Put a Cherry on Top of the Season
Between ice cream shops, popsicle stands, and picnic baskets filled with home-baked confections, summer always seems to encourage partaking in the sweeter side of life. True to form, these desserts are extra-toothsome reasons to take a break from those bikini-season health goals and indulge in a Hamptons summer well spent.
Milkshakes at LT Burger (62 Main St., Sag Harbor)
Celebrity chef Laurent Tourondel’s Sag Harbor homage to an old-school burger bar, LT Burger, is a feel-good restaurant through and through. A variety of Angus beef burgers, dripping with local cheddar and aioli or fashioned out of other proteins like local battered fish (there’s even one of avocado and wheatgrass for vegans) are served in the white-tiled dining room with the day’s game playing on screens hung behind the bar.
Ingredients are premium-grade and often local, but this isn’t a place that takes itself seriously—there’s a kids’ menu, combo options, and a heavy emphasis put on sweets, with the dessert menu nearly as long as the main. Fried Oreos and build-your-own sundaes are tempting, but the 13 different milkshakes are the real stars here. A French Toast shake is award-winning, and for adults, three “Rated R” options come laced with booze, like Jim Beam and maple pecan ice cream, or chocolate ice cream and Oreos blended with amaretto and Godiva liqueur.
Eighth Anniversary Sundae at South Edison (17 South Edison St., Montauk)
A bit of Googling finds that eighth anniversaries are traditionally celebrated with gifts of linen or lace. But that’s no matter to South Edison, which is honoring its eighth year of Montauk success with an ice cream sundae that’s one for the books. While the rest of this cheerful Montauk eatery may be restrained—the simple décor of Edison bulbs and sunny colors, the menu of modern American food—all bets are o with this mountain of a dessert.
Ice cream and gelato both (salted caramel and espresso, respectively) are stacked atop devil’s food cake, crumbed with chocolate-covered pretzels, and drizzled with dark chocolate sauce and Chantilly cream in a creation designed to satiate a sweet tooth for days. It might not be the most in line with the restaurant’s local, seasonal approach to cooking, but it’s certainly a reason to order a glass of sparkling and celebrate.
Gelato at Sant Ambroeus (30 Main St., Southampton)
Steps away from the imposing La Scala opera house in Milan, a small café has been paying homage to the city’s patron saint St. Ambrose since 1936, with a gorgeous chandeliered dining room and glass cases of some of the most exquisite pastries and confections— puffs and tarts and cakes and chocolates and candies—in the Italian city. Fast-forward nearly 50 years, and this Italian institution ventured across the pond to install itself on Madison Avenue, serving all the Upper East Side dames who missed it too much in between their trips to the red, white, and green. Now, Sant Ambroeus is as much a staple in New York as it is on its home turf, with its doors open in the chicest neighborhoods and one more out in Southhampton.
Refurbished a few years back by interior designer Robert McKinley, the seaside outpost mixes notes from its original locale—wood walls, white tablecloths—with chic banquettes, black-and-white photo art, and rattan chairs for a summery feel. In true Italian style, you can pop in for a quick shot of espresso taken at the bar; in true Hamptons style, its gardened back patio is ideal for long wine lunches; and in true summer style, there’s a gelato bar with some of the most photo-worthy cones around. Who says a triple-scoop is sinful when it’s in the name of a saint?
Crunch and chewy, sweet and salty, and designed to be eaten with fingers—there’s nothing not to love about churros, especially when they come with Nutella sauce in which to be dunked, as they do at Southhampton’s Union Cantina. They’re the perfect end to a meal at this two-year-old Mexican hotspot, whose light, fresh approach to south-of-the-border cuisine means that you’ll have room left to indulge, even after a dinner of Caribbean-spiced red snapper tacos or enchiladas stuffed with summer vegetables.
What’s more, a bit of carbohydrates are needed if you plan to forward on into the night, either elsewhere on the town or at one of Union Cantina’s three bars, including the 400 Rabbits Tequila Bar hidden in a former speakeasy space at the back of the restaurant. One look at the cocktail menu, and you’ll be glad you equipped your stomach to try more than one.
Crème Brûlée at Lulu’s Kitchen & Bar(126 Main St., Sag Harbor)
In stark contrast to molecular gastronomy and scientific approaches to cuisine, a growing trend is seeing chefs shed the fancy devices and return to more traditional preparation methods. In Sag Harbor, chef Philippe Corbet—who once sharpened his knives at the helm of Bouley’s kitchen—is leading the charge in this realm with his new restaurant, Lulu Kitchen & Bar, which opened this year to great acclaim.
Wood-fired cooking is the “heart and soul” of the establishment, meaning that everything from heirloom cauliflower to truffle-oiled pizza to ribs, lobster, octopus, branzino, steak, and more are cooked to perfection over aromatic wood that adds an extra dimension to the already complex recipes. However, this is still farmhouse cooking, which means that summertime sees the dessert menu veer toward the lighter side of things with options like a tropical sundae of passion fruit, melon, and toasted coconut sorbets and bright lemon yuzu tarts. If you’re still craving a bit of that fiery bite, go for the crème brûlée, whose torched top is colored with berries, raspberry and lime jam, and pieces of honeycomb.