September 27, 2006
Food, glorious food!
What is there more handsome?
Gulped, swallowed or chewed —
Still worth a king's ransom.
From Oliver by Lionel Bart
Did you devour your fair share of The Hamptons this summer? You did? Me, too. It's getting to the point where it's hard to find a bad meal out here. You certainly can't say that about the city: so many restaurants serve up very ordinary food for very expensive prices. Most of the old time favorites in the Theater District like 21 are full of Bridge and Tunnels who are thrilled by the concept of a big city burger. Big deal, huh?
As for the new Disney-fied Times Square — phooey. It's like being on a budget cruise ship; doesn't even feel like New York anymore. So, in addition to our blue skies, charming villages, and top-notch beaches, there's another reason to savor the East End. Namely, to put on the feedbag. High or low, expensive or cheap, rarified cuisine or comfort food — just unfold your napkin and chow down. Here's a culinary collage of that which lingered on the taste buds of my gluttonous gang and myself:
A bright summer day and a BLT at Silvers — how does he make this old classic so delicious? They make a new twist on Chilean sea bass at Trata: it's served in a tureen with chunks of onion, tomato and potato in a wonderful broth. The best pizza in The Hamptons is but a few dollars a slice at Foody in the Citarella Center at Water Mill. Steamed mussels are so good in so many places, but we find the ones at One Ocean to be above and beyond the norm.
You'll never need a big English breakfast again after you've tasted the brioche and coffee chez Pierre. We mentioned comfort food and it doesn't get more comfortable than the sauerbraten and creamed spinach at Shippy's. Unless it's Monday night and you find yourself at The Princess Diner having the goulash. Don't forget a slice of their towering banana cream pie.
Let's talk about pasta, shall we? It's hard to ruin pasta — even I can make a few good pasta dishes. So do many of our local eateries. We've decided Katie's Pasta at Tuscan House is the best of them all. Tell us what you think. (I know — your mother's baked ziti puts 'em all to shame. Blah, blah.) There are lots of summer birthdays because our parents were heating it up the previous fall and winter. That means lots of birthday cakes to savor. What's the queen of them all? Let them eat the Marie Antoinette cake from Tate's. Your sweet tooth doesn't need a whole cake to start throbbing: the old fashioned hot fudge sundae at Sip 'n Soda is divine, and the egg cream will whisk you back to your long forgotten NYC childhood — even if you're from the Midwest!
If you all come from Dixie, or would like a taste of the Old South, head over to Magnolia for their fried chicken and you'll be on one knee singing Mammy. Since we're in Sag Harbor, don't forget to partake of the East End's best sushi at Sen. The raw white tuna chunks they slice up at Mount Fuji are also fantastic. I think that's "sashimi." If you're on the run in Southampton, turn around when you're at the salad bar at Schmidt Brothers (best produce — those white peaches!) and take home a pound or two of their jumbo shrimp salad. It's unbelievable on toasted cheese bread with crisp greens. Purists won't eat those bottom feeders, but my crew can't get enough.
Everyone knows about the huge lobsters at The Palm, but try their prime rib with a baked potato. Too bourgeois? Go to Saracen and order the baked squash flowers stuffed with cheese, you snob. Had enough of this smorgasbord? Wash it all down with drinks at Almond on Friday night — oh, baby! I could go on, but I'm starving!
Food, glorious food!
Eat right through the menu.
Just loosen your belt
Two inches, and then you. . .