15 Main St. Southampton, NY 631-283-6443
On a day when you feel particularly deserving, treat yourself to lunch at Silver's, a Southampton institution. Lunch is the only meal chef-owner Garrett Wellins serves, and he does credit to it.Hours: Monday-Sunday: 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Reservations: Not Accepted Credit cards: Accepted
On a day when you feel particularly deserving, treat yourself to lunch at Silver's, a Southampton institution. Lunch is the only meal chef-owner Garrett Wellins serves, and he does credit to it. The restaurant itself is a living tribute to the past and to family. It was in 1923 that Wellins' maternal grandparents opened Silver's as a cigar store and newsstand. It became a restaurant during the mid-1960s, under Wellins' father, Dan, who, during his life, was a serious gastronome. You'll want to admire the bistro's dark antique wood magazine shelves and marble counter as well as the Impressionistic paintings that hang everywhere, all by Wellins' late mother, Bess Silver Wellins. Wonderful warm, crusty bread comes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, salt, garlic and fresh parsley. At first glance, you may think the menu prices seem more appropriate to dinner than to lunch -- and, in another part of Long Island, they might be. But ask yourself if $12 seems too much to pay for the perfect BLT. Silver's' is just that, made from excellent thick grilled Tuscan bread, lots of smoky-sweet bacon, bright Romaine lettuce, sweet crimson tomatoes, just the right amount of mayonnaise. I have yet to find better crab cakes than the two fist-sized sensations savored here. Wellins makes his crab cakes almost entirely of blue claw crabmeat loosely bound with a little panko (Japanese bread crumbs) and some mayonnaise. Studded with small bits of bright chopped vegetables (an unorthodoxy, admittedly, but one that works), they're baked to a state of sheer deliciousness, served with a Thai aioli. These are the crab cakes against which I now measure all others. I can't help but consider the hamburger I had a missed opportunity. It was enormous and very good but too well-done (yes, I know it's considered dangerous to eat rare burgers). Had I been able to summon our rather detached waitress within a reasonable amount of time, I might have sent it back. Nonetheless, it was a treat, charred on the outside, juicy within. And those fries -- thin, crisp, salty, grand.
Manhattan-style clam chowder, which floated two whole littleneck clams, was a good, not fantastic, bowl of soup. A cold peach soup, ordered from the list of specials, had been made with red-fleshed peaches and captured the essence of summer fruit. Two people could easily share one bowlful. Try the sesame-crusted sushi-quality, yellowfin tuna, lightly seared then chilled and served with a terrific Japanese seaweed salad. A fine lobster roll, served on a baguette, is the most expensive menu item. Good? You bet. Worth $23? Debatable, when you're within driving distance of Montauk. A better bet is the duck confit with salad. The rich, herbed duck meat contrasts beautifully with the melange of field greens, pecans, grapes and white beans in a simple vinaigrette. Skip the ordinary French chocolate cake in favor of the buttery apple tart (ask them to hold the aerosol whipped cream, a comedown). Or get the splendid lemon mousse, light and softly citric. Pick a golden day and head to Silver's.