Where to Grab a Bite In Between Meals
In summer, the hours have a way of passing by without one’s knowing, and suddenly the afternoon is gone, the evening is approaching – and you’re starving. Rather than sidling up to the nearest greasy fish shack, here is a selection of restaurants around the Hamptons that keep their doors open at unconventional hours, offering selections of great fare for those who just can’t (and shouldn’t) be bothered to keep track of meal times on vacation.
The Surf Lodge (183 Edgemere St., Montauk)
One of the perks of hotel dining is that it never stops. Especially in the Hamptons, with hungry surfers and sun worshippers waltzing in all throughout the day to re-fuel before heading back out to the sand, hospitality is tasked with making sure there’s a prime menu ready to be delivered at all times. Having fed wave riders for more than 50 years, The Surf Lodge knows this all too well and has over the years honed the art of the all-day “Deck Snacks” menu into the subtly upscale version it is now.
Ideal for groups, which comprise a large part of this hotspot’s clientele, the menu offers three different platters: a small seafood platter of oysters, mussels, clams, shrimp, and king crab; a larger version that throws in half of a lobster; and a mixed hot food platter that piles together a range of appetizers that can also be ordered piecemeal: lobster rolls, fried chicken with yuzu honey, cheddar bratwurst, and fries. A yellowfin tuna poke and a mezze platter with white bean hummus and ricotta comprise the healthier options, nodding to the Surf Lodge’s institutional knowledge that oftentimes nothing tastes better during a day in the waves than fresh fish and something fried.
Wölffer Kitchen (25 Main St., Sag Harbor; 4 Amagansett Sq., Amagansett)
A few years ago, Wölffer Estate Vineyard took its decades of experience producing some of Long Island’s finest wines and decided to apply it to the restaurant business, opening Wölffer Kitchen in two locations: first in Sag Harbor and then in Amagansett. In their own ways, each creates the atmosphere of a glittery dinner party – filled with bottles of great wine, of course. The Sag Harbor locale is adorned with shining woods and dark tones, its handsomeness playfully contrasted with lush murals of flowers and grapes and animals; its younger Amagansett sibling goes more for the sweet cottage look with teal and white walls, long banquettes covered in floral textiles and white-rimmed windows looking out toward a sunny yard.
But as much as they specialize in long-lasting dinners, so too do they give their attention to brunch and – at the Sag Harbor location – the “in-between.” Post-lunch and pre-dinner, come here for a selection of the world’s favorite hors d’oeuvres: oysters on the half shell, naan and hummus, charcuterie and cheese boards, a couple of fresh salads, and stracciatella with honey and grilled bread.
Sel Rose (4 South Elmwood Ave., Montauk)
One of the most anticipated openings of this summer is oyster bar Sel Rose in Montauk. This might come as a surprise, given the copious number of other bars in this category, but anyone who has been to the Lower East Side spot in New York will be quick to say that Sel Rose is anything but an average shucking spot. Recalling the 1900s in Paris, Sel Rose is a display of the type of environs that artists and literati in this heyday of the French capital would have frequented to argue about politics and each other’s work (think weathered walls, clouded mirrors, and a sprawling marble bar that’s a more preferred seating option than a table).
Inspired by the friendship of Salvador Dalí and Marcel Duchamp and their many seaside trips together, this opening of this Montauk outpost is in itself a reason for the Manhattan downtown creative crowd to make a trip out east. The specialty here is, of course, local oysters that are best slung back during a late-afternoon happy hour but deviled eggs, chicken liver pâté, truffle risotto croquettes and steak tartare are all singular options for Francophile tongues as well. Natural wines and a cocktail menu – one of the most imaginative in New York – accompany the fare. What’s a French afternoon without un petit verre?
Who doesn’t love a good tavern? Even summer can’t sway the appeal of a brick-and-wood watering hole where afternoon draft beers and classic American grub come fast and fresh and entirely frills-free. In Amagansett, Indian Wells Tavern has its doors open from 11:30 a.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. on weekends, serving chowder, wings, salads, seafood, and more continuously until night.
Like all respectable establishments of its kind, Indian Wells’ is arguably at its best between the hours of 4 and 6 p.m., when happy hour offers cheap oysters, a daily special slider, nachos, hummus, and even a home-baked pretzel, along with cheap wine, mixed drinks, martinis, beers, and Bloody Marys by the pint. It’s no wonder why this spot has a buzzing bar scene and is frequented not just by vacationers but also by locals all year round.