriety or monogamy!  Also having the number for a cab service in speed dial will be really helpful!

If like last time,  today’s blog offends anyone.. I apologize, it was written with a sense of humor. But remember, there’s a little bit of truth in every jest!  Finally, a little poll…. Who has the best burger in the Hamptons.   I’ve asked a few folks and these five seem to be the frontrunners.    Remember to vote early and often!


Sometimes it feels a little backwards… but thank goodness for these 5 in 2011!

I was thinking back to last year and some of the happenings in the Hamptons, and I found myself dividing them into some of the best and worst moves on the east end (no, this has nothing to do with dancing). It was interesting to think about it…and as I did a recent incident kept coming to mind. While in Manhattan last week I met a former East End resident who referred to living out here like living in “Hooterville.” While I laughed, I have to disagree, there are enough good things going on out here to make us feel more like “Petticoat Junction!”

#5 – HARBORFROST – Kudos to Sag Harbor resident Benito Villa for picking up the stick so many have dropped before and putting together something to brighten the dull month of February in the Hamptons! From ice sculpting to fireworks and the Polar Bear Plunge, Sag Harbor was the place to be for that chilly wet weekend. Shops and restaurants were packed and it gave us all a little fun to go outdoors during those dark days of winter. If only they turned that PB Plunge into a hard bodies PB plunge, now that would be a ton more fun to watch. Yes, I know I couldn’t be included in that!

#4 LT Burger – Finally a good burger joint with great shakes and no attitude opens in the Hamptons. Restaurateur and chef Laurent Tourondel, who is behind some of the most successful steak joints in the country went out on his own and opened this new Sag Harbor favorite. It proves once again, if you know what you’re doing in the Hamptons they will come and find you! Hint to that other burger place, maybe you should have actually had restaurant experience!

#3 K-Mart’s MYGOFER.COM – While I never in my life ever thought I would be such a fan of K-Mart, I have to say their GOFER.COM is a god send on those busy summer weekends. It’s a simple as going to their website and ordering what you need online. Then VIOLA! It arrives at your doorstep, presto agitato! So to me, KMART does not suck! Take that Mr. Rain Man!

#2 East Hampton Patch – www.easthampton.patch.com – Editor Taylor Vecsey has put together a smart, well organized and informative website for the Hamptons! It’s one of the few I regularly read and my favorite website…. well next to this clever blog of course!

#1 The East Hampton Grill – What LT Burger understood and made them successful, the EH Grill/Hillstone group brought to a whole other level. If you serve people good food, with great service in a comfortable setting, they will wait and deal with pushy crowds to eat there! Since the day they opened and even now in December, it’s the hardest reservation to get in the Hamptons. But unlike some other “hamptons hot spots,” you don’t have to grease the staff to get a table or friendly service. My only complaint is they don’t have the company signature dish of Spinach Dip at this location. Although that may now be a good thing, I want to be able to wear a Speedo at this year’s HarborFrost Polar Bear Plunge!

OK those are my top 5 for the Hamptons this 2011! Tomorrow it’s the five biggest mistakes from the past year! Yeah, I know this blog should be one of them

BLT comes to the Hamptons!

They’re building a better burger at the former home of Grappa and Mumbo Gumbo in Sag Harbor! Amen! Finally a FRIENDLY burger joint in town! BLT Prime and BLT Steak and BLT etc. Chef Laurent Tourondel and his new take on the “burger joint” will be a very welcome addition to Sag Harbor. Look for an opening sometime around the end of the month, according to staff working on the new restaurant!