In The Magazine

Food Springs Eternal

Saturday, July 1, 2017
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David Rabin and Kyle Hotchkiss Carone, the partners behind über-successful Village spot Café Clover, have teamed up with Maidstone Inn owners Jonathan and Jenny Baker and turned the hotel’s Swedish-accented Living Room into a California-influenced restaurant simply called Maidstone. Items like Swedish meatballs have been replaced by such offerings as seared diver scallops with turmeric lime butter, black lentils and ginger chive, and Montauk fluke with avocado, summer corn, white gazpacho and hazelnuts.

The owners of Shelter Island’s beloved Vine Street Café, Terry and Lisa Harwood, have opened a place in East Hampton, taking over the former Café Max and turning it into Cove Hollow Tavern. Slightly more casual than Vine Street, the new spot has French, Vietnamese and Italian flavors. Among the menu items: snail and vegetable ragu with squid ink spaghetti; wood-grilled Wagyu strip steak with Muscat grape sauce; and whole roasted crab-stuffed fluke for two.

Who would have thought The Springs would emerge as a culinary magnet? Bay Kitchen Bar began drawing diners there over the last few years for Eric Miller’s oversized lobsters and dishes like sweet mustard–coated Montauk tuna with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and a Syrah reduction. Now, the once shabby bar Wolfie’s has been transformed into The Springs Tavern, with former Nick & Toni’s kitchen veteran Mike Ruggerio at the helm. Though still casual, the place is spruced up and offers staples from steak frites to roasted chicken to fish tacos.

Longtime Springs waterfront spot East Hampton Point is welcoming back Craig Attwood like a prodigal son. The chef, who left in 2010, has created a new menu with creative items like wild mushroom risotto with pea butter, morels and goat cheese; crab cake with mango chutney and tamarind aioli; or Berkshire pork ribs with coriander-thyme rub and orange blossom honey. Each Wednesday, the restaurant will hold a lobster bake from 5 p.m.

At the entrance to The Springs, the space at 44 Three Mile Harbor Road has held a rotating list of restaurants, including Tsunami and Philippe, but it looks like the new owners of the space, now Harbor East, may be here to stay. James Willis, who worked at New York’s Ruby’s and Kingswood before opening his own Southside and Brinkley’s, has gutted the room and made it vibrant, with black-and-white-striped banquettes, skylights and a zinc bar. The outdoor area has Japanese banana leaf and upholstered couches that mirror the foliage. The Mediterranean-influenced menu features fluke crudo with fennel, blood orange, sprouted lentils and opal basil; and cedar plank salmon with corn, white asparagus, crisp broccolini and cherry tomato vinaigrette.

Robert Sieber, who worked under Daniel Boulud, has taken the helm at Montauk’s Surf Lodge. Look for sea urchin linguini, fluke ceviche and crispy prawns, along with such creative touches as tossing mint into his mac and cheese. Surf Lodge has also partnered with DOMODOMO, the praised Houston Street hand-roll bar, to serve its rolls, which are made with specially harvested crispy seaweed, warm rice and tuna, eel or lobster.

Looking for a little entertainment with your meal? Southampton’s Union Cantina has bocce and other lawn games to play, if you’re coordinated after a passionfruit or prickly pear margarita. Check out the new blackened mahi-mahi tacos with mango pico de gallo, jalapeños and avocado crema.

Was that a food truck that just lumbered by? George Gounelas, manager of the legendary Old Stove Pub, and Rob Likoff, CEO of Vpak Media, have teamed to launch a Greek restaurant on wheels—Opa! on the Go. Among the items being served up are gyros with beef and lamb cured meat on a pita with onion, tomatoes and tzatziki; Athenian cheese steaks with sliced roast beef, sautéed onions and feta; and traditional Greek salad with Dodoni feta, tomatoes, onions, peppers and olives dressed with olive oil and oregano.

Back in New York, Steve Hanson, the man who started BR Guest and gave us such favorites as Blue Water Grill, Atlantic Grill and Dos Caminos, is getting back in the game after selling and ultimately leaving the company almost four years ago. It looks as though his new Life Restaurant will be unveiled after Labor Day. Hanson says it will serve Mediterranean fare.

David Sasson, one of the partners in red-hot Barbounia, has given his focus to French Roast and upped the quality of the restaurant, making it a bistro worth visiting. Start with truffled deviled eggs or an artisanal charcuterie and cheese board, and then move on to one of the daily specials like couscous royal or roasted lamb shank. There is also a $34 three-course prix fixe now, with entrée options like roasted salmon or duck breast. 


207 Main Street

East Hampton

Cove Hollow Tavern

85 Montauk Highway

East Hampton

Bay Kitchen Bar

39 Gann Road

East Hampton

The Springs Tavern

15 Fort Pond Boulevard

East Hampton

East Hampton Point

295 Three Mile Harbor/Hog Creek Road

East Hampton

Harbor East

44 Three Mile Harbor Road

East Hampton

The Surf Lodge

183 Edgemere Street


Union Cantina

40 Bowden Square


Life Restaurant

19 West 31st Street

New York

French Roast

78 West 11th Street

New York

Opa! on the Go


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by Judith DobrzynskiPhotographed by Billy Farrall