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First bite: Almond in Bridgehampton

Eggplant three ways appetizer at Almond restaurant, Bridgehampton.

Eggplant three ways appetizer at Almond restaurant, Bridgehampton. Photo by Teresa Gianotti Photo Credit: Teresa Gianotti/

What's good about this first bite is that it's even better than the last one.

Now residing at the corner spot where Ocean Road meets Route 27 in Bridgehampton, Almond's handsome new shell is an ideal fit. From the grand tin ceiling to the polished bar, the updated place looks terrific. Co-owners Jason Weiner and Eric Lemonides have made a very smooth transition from the previous address, just west of here on Montauk Highway, where  Almond opened in 2001.

Weiner's cuisine,  French-Mediterranean bistro-style fare, quickly could turn you into a regular. Excellent starters include eggplant three ways, with savory caponata, mild baba ghanoush and a delectable croquette with goat cheese; and a refreshing, thinly sliced baby artichoke salad. His main courses range from a first-class strip steak Bordelaise and roast chicken with garlicky potatoes to pan-roasted local fluke accented with fennel and charred leeks and a husky burger with a mountain of fries. Mandatory sides: delicate chive gnocchi and husky cheese fries Quebecoise.

The chocolate pot-de-creme is crowned with salted almonds. And the clever strawberry-rhubarb "pop tart" combines seasonal flavor with nostalgia. Both recommended.

Of course, Almond is packed. It should be, all summer and all year.

Almond, 1 Ocean Rd., Bridgehampton; 631-537-5665.

Eggplant three ways at Almond.

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