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Jun 6, 2011 11:42 AMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Dining Out In Hampton Bays

Jun 6, 2011 12:50 PM

The Hamptons are now officially in full swing. This week, Arts & Living profiles five restaurants in Hampton Bays to hear from the chefs about what dishes are satisfying the masses, their own personal taste buds and are strong contenders out of the gate as summer’s best bets.

Squiretown

Most Popular: Asparagus Soup; appetizer; $10.

Chef’s Favorite: Scallop Crudo; appetizer; $10.

Signature: Elvis Woulda; dessert; $8.

Owner/Chef Charles Bishop always looks forward to May, and asparagus season, he said.

“Me growing up here, my father had a patch in the garden, so as soon as it starts warming up and those buds kick out, it’s really a treat,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of people are like me and can’t wait to get what’s coming from our ground.”

Right now, the restaurant’s most popular dish is a simple asparagus soup—a purée of fresh local asparagus with a little crabmeat, Mr. Bishop said.

“It’s a hot soup and a beautiful, bright green color, too,” he said.

Mr. Bishop said that he thinks of his original dishes as his children. Another one of his creations is Scallop Crudo, and when it comes to purchasing seafood, he said he gets as close to the source as possible.

“It’s a fresh local sea scallop,” he reported. “I get those as soon as the boats come in. We serve it in one of its own scallop shells, so it’s really a pretty presentation.”

The raw scallop is sliced thin and layered with a pomegranate cream, which is pomegranate juice reduced down to a syrup that is folded into fresh whipped cream. The scallops are seasoned with sea salt and drizzled with syrup, fresh lemon, and extra virgin olive oil.

“A lot of my food is either presented with a variety of textures or flavor profiles, when it’s appropriate,” he said. “The Scallop Crudo entertains your tongue. The textures of the fresh, raw scallop and the cream, but you also have the acid of the lemon and the tangy sweetness of the pomegranate, and all of that comes together with the sea salt floating around in there.”

The signature dessert dish is also one of Mr. Bishop’s concoctions. The ingredients: a square piece of chocolate cake with peanut butter cream, banana caramel sauce and a scoop of marshmallow.

“The fluff is blowtorch toasted to dark, crispy goodness,” he said. “We call it the ‘Elvis Woulda’ because if he were alive, he woulda loved it.”

Gators

Most Popular: Buffalo Chicken Wings; appetizer; starts at $8.50 for 10 wings.

Chef’s Favorite: Marinated Steak; entrée; starts at $17.99 for a 10-ounce steak.

Signature: Seared Sesame-Crusted Ahi Tuna and Seaweed Salad; appetizer/entrée; $11.50.

Over the last 25 years, Gators has sold more than 1 million buffalo chicken wings, according to executive chef and owner Richard Gise.

“For Super Bowl, we’ve done almost 10,000 in one day. It’s insane,” he said. “We have people come from as far as Montauk and Stony Brook, all over Long Island. We put a little secret ingredient in there that no one ever uses.”

The wings are fried in clean oil until extra crispy, Mr. Gise reported. They’re dunked in the restaurant’s special hot sauce, several spices and served with celery and blue cheese.

Mr. Gise’s favorite dish is made with top quality, black Angus beef that is wet-aged and coated in herbs, spices and a special marinade, he said.

“It’s a steak that people say, ‘Wow, that was one of the best steaks I’ve ever had,’ so that’s why I like preparing it,” he said. “Everybody’s happy, and I like eating it, too.”

In an effort to bring healthier alternatives to the menu, Mr. Gise said he hopes the new tuna and seaweed salad dish will soon become the restaurant’s signature. The sushi-grade ahi tuna is hand-seared, coated in sesame seeds, chilled and served over wakame, or seaweed salad, with wasabi cream, pickled ginger and teriyaki sauce.

“It’s fresh tuna, it’s light and it’s good for you,” he said.

Oakland’s

Most Popular: Pan-Seared Sea Scallops; entrée; $27.

Chef’s Favorite: Yellowfin Tuna Steak; entrée; $28.

Signature: Oakland’s Seafood Pasta; lunch/dinner entrée; $20/$29.

Executive chef John Hill’s scallops are far from run-of-the-mill. They’re served over a crispy three-cheese risotto cake and finished with a light balsamic, crushed red pepper vinaigrette with asparagus on the side.

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Oakland's is the place to go! There's a reason the Pan-Seared Sea Scallops is their most popular dish!
By dangolfman (7), jericho on Jun 9, 11 11:42 AM
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