Summer is drawing to a close, but the Hamptons' most anticipated new restaurant is just getting started.
On Saturday evening, TV's "Top Chef" superstar Tom Colicchio opens in Topping Rose House Bridgehampton in a meticulously restored 1842 Greek revival mansion. The 50-seat restaurant showcases the bounty of Long Island's East End farms and has its own 1-acre vegetable plot.
The restaurant, at the intersection of Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike and Montauk Highway, is only one component of a boutique hotel complex that will eventually include 22 guest rooms and a spa. The facility is owned by financier Bill Campbell and luxury-goods executive Simon Critchell and is managed by Colicchio's company, Craft Restaurants.
Campbell and Critchell bought the property in 2005 and began the arduous process of obtaining permits. Construction started in 2011, and it's been a race to the finish ever since. "We opened as soon as we could," said Colicchio, who has been serving friends and family for the last week. The opulent inn and adjoining cottages and suites should start accepting guests early next year.
For Colicchio, running a restaurant on the East End of Long Island is the culmination of a career-long commitment to farm-to-table dining. At his Craft restaurants in New York and Los Angeles, and in his role on Bravo's "Top Chef," he promotes the use of local, seasonal produce. "It's so great being here in the middle of the farms," Colicchio said Wednesday. Accordingly, Topping Rose House's main courses list the vegetables before the protein. There's roasted peppers and eggplant with grilled lamb loin for $40; sugar snap peas, wax beans and truffles with striped bass for $38. And there's less meat on each plate than vegetables. "We'll serve about five ounces of meat. People are moving in that direction," he said. "I know I am."
Topping Rose House's spacious dining room lets the chef's creations shine: It's all crisp white linen and earth-toned upholstery, with big windows that let in the late-summer light. An adjoining lounge, with a striking lacquered blue bar, spills onto a gracious porch. All in all, a good perch to enjoy the change of season.