Five Ways to Get Your Seafood Fix This Season
Whether it’s a lobster roll at a dockside diner or sushi that breaks the rice-and- seaweed mold, there are enough different styles of seafood suppers in the Hamptons to provide a completely different experience every night of the week—if not summer. Here are six spots to get you started.
DOPO La Spiaggia (6 Bay St., Sag Harbor; 31 Race Lane, East Hampton)
Maybe the glamor of old Italy is more your style, in which case consider Dopo La Spiaggia. With its name meaning “After the beach,” the restaurant has locations in East Hampton and Sag Harbor that offer something like the summertime version of après-ski in the Italian Alps. Well-clad clientele pull up on vintage bikes rather than snow shoes, and hot chocolates are replaced with spritzes and aperitifs to prime stomachs for meals of northern Italian cuisine.
There’s carpaccio, fritto misto, and burrata alongside plenty of homemade pastas, chicken “under the brick,” and bistecca. Upholding that Italian nose for only the best ingredients, the seafood dishes have in particular received praise and change constantly to keep pace with what the ocean has to offer at any given time. Menu mainstays, meanwhile, include branzino poached in white wine with spinach and tomatoes, a spicy tuna tartare, and squid-ink taglioni piled with heaps of shellfish, and they’re all stars.
Clam and Chowder House at Salivar’s Dock (470 Westlake Dr., Montauk)
Back in the day when Montauk still qualified as a fishing town, Salivar’s was where one went for greasy fried clams washed down with a couple pints of cheap beer—the type of place that was so special precisely because there was nothing special about it at all. However, as Montauk grew, Salivar’s did too, expanding its name to Clam and Chowder House at Salivar’s Dock and its locale to a spacious dockside building overlooking Montauk Harbor.
Now, there’s a rooftop bar for cocktail drinking, a ground-level patio overlooking the harbor, and a sushi bar in the dining room inside. Fishermen of the East End past might be rolling in their graves at the thought of sashimi being served in miniature wooden boats here, but the true character of Salivar’s is still preserved in retro décor like big fake fish hanging from the ceiling, swimming goofily in the air in front of a neon “Salivar’s” sign, as well as in the menu, which maintains plenty of down-at-heal American seafood fare. Fried fish n’ chips, a massive lobster bake, clams casino, and mozzarella-smothered fluke parmigiana are sure to satiate even the hungriest seafarers around.
Bistro Eté (760 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill)
With less deep frying and more pan-searing in olive oil with lemon and bouquets of fresh herbs, Bistro Été opened last year in Water Mill as one of the best French restaurants in the Hamptons. True to its name (été being French for “summer”), it’s the type of place where you can live out your Jane Birkin fantasies and saunter into the bar from sunning by your pool to enjoy a glass of wine on the house with your happy-hour foie gras.
The chic restaurant is the brainchild of chef Arie Pavlou, who received most of his culinary training in France, and here keeps his French fare as true to native recipes as local ingredients will allow. Grilled octopus, pomegranate scallops, and the local catch of the day are all standouts. However, challenging the notion that no French meal is complete without wine, Pavlou has also instituted a food-driven cocktail menu (think tipples made with black truffles) that will have you re-thinking that glass of white you planned to pair—a pleasant reminder that this is still cocktail country, despite the escargot.
Elaia Estiatorio (95 School Street, Bridgehampton)
Continuing through the Mediterranean, seek out the Greek at Elaia Estiatorio. Family-run and family-style, the 2017-opened eatery is like a happy home on one of the isles. Candles are glowing in glasses and lanterns, big baskets of bread and brass pitchers of water rest atop rustic old cabinets, and black-and-white photos decorate the small swaths of wall that aren’t instead dedicated to windows.
Imported delicacies intermingle with fruits and vegetables from local farms, fashioned into photo-worthy small plates and platters of spreads served on colorful earthware, with mains like lamb slow-cooked with herbs and cheese in parchment paper, and charcoal grilled pork chop. Poseidon’s offerings, meanwhile, are fashioned into a massive seafood and orzo dish prepared in a rich sauce of tomatoes and Ouzo (a Greek anisette), tender fluke with capers and lemon, and a classic herb-crusted salmon over lentils. Opa!
Rhum (13 East Main St., Patchogue)
What would a summer be without a visit to a rum bar? On your way to or from the Hamptons, the town of Patchogue is well worth a stop to check this culinary outing off your list (and likely more than once) at Rhum. This French-Caribbean restaurant seeks to mirror the little reggae restaurants that dot the sands of palm-fringed islands, which is to say that from the moment you step inside its bright teal door, there’s no way not to be happy here, whether that comes from biting into a piece of juicy jerk chicken dripping with a honeyed mango and papaya salsa or the simply-named Cheeseburger in Paradise.
Fish, of course, features most prominently on the menu in all forms, from seared ahi and crab cake starters and salads to sage-breaded shrimp sandwiches, Cajun-grilled fish, and salmon caramelized with soy and sugar and floating atop divine coconut risotto. Awards have been won for the key lime pie; bets have been lost after one too many rum punches.