Location: 39 Gann Rd. East Hampton, NY 11937
Description: Casual bi-level restaurant and lounge serving upscale seafood. ... More »
The evening show at East Hampton's Harbor-Marina arrives tonight at 8:31.
But the one lasting beyond the sunset that launches a hundred iPhone cameras is chef Eric Miller's satisfying, summery cuisine.
Miller is the executive chef-proprietor of Bay Kitchen Bar, the latest resident here, with a breezy, blue-and-white, second-floor perch overlooking ripples, boats and islands. It's the successor to several seasonals, the most recent being Andrra; the most notable, Bostwick's. Miller comes here after a stint at now-gone Madison & Main in Sag Harbor.
Bay Kitchen Bar is as noisy as any of them. Everyone seems to be in a celebratory mood, sipping a French 75 or a watermelon-basil margarita, Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA or Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Sumpin' Ale on tap.
The truly blissed-out, however, must be sampling Miller's full-flavored fisherman soup, a localized, long-distance evocation of bouillabaisse, floating cuts of fluke, striped bass and tuna. A special of crisp, flash-fried soft-shell crab in savory corn-and-bacon chowder also is an excellent starter.
Less appealing are the thick discs of sea scallop and raggedly sliced local fluke dressed up as crudo; and the dull combo of Montauk tuna and fresh crab that's billed as ceviche. The opener of tomato-braised meatballs is dense, hard and underseasoned. You're better off with the spreads of hummus, roasted-pepper feta and tzatziki, served with pita triangles.
Frying is preferable, too. The eastern whole belly clams combine crunch and sweetness, accompanied by herbaceous tartar sauce. Fish-and-chips: very good, made with cod, ready for malt vinegar.
The house's lobster salad roll, on toasted brioche, with celery, parsley and lemon, is a refreshing main course. And the whole, steamed lobster, matched with sweet butter and shaved summer vegetables, is perfectly prepared. Pan-roasted local striped bass is preferable to the flaccid, mustard-crusted Montauk tuna.
If you're boycotting seafood, consider the sirloin, bacon-Cheddar burger or the ample rotisserie-roasted chicken instead of the overdone spit-roasted duck.
Top desserts are the lush Greek yogurt panna cotta with honey and a fresh berry compote, and the puck-size, compact chocolate marquise with pistachio ice cream.
The Key lime tart, however, is only routine; the old-fashioned strawberry shortcake, a nouveau parody with ice cream. Phyllo-wrapped crème brûlée suggests custard encased in logs of shredded wheat. Maybe it's a sign of breakfast coming. Bay Kitchen Bar must be pretty at dawn, too.