5 Restaurants, 3 Vermouths, & an Art Exhibit: The Other Side of Bridgehampton
Last month I raved on and on about the Channing Daughters Winery portion of the trip Deb and I took to the South Fork of Long Island. Having waxed so nostalgic about the week-old experience sampling Refosco and Lagrein, I made it seem as if we didn’t even eat. The truth is, there was a b-side to our brief excursion, and it included nearly half-a-dozen restaurants, an art museum drop-in, and an unexpected encounter with some local fortified wines. NYC culture hounds: read on, and feel the Hamptons lure you eastward.
Worth Tapping Into
Deb was so excited to show me one of her old haunts from when she had spent more time in the region that she made it our first stop. Southhampton Publick House was bustling at 2 in the afternoon with a jumble of locals, most of whom were drawn by the eclectic selection of house-made beers and the community feel. We took the only 2 seats left, and ordered up some fancy bar food from a menu that would delight anyone…..from a child to the most discerning of NYC palates. On your next visit, this is a no-brainer. FYI: While you’re in the neighborhood, walk directly across the street to Tate’s Bake Shop and load up on what are widely considered to be the greatest commercially-produced cookies on earth!
For The Savvy
It was recommended by a good friend that we hit Almond in Bridgehampton for a spectacular meal that won’t hurt the budget. She was spot-on about this sister location to the Flatiron nugget of the same name. A packed house didn’t slow down the staff, and we devoured French-inspired “comfort cuisine” and sipped esoteric wines from their well-composed list. And for vegetarians: Almond is famous for their “Meatless Mondays”….can you say risotto? Plus, don’t forget the pommes frites!
If your budget is indeed ample, and you want to kick the dining experience up a notch, consider Bridgehampton’s Topping Rose House. We admittedly did slip in for drinks and an appetizer at this upscale inn and restaurant before our Almond reservation, and almost regretted not settling in there instead. The Tom Colicchio-designed dinner menu and far-reaching wine list will excite the gastronome in anyone. It will be at the top of our dining itinerary on our next Hamptons visit.
Head To The Harbor
A short drive north through the quaint residential neighborhoods of Bridgehampton led us to the familiar Sag Harbor, where we dined at a hidden gem along Noyac Road. The Bell & Anchor is a pleasant departure from the village center restaurants of the region, and serves up seafood and chops in a sophisticated but charmingly old-fashioned style, in an ocean-side atmosphere that invites you to settle in. You’ll be glad you made the escape.
A Little Slice of Heaven
An honorable mention goes to another old fave of Deb’s. She was giddy with delight as we approached Bridgehampton’s World Pie for a casual lunch. With all of this immersion in refined dining, it was refreshing just to sit in a booth at a family-style establishment and enjoy a slice or three of well-made pizza. The Proscuitto and Pesto Pie was sinful, and the Arugula Salad was HUGE! Bring the kids.
The Glowing Gallery
Just a few short steps from World Pie, the chance discovery of our trip literally glowed with artistic ingenuity. The Dan Flavin Art Institute seems like an inconspicuous cottage from the outside; inside is a Dia Art Foundation permanent installation of Flavin’s sculptures built upon the interpretive arranging of florescent light fixtures and tubes that has been in place for over 30 years. An additional wing features fascinating photographs and artifacts from a church that formerly occupied the site. Admission is free, and the entire viewing will take less than 20 minutes. Before you visit, do a little homework by exploring Artsy’s Dan Flavin webpage, where’s you’ll be caught up on Flavin’s bio as well as other exhibitions his work has been featured in.
About Those Vermouths
Back at Channing Daughters Winery, a new “product line” was in store for us, and we couldn’t believe our senses. Winemaker Christopher Tracy now crafts no less than 3 distinct vermouths, comprised of estate-grown wine, neutral brandy, local honey, and a variety of undisclosed, natural, locally-grown/foraged and macerated botanicals. The Vervino Variations are produced in limited amounts, and each bottling has a distinct aromatic personality. These vermouths are crafted for drinking, in addition to mixing or cooking, and are another reason why we love Channing Daughters and The Hamptons. Get yourself out there, sample these beauties, and tell us about the Hamptons we missed!