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August 08, 2007

Tierra Mar: Treats From Sea And Land



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An iced seafood platter is packed with yummy clams, mussels, oysters and lobster. (click for larger version)
By Amy Patton

Picture this: you're digging into an iced platter piled high with super-fresh oysters and local littlenecks while gazing at the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean whose waves crash only steps away from your table.

Yes, such a place exists — and it's called Tierra Mar.

The restaurant itself is housed in the Westhampton Bath and Tennis Club on the south side of Dune Road. The place is an interesting pairing of sophistication that mixes well with its beachy informality.

First impressions are important and Tierra Mar's show-stopping view and breathtaking chandeliered dining room greeted our group as we made our way to an outdoor table.

Tierra Mar's cheerful maitre d' quickly gathered our drink orders: a pomegranate martini for one diner and a bottle of crisp California chardonnay for the rest of us to share.

Executive Chef Todd Jacobs has long been touted as one of the East End's most innovative chefs and it shows in the restaurant's menu. We sampled a starter of Hudson Valley foie gras ($26) that was rich and silky, bathed in a delicate plum wine sauce and accompanied by grilled fennel and roasted pears. Also good was an appetizer-size crab cake ($20) that sat atop a creamy puree of organic carrots. The standout starter, though, in this appropriately seaside setting was Jacobs' offering of iced shellfish, a generous assortment of fruits del mar. Oysters, littleneck clams, jumbo shrimp, mussels and a chilled half-lobster topped the platter that was sided with an array of dipping sauces: mignonette, cocktail and pommery mustard. The Chef's Platter ($34) included a raw bar sampling — but the dish can be customized by ordering the shellfish by the piece.

We moved on to a dish of Long Island free-range duckling ($32) that was tender and flavorful thanks to its pan juices of cabernet franc and cherries. Mashed sweet potatoes sided the plate. A serving of charbroiled filet mignon ($39) also drew raves, the steak served rare, its earthy intensity magnified by a dollop of organic mushroom cream.

We also settled on that East End summer staple, local Montauk lobster and sweet corn. There is no more perfect pairing. The two-pound crustacean ($40) came to the table pre-cracked and perfectly cooked, served simply with a twist of lemon, drawn butter and poached asparagus.

Other sea treats included a whole de-boned pan-seared flounder ($28) served with Tierra Mar fries, roasted Long Island striped bass ($34) and a plate of Scottish salmon doused with a dressing of lemon-caper vinaigrette ($32). We skipped dessert, but enjoyed a round of fabulous frothy cappuccinos as an end to the meal.

The restaurant's extensive wine list offers more than 600 choices and on weekends a knowledgeable sommelier is around to lend a hand.

It's worth noting that Todd Jacobs has quite a history in the New York-area restaurant community. Prior to helming Tierra Mar, Jacobs, a CIA graduate, spent six years in the kitchen of the American Hotel in Sag Harbor. The chef also conquered the food world in New York City, having worked at Le Régence in the Hotel Plaza Athénée and Maurice in the Parker Meridian hotel.

As far as our recent experience at Tierra Mar is concerned, it's clear that the restaurant has justly earned its spot among the handful of elite eateries in the Hamptons. It's not hard to see that the quality of the cuisine is well-matched with the restaurant's spectacular view and refined setting.

Tierra Mar/Atlantica

231 Dune Rd,

Westhampton Beach

288-2700

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