For a Mid-Summer Night’s Dining Dream
Chopsticks, silver, or fingers? Dress down or put on the ritz? Stay in or go out splashing your glass with fine wine until far past bedtime? As summer eases into its latter half and you’re more carefully planning how to spend the rest of this precious season, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite Hamptons spots for you to choose from, no matter what type of night you’re after.
Il Mulino (108 Wainscott Stone Rd., Wainscott)Yet another New Yorker has made its way out to the East End this summer and this class act is here to stay. Riding on the coattails of its perennially packed tables uptown and downtown as well as in other major cities nationwide, Italian icon Il Mulino has found itself a new home, literally, in a capacious house on Georgica Pond.
Find here the favorite parmigianas, scarpiello, and various cuts of steak, alongside truffle ravioli, five types of carpaccio (branzino and wild striped bass among them), and lobster ceviche. Unlike other restaurants, it’s not changing or attuning its menu to its new surrounds – in fact, the menu is an edited version of that in its city-slick spots. But that hasn’t kept the phone ringing off the hook for reservations, or the wine list from featuring some of the finest bottles around.
EMP Summer House (341 Pantigo Rd., East Hampton)After a wildly successful summer last year, EMP Summer House – yes, EMP refers to the Michelin three-star Eleven Madison Park – is back again. While the previous installation was a way to keep the staff in practice (and well- sunned) while the original underwent a facelift back in Manhattan, this year’s pop-up bubbles up from its previous success and desire to have all the fun again.
Lawn games like ping pong and petanque, cocktails designed around sunrise and sunset (a fruity green tea gin drink in the former category; rye with roasted red peppers, passion fruit, and sherry in the latter), and large-format taco and lobster boil feasts served to pre-ordering groups on a picnic table – EMP may, by some rankings, be the best restaurant in the world, but it still knows how to crack some smiles. The regular lunch and dinner menus boast clam and bacon flatbreads and Ossetra caviar, alongside more casual lobster rolls and fried chicken plates at the tables outside, and more fanciful plates of poached lobster and brioche-encrusted beef tenderloin with marrow in the dining room. So, choose your table accordingly, but make note of one thing either way: only American Express is accepted.
Shuko at Highway (290 Montauk Hwy., East Hampton)Beachgoers looking to prolong the role of oceanic offerings in their day will be pleased to know that Shuko – the food critic darling of a sushi spot just below Union Square in NYC – has installed itself as a summer pop-up again in the Hamptons. The restaurant, worshipped for its omakase and kaiseki meals, did this once before at East Hampton’s Highway Restaurant and Bar in 2016, and now after skipping a year it’s back for a second time.
Four nightly seatings on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays throughout the month at the chef’s table afford 16-piece omakase meals, while tables in the whitewashed dining room allow diners to order à la carte from a selection of bento boxes that would get a nod of approval from any Tokyo chef. Expect the freshest sushi and sashimi made from Long Island fish alongside some of the restaurant’s most beloved accouterments, such as Japanese milk toast and various pickled salads. It’s worth the difficult reservation, and the price tag.
L&W Market (2493 Montauk Hwy, Bridgehampton)
Amid the many chic restaurants, down-at-heel joints, and soil-flecked farmers markets, L&W Market fills
a still-remaining hole in the Hamptons culinary scene: a city-style specialty foods market. Opened by the owners
of Bridgehampton and Manhattan mainstay Almond Restaurant, and located next to their Ocean Road locale, this gourmet market was the product of years of observation of what summer Hamptonites want and need: fresh breakfasts that can be eaten on picnic tables or packaged nicely to take home; a house line of gourmet pâtés, pastas, charcuterie, and various kimchi to stock kitchens; and top restaurant-quality dinners for two, to be ordered ahead via an online app, picked up in a matter of minutes, and taken home for a candlelit night under the stars.
From cold brew and blueberry tarts to lunchtime fennel salads to Bulgogi steak marinade, there’s no fanciful food item you won’t find here – and, trendy tote bags slowly making their way onto the arms of its fast-growing clientele.
Maison Vivienne (136 Main St., Southampton)Anyone who’s ever been to the South of France knows that there’s nowhere else quite like it – but that doesn’t stop anyone from trying to seek its sophistication elsewhere, and establishments trying to deliver. The latest in the latter batch is Maison Vivienne, which opened this year in Southampton and gets pretty close to its goal.
Designed by award-winning design firm Studio K Paris and helmed in the kitchen by a highly-acclaimed culinary descendent of Victor Hugo, this sparkling Provencal bistro boasts côte de boeuf served under 20-foot cathedral ceilings, gazes at modern art while cutting your braised short-ribs, coriander- sprinkled yellow fin tuna as fresh and tender as the overflowing vases of bouquets scenting the air, and a wine cellar of more than 2,000 bottles. The Maison, true to its name, doesn’t stop there, with an adjoining inn set in a Dutch colonial home that dates back to the 1600s featuring luxe European-style rooms with Frette linens and views of the gardened grounds. One’s thing for certain: this newbie – and its luscious fig tart – is the new belle du jour.