Restaurants, the East End's essential summer crop, are coming in now.
Some have sprouted, some are likely to pop up later. And there probably are a few that haven't been planted yet. But the season has started, and the annuals are joining the perennials.
Expect raw bars and barbecue, a juice bar and a tea room, a wine-centric eatery and a relocated brewery, more pizza and many catches of the day, plus new chefs at local landmarks.
The calendar says summer is more than two weeks away. But if you're ready to dine out, it's already here.
The North Fork
MAPLE TREE BBQ, 820 W. Main St., 631-727-2819
What used to be called Maple Tree Deli & Market has morphed into a barbecue house with table service, as well as beer, wine and hard cider. Owner-pitmaster Kevin Judge serves up lightly smoky, moist ribs and chicken, as well as brisket. Something you won't find everywhere is house-smoked pastrami. A selection of American dishes and homey desserts rounds out the menu.
JOE'S GARAGE AND GRILL, 40 Peconic Ave., 631-591-3330
This hip race car-themed place scored a three-star review, thanks to chef Brian Burner's skillful from-scratch cooking and in-house smoking. Try the Tokyo Drift sliders, steamed Asian buns, enfolding succulent house-smoked pork belly, kimchee and cucumber salsa. Or the smoked turkey potpie, served in an iron skillet with a biscuit topping.
Petulant Wino, 739 Main Rd., 631-779-3900
This oddly named wine bar takes over the wide-porched building that housed Comtesse Thérèse Bistro. General manager Courtney Schaudel co-owns the place with her chef-restaurateur dad, Tom Schaudel. From chef Lenny Campanelli's kitchen come such small plates as baked oysters and pork belly tacos, plus charcuterie, raw bar items and a few larger plates. The wine list is half Long Island, half eclectic-international, with most bottles less than $50; a few premium wines will be on tap.
SMITTY'S, 96 Main Rd., 631-998-3565
Smitty's brings some serious restaurant cred to Aquebogue's All Star Lanes bowling alley. The striking rustic decor (owner Chris Smith is a local architect who has designed restaurants all over the country) is matched by the contemporary menu of chef John Nordin's, formerly of Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck. Look for upscale comfort food (truffle meatloaf), Southern specialties (fried chicken, BBQ ribs) and pasta (orecchiette with Italian sausage and shrimp) among the global influences.
GREENPORT HARBOR BREWING COMPANY, 42155 Main Rd., 631-477-6681
Watch for the July reopening of this local brewery, which is relocating from Greenport. While the kitchen won't be operational this summer, a variety of food trucks (from places such as The North Fork Table & Inn in Southold and Lucharitos in Greenport) will offer edibles to go with the quaffs. To figure out which truck will be there and when, you'll be able to consult an online food-truck calendar.
CJ'S AMERICAN GRILL, 10095 Main Rd., Unit 8, 631-315-5311
Embedded in the Mattituck Plaza shopping center, this newcomer offers an affordably priced New American grill menu from chef-owner Chris Richards and chef de cuisine Brian Arbesfeld. You'll find such choices as a burger, local lobster roll and an Asian-style Crescent Farm duck spring roll. Grab a bottle from the Long Island wine wall; all are $25.
PACE'S DOCKSIDE / STRONG'S WATER CLUB & MARINA, 2255 Wickham Ave., 631-315-5252
Pace's Dockside has quietly dropped anchor in the marina space that once hosted Touch of Venice. Although sharing partial ownership with Pace's Steak House in Hauppauge, this new place focuses on local bounty: Crescent Farm duck wings, baked local clams, swordfish Milanese. There also are three steaks and house- made pasta dishes. There's outdoor dining as well as a tiki bar and poolside tables.
UNCLE JOE'S PIZZA & RESTAURANT , 13500 Main Rd., 631-298-8910
This ultracasual new pizzeria and Italian eatery is owned by the same family behind the long-standing Uncle Joe's in Hampton Bays. Along with pizza, find a full Italian menu with such items as rice ball Parmigiana, fettuccine carbonara and shrimp scampi. Order at the counter and your food will be brought to you.
SOUTHOLD FISH MARKET & SEAFOOD TAKEOUT, 64755 Main Rd., 631-765-3200
A local favorite, this seafood market has relocated to larger digs and now features an eat-in/takeout menu along with plenty of cafe seating. You'll find such straightforward seafood classics as charbroiled oysters, Manhattan clam chowder, fish and chips and a seafood salad wrap. Later this summer, the place will have a raw bar, too.
WEDNESDAY'S TABLE, 53345 Main Rd., 631-876-5251
Open every day but Wednesday, this breakfast and lunch restaurant is owned by Vietnam-born sisters Lena Tanzi and Linh Trieu. On the menu are five types of buttermilk biscuits, breakfast sandwiches, bánh mì (the classic Vietnamese hogie), mushroom-truffled grilled cheese and braised short ribs.
1943 PIZZA BAR, 308D Main St., 631-477-6985
Matthew Michel, owner of the Rolling In Dough Pizza Truck, used a $250,000 Chase Bank grant to launch two Stirling Square enterprises. The 1943 Pizza Bar, which takes over the former Prep space, has an open kitchen and a simple pizza and salad menu. Some outdoor seating, too.
BRIX AND RYE, 308 A Main St., 631-477-6984
In the Stirling Square space where Meet used to be, is this small bar, connected through the basement to the 1943 Pizza Bar. It will serve the same menu as the pizza place. Both places aim to stay open year-round.
VINO N VITTLES, 110 Front St., 631-333-2700
At this Greenport eatery, newly installed in the former digs of Pagano's Little Italian Place, local wines on tap come with a menu of what manager Bryan Villanti called "easy food" -- chicken wings, Long Island clams casino, crabcakes, jambalaya and a lobster-bacon salad roll. Chef Daniel Wajdik formerly cooked at Blackstone Steakhouse in Melville.
SPECIALTEA HOUSE, 455 Main St., 631-477-2265
Slated to open sometime after July 4, this tearoom adjoining the Special Effects Salon & Spa will offer light breakfasts as well as formal afternoon tea, complete with pots of tea and tiered platters of tea sandwiches, pastries and scones. Also on the roster: cheese plates and gluten-free options. Additional seating in an outdoor garden with courtyard and arbor.
THE HARBOR RAW BAR & LOUNGE, 440 West Lake Dr., 631-668-8260
Executive chef Pierre Rougey, formerly of Barrique and Emerson's in Babylon, focuses on small plates at this 50-seater. The fare takes in a raw bar with oysters and Montauk fluke crudo, plus dishes such as kung pao mussels, surf-and-turf tacos with short ribs and fried flounder, grilled octopus, farro risotto and lobster flambéed with whiskey. The Harbor is at the site previously occupied by the Cross Eyed Clam.
GURNEY'S MONTAUK RESORT & SEAWATER SPA, 290 Old Montauk Hwy., 631-668-2345
The beachfront resort, known for decades as Gurney's Inn, is under new ownership. As part of the major renovation and update, the dining areas have been remade, too. The Sea Grille has been succeeded by the Seawater Grill; Cafe Monte by the Market. You'll still find steamed lobster, but also foie gras and waffles, oysters Rockefeller fritters, sushi and a taste of molecular cuisine from executive chef Seth Levine, of Manhattan's Hotel Chantelle and formerly Sons of Essex. The food-and-beverage manager is Jennifer Oz LeRoy, formerly of Tavern on the Green and the Russian Tea Room.
WESTLAKE FISH HOUSE, 352 West Lake Dr., 631-668-3474
Westlake Fish House moves into the ex-site of the unrelated West Lake Clam & Chowder House, which relocates to the harborside address long occupied by 24-hour Salivar's, the fishermen's favorite. Westlake Fish House chef Larry Kolar's cuisine includes fluke ceviche, fish tacos, a swordfish BLT, fish and chips, golden tilefish with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms, and monkfish with Tuscan kale, chorizo and white beans. There's also hanger steak and a two-patty sirloin burger.
NATURALLY GOOD FOODS & CAFE, 779 Main St., no phone yet
Naturally Good, a Montauk staple, is slated to soon go into the Montauk Highway/Main Street site of now-gone MTK Cafe, bringing its organic breakfast and lunch specialties, as well as dinner, to the restaurant. Naturally Good's original location, at 38 S. Etna Ave., becomes a seasonal, grab-and-go store.
DOPPIO EAST, 126 Main St., no phone yet
The newest branch of a mini-chain with locations in Huntington, downtown Manhattan and Greenwich, Connecticut, Doppio East has moved into the former Madison & Main space. It serves homemade pastas, brick-oven pizza and panini on house-baked breads. Live music, nightly specials on drinks and small plates contribute to a lively bar scene that will spill out onto Main Street in the coming months.
HARLOW EAST, 1 Long Wharf, 631-725-5858
One of Sag Harbor's mainstays, B.Smith's, has made way for Harlow East, an offshoot of Manhattan restaurateur Richie Notar's Lombardy Hotel restaurant of the same name. With nautical decor to match the Long Wharf location, Harlow serves lunch and dinner indoors and out on the expansive deck, with breakfast coming soon. The menu features items from the city restaurant, plus new dishes inspired by local seafood and produce. A plus for sailors docked in the harbor: boat-side service.
PAGE AT 63 MAIN, THE BACK PAGE MARKET AND CAFE, 63 Main St., 631-725-1810
Spring and summer are bringing big changes for this Main Street restaurant. James Carpenter, a veteran East End chef, has come onboard to revamp the menu with a focus on local ingredients, including David Falkowski's mushrooms, Art Ludlow's Mecox Bay Dairy cheese and Howard Pickerell's Peconic Pride oysters from Noyac. Another draw for fans of sustainable food: an aquaponic system installed in the restaurant's back dining room, where filtered water from three fish tanks nourishes salad greens that are cut fresh for daily specials. The restaurant will soon open a cafe and takeout shop on Division Street, behind its Main Street location, where it will serve organic breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, as well as juices, organic beer and wine.
HARBOR MARKET AND KITCHEN, 184 Division St., 631-725-4433
Paul Del Favero, longtime chef at Nick & Toni's in East Hampton and for many years head of Bobby Flay's Las Vegas kitchen, has returned to the East End to open this market and cafe. Catering to a year-round crowd and open from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day, it will serve family-style favorites and plenty of healthy options (Del Favero's partner in the business is a vegetarian) to stay or go. Look for a late-summer opening.
SIENNA RESTAURANT & ULTRALOUNGE, 44 Three Mile Harbor Rd., 631-604-6060
This restaurant-nightclub on Three Mile Harbor debuted last summer, but for its sophomore season it returns with a brand-new menu designed by Manhattan chef, restaurateur, and TV personality Donatella Arpaia. Modern Italian cooking will be the focus, and, yes, Arpaia's prizewinning spicy meatballs will be available in addition to lighter options that Hamptons diners gravitate toward in the summertime. She won't be in the kitchen every night, but will be there from time to time to lend some "Iron Chef" glamour (she's a regular judge on the Food Network show) to the place. At 11:30, tables are cleared, DJs arrive and the space morphs into a dance club with Saturday night cabaret shows.
BAY KITCHEN BAR, 39 Gann Rd., 631-329-3663
The Hamptons restaurant merry-go-round started spinning in April, when chef Eric Miller, who last summer helmed the kitchen at Madison & Main, opened Bay Kitchen Bar in the space formerly occupied by Bostwick's, The Boat House and Andrra. On Three Mile Harbor near Gardiners Bay, the restaurant features indoor and outdoor seating with pretty views and marina access for boaters. The focus is on seafood, with local tuna, calamari, fluke and striped bass featured prominently on the menu.
RED STIXS, 1020 Montauk Hwy., 631-726-6200
Beijing duck has replaced grilled octopus on Montauk Highway in Water Mill. After a good run, Trata has closed, and the modern barnlike space it occupied now houses Red Stixs, whose chef, Skinny Mei, spent the past nine years at Philippe in midtown Manhattan, working under the well-known Philippe Chow. The place has a whole new design and decor, with beautiful black lacquered floors and a red, black and white color scheme. A dim sum chef will be on hand to make a variety of dumplings and hand-pulled noodles. Entrees are served family-style for two to three, and range from chicken in garlic sauce ($48) to surf and turf (filet mignon and two lobster tails for $135). A 7-pound Beijing duck is $79. On the lighter side, Red Stixs features a selection of satays and lettuce wraps.
FINANCIER PATISSERIE, 760 Montauk Hwy.
The Manhattan mini-chain of French pastry shops has taken over the space where Foody's used to be (and putting those ovens to good use). It'll be serving freshly baked croissants and fair trade organic coffee from its Brooklyn roastery. A perfect treat when you've finished your SoulCycle workout next door. The pastry shop's full line of breakfast items, including muffins, scones and a variety of French pastries, also will be available. Later in the summer, look for an expanded menu of grab-and-go sandwiches and salads, convenient for taking to the beach.
BRIDGEHAMPTON INN, 2266 Montauk Hwy., 631-537-3660
Hamptons foodie Sybille van Kempen, owner of popular takeout shop Loaves & Fishes in Sagaponack and the Loaves & Fishes Cookshop in Bridgehampton, also has run this charming inn for many years. A new 50-seat restaurant and bar on the ground floor is phase one of its expansion (more rooms will be added in the fall) from bed-and-breakfast to a full-service hotel. The Colonial-era dining room and bar have been beautifully renovated to preserve their historic charm. The vermilion dining chairs are inviting and comfortable. Van Kempen, herself a classically trained chef, has hired popular North Fork chef Arie Pavlou (of the late Comtesse Thérèse Bistro in Aquebogue) to create weekly menus using many local and seasonal ingredients. The dishes are refined with some contemporary twists. Recent appetizers have included seared foie gras with strawberry rhubarb ($24), asparagus over olive bread with sage vinaigrette ($12) and Shinnecock scallop tartare ($18). Main courses have included fluke en papillote ($38), roast double cut pork chop with lentils ($38) and a roast fruit and vegetable bowl ($22).
JUICE PRESS, 2486 Montauk Hwy., 212-777-0034, ext. 17
This rapidly expanding Manhattan chain has opened its second store in the Hamptons (the first debuted last summer on Main Street in Southampton). Although it's primarily a source for freshly pressed juices, the shop carries a large selection of raw foods to eat on cafe tables and benches or to take out. Breakfast items include raw oatmeal, chia seed pudding and vegan (not raw) bagels made with sprouted whole wheat. Perfect for taking to the beach: Guacamole with flax crackers, summer kelp noodles, marinated kale salad and coconut "ceviche" with coconut meat, bell peppers, onions and tomatoes.
SHELTER ISLAND HEIGHTS
KATANA RESTAURANT AND SUSHI BAR AT MAISON BLANCHE, 11 Stearns Point Rd., 631-749-5659
Located in the chic La Maison Blanche Hotel, Katana has begun to serve up Thai and Indonesian specialties. Proprietor and executive chef Alexander Lehnen has helmed kitchens in New York City, Jackson Hole and Aspen. His menu includes steamed PEI mussels with coconut milk and lemongrass, and yellowfin tuna with soba noodle salad. Serving drinks such as the Hanoi highball (gin, watermelon juice, mint, lemon). A sustainable sushi bar, manned by Aspen sushi chef Kris Kastle, is to debut June 9.