Rookies of the Year

New All-Star Culinary Spots

Every summer, a new crop of restaurants opens in the Hamptons—some showered in praise, some likely to fall by the wayside by the time next summer rolls around. Among this year’s, here are our picks for the six not to miss.

EMP Summer House (341 Pantigo Road, East Hampton)

In case you needed another reason to visit the Hamptons this summer, here it is: EMP Summer House. Chef-owner Daniel Humm is taking Eleven Madison Park—his Manhattan restaurant that earned the top spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in April—and temporarily moving it to East Hampton this summer in the form of a pop-up that will be more casual (and less expensive) than its city-slicker self. In lieu of a $295 tasting menu are à la carte offerings like flatbreads, fluke ceviche, prawn salad with sorrel, bouillabaisse, and a wood- red ribeye for two.

Set in a white-shingled house near Amagansett that used to house restaurant Moby’s, EMP comprises a charming dining area inside as well as tables outside, where groups are served seafood boils and fried chicken dinners ordered in advance. Reservations are open to American Express cardholders, while others can walk up, put a name on the list, and play ping pong and petanque on the back lawn while they wait.

 

Lulu Kitchen & Bar (126 Main St., Sag Harbor)

An enormous wood- red oven is the heart and soul of Sag Harbor’s new Lulu Kitchen & Bar—and a “sexy” one at that, according to its owners. From its fires come a colorful gravlax pizza with crème fraîche and frisée drizzled
in a dill lemon oil; veggie dishes like roasted heirloom cauliflower tossed with tahini, grapes, and mint oil and roasted beets with pistachios, goat cheese, and pea shoots; and a set menu of weekly specials—veal chops on Fridays, Lobster Thermidor on Sundays.

Chef Phillippe Corbet, who’s cut his teeth at Michelin-starred restaurants, is taking Lulu’s as a chance to go back to basics, using live re to give fresh farmhouse cuisine a robust, “primal” home-cooked flavor. Cushy leather chairs, old chandeliers and cloudy mirrors, exposed brick, and rustic wooden floors make Lulu’s feel like an old French country house, despite its trendy newness.

 

Le Bilboquet (1 Long Wharf, Sag Harbor)

After establishing branches of itself in Dallas and Atlanta, the Upper East Side’s power- lunch spot Le Bilboquet has opened fresh new digs on the dock in Sag Harbor. The French bistro will continue serving its signature fare—jumbo crab and avocado salad, steak frites, and its much- raved-about buttery Cajun poulet—along with fresh shell sh and seafood from a centerpiece crudo bar.

In the aforementioned cities, it’s known as a spot favored among celebrities and socialites for dinner parties—literally, dinners that turn into the kind of parties where bottles of wine are continually ordered throughout the night as the table’s conversation gets progressively more animated and fabulous. Here, it’s sure to be no different, with an impressive wine list and by-the-glass champagne to fuel sweet summer nights. Chic, sophisticated, and a little bit rowdy in turn, Le Bilboquet is sure to be a success among the Hamptons’ finest set this summer.

 

Harbor East (44 Three MIile Harbor Rd.)

If scallops sautéed with sumac lemon and enoki mushrooms or a lobster roll with citrus emulsion and micro celery greens constitute “Traditional Beach Food”—as Harbor East’s menu claims to embody—it’s hard to say what modern beach food would look like. But that’s neither here nor there. The point being, this new restaurant from Australian hospitality veteran “Jamo” Willis is one of the most inviting new restaurants in the East End. Jamo has been known to personally welcome each diner who passes through the doors to try the menu of seasonal produce fashioned with Mediterranean influences for fare that offers innovative takes on the familiar.

Banana leaf textiles cover banquettes on the back patio, while the large black-and-white indoor space is filled with potted plants and skylights, with natural light flooding in during the day. At night, a disco ball hanging from the ceiling glistens while the DJ booth gets in action—a perfect excuse to grab a Roc-N-Rolla blood orange margarita or sweet mezcal-based Hippy Hippy Shake at the bar and stick around for post-dinner dancing.

 

Calissa (1020 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill)

Inspired by the ingredient-focused, family-style dining of Greece—the island of Mykonos, specifically—Water Mill’s new Calissa restaurant is arguably the best spot for group dining this summer. The focus is on slow meals that progress through the night (aided by a wine list of some 150 vintages, including Long Island’s largest selection of large format wine bottles).

The menu is designed for sharing, with local organics used in traditional Cycladian recipes: dips to start, like one of salt cod and Hudson Valley smoked roe blended together, followed by big platters of salt-baked whole Montauk bass, Kalamaki-style brisket with horseradish purée and coriander, and whole suckling pig or spring lamb that must be ordered a week in advance. Bocce ball out back and a lounge for dancing make for pre- and post-dinner entertainment, and perhaps a bit of needed exercise too after an extravagant meal.