Just as Friday evening traffic on Montauk Highway is a sure bet, there will always be a gaggle of new restaurants debuting at this time of year on the East End.
Several trends are evident this season. Two Greek places (Calissa and Elaia Estiatorio) are opening within minutes of each other on the South Fork. City chefs (Frank DeCarlo of Peasant and Galen Zamarra of Mas) are discovering the North Fork. Exclusivity will rule at Manhattan offshoots of Le Bilboquet in Sag Harbor and Eleven Madison Park in Amagansett.
Who knows which of these spots will live to see another summer, but the smart money is on second locations of already successful eateries Wölffer Kitchen, Vine Street Café, and Dopo La Spiaggia.
Dopo La Spiaggia
Dopo La Spiaggia (31 Race Lane, East Hampton): During the winter, Maurizio Marfoglia opened a second location of his popular Sag Harbor Italian spot in the handsome The Laundry location most recently occupied by Race Lane. The menu is similar but not identical to the original. Starters include a standout tuna tartare with marinated cucumbers and avocado, and a fritto misto with shrimp, calamari and squash. There are homemade pastas such as the cavatelli with wine and veal ragu, fish and seafood including pan-seared black cod with farro and purple kale, and meat dishes such as veal scaloppini with prosciutto, white wine sauce and caponata. More info: 631-658-9063, dopolaspiaggia.com
Scallop crudo with caviar, sea beans and lemon, as served at Dopo la Spiaggia.
Wölffer Kitchen Amagansett
Wölffer Kitchen Amagansett (4 Amagansett Square Dr., Amagansett): After the success of Wölffer Kitchen in Sag Harbor, sibling vintners Joey and Mark Wölffer are opening their second wine-inspired restaurant, where Meeting House once operated in Amagansett Square. A colorful redesign (Joey Wölffer’s whimsical and eclectic lifestyle brand is sold at a brick-and-mortar store in Sag Harbor) has refreshed the space. Many of the dishes use Wölffer wine and grapes. Peconic oysters are served with a verjus mignonette. The “summer in a bowl” salad has veggies, stone fruit and a rose vinaigrette. New York sirloin boasts a Wölffer Bordelaise. In addition, there will be wine-friendly tapas (grilled calamari, fried sardines, guacamole and chips), wood-fired pizzas and local wines galore. More info: 631-267-2764, amagansett.wolfferkitchen.com
Littleneck clams served with chorizo, garbanzos, zucchini "noodles" served at Wölffer Kitchen Amagansett.
Claude's (91 Hill St., Southampton): The Southampton Inn has updated its restaurant with a name change and a new menu. Claude’s will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and modest prices. Lobster roll sliders, a grilled farm veggie sandwich, Caesar salad and burgers are all on the menu. There will be plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free choices. In addition to an indoor dining room, there are courtyard tables shaded by colorful umbrellas. A poolside patio and bar will feature floats, shakes and tropical drinks as well as Claude’s lunch menu served from 3 to 7 p.m. More info: 631-283-6500, southamptoninn.com
Bundt cake with fruit, served at Claude's in Southampton.
Calissa (1020 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill): This Greek restaurant, managed by the team behind Amali, Periyali and Il Cantinori in the city, replaces the short-lived Red Stixs. A menu of small and large shareable plates focuses on local seafood. Raw fish appetizers include fluke with pickled watermelon rind, basil oil and sesame seeds. Gnocchi vongole will feature Long Island clams. Montauk dorade is served with potato, Kalamata olives and salmoriglio. Whole spring lamb or suckling pig served table-side requires one week’s notice. Summer cocktails and Greek wines will be served in indoor and outdoor spaces that flow into each other in Mediterranean style. More info: 631-500-9292, calissahamptons.com
An assortment of dips at Calissa in Water Mill.
Coast Kitchen (32 Star Island Rd., Montauk): This is the new restaurant anchoring dining at the waterside Montauk Yacht Club. The kitchen is overseen by chef Richard Hebson, formerly of First and South in Greenport. American fare is the theme. Hebson’s dishes include lobster-and-corn chowder; tuna poke; a Montauk version of cioppino, the seafood stew, with shellfish, finfish and garlic aioli; pan-tanned salmon with parsnip puree and ginger jus; pappardelle with sausage ragu; lobster Cobb salad; and cocoa-cured short ribs, with porcini-onion jam and fingerling potatoes. More info: 631-668-3100, montaukyachtclub.com
Maine lobster Cobb salad, served at Coast Kitchen in the Montauk Yacht Club.
Jobs Lane Gastro Pub
Jobs Lane Gastro Pub (10 Windmill Lane, Southampton): Chef-owner William Oster has transformed his long-running Tuscan House into a gastropub specializing in small plates, craft beers and wines by the glass. Items on the new menu include crostini with grilled duck liver, grilled octopus, wild boar chili, and crab-cod cake. Creative salads such as a lettuce wedge with smoked Guanciale instead of bacon, and a lentil, fava, farro and kale combination are hearty enough to be mains. Italian specialties include a range of pastas, panini and wood-fired pizzas. More info: 631-287-8703; jobslanegastro.pub
Pomodorini flatbread pizza at Jobs Lane Gastro Pub in Southampton.
Bistro Été (760 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill): Last year’s pop-up has found a permanent home in the old Muse space at the Water Mill shops. Chef Arie Pavlou describes his menu as Coastal French, with forays into Greece and Sicily. Classic escargot and foie gras are served alongside eggplant with saffron and pomegranate seeds. Lamb shank confit and braised short ribs will please meat eaters. But the menu is also vegetarian friendly, with mains including vegetable paella and a roasted fruit and veggie bowl. Pavlou is working almost exclusively with the organic farmers at Green Thumb across the street. You can’t get more local than that. The bar is an unpretentious place where you can get a burger and a beer any night. Sundays there will be “Rosé All Day,” with a new $30 bottle of pink wine each week. More info: 631-500-9085, bistroete.com
Grilled octopus at Bistro Été in Water Mill.
T-Bar@Kozu (136 Main St., Southampton): Upper East Side steakhouse T-Bar is popping up this summer in Southampton, in collaboration with Japanese-Peruvian restaurant Kozu. T-Bar favorites including filet mignon, prime aged bone-in rib eye, or Black Angus porterhouse will be on the menu, and come with a selection of sauces such as Bearnaise and poivre. The T-Bar Salad, with hearts of palm, green beans, tomatoes and cucumber, is also featured. For sushi fans, Kozu specialties such as the Kozu roll with unagi, avocado, foie gras and caviar will remain. There is a private dining room for parties of 20 or more, and an outdoor patio that seats 150 in good weather. More info: 631-619-6660
The T-Bar bone-in ribeye, at T-Bar@Kozu in Southampton.
Springs Tavern (15 Fort Pond Blvd., East Hampton): Formerly the tavern of choice for abstract expressionists and other thirsty locals, this spot has been cleaned up and offers casual American (and international) bar food along with karaoke, sports on TV and the occasional live music act. Appetizers include nachos, fried calamari and pulled pork sliders. A wedge salad is sprinkled with house-made pancetta, while the spinach salad is topped with a pickled egg. Entrees include pub favorites such as fish and chips and steak frites. More info: 631-527-7800, thespringstavern.com
A burger served on an onion roll at Springs Tavern in East Hampton.
Lulu Kitchen and Bar
Lulu Kitchen and Bar (126 Main St., Sag Harbor): From the owners of Arbor and Duryea’s Lobster Deck, both in Montauk, comes this glamorously renovated restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Doppio East and Paradise. The bistro-casual menu focuses on local seafood and vegetables. There are raw bar items such as Montauk pearl oysters and topneck clams. A wood-fired oven is used to roast beets and cauliflower for mains including roast organic chicken and whole black bass, and for pizzas. Open for lunch and dinner, with a late-night menu. More info: 631-725-0900, lulusagharbor.com
A lemon yuzu tarte with vanilla bean whipped crème fraîche, yuzu chantilly and crème fraîche ice cream, at Lulu Kitchen & Bar in Sag Harbor.
Harbor East (44 Three Mile Harbor Rd., East Hampton): New York restaurateurs James Willis and Andrew Molen have taken over this large venue, home to restaurants and clubs past including LEO, Pink Elephant and Tsunami. The redesigned space has an international beach vibe influenced by Willis’ love of Australia, Cote d’Azur, Capri and the tropics. Food will be beachy, too, with fresh fish preparations from around the world including fluke crudo with fennel and blood orange, soft shell crab tempura, lobster rolls and line-caught fish with clam bake accompaniments steamed over seawater. Lunch and cocktails will flow into dinner and late night.
Beef Bordelaise served at Harbor East in East Hampton.
Centro Trattoria & Bar
Centro Trattoria & Bar (336 W. Montauk Hwy., Hampton Bays): This lively 6-month-old Italian eatery serves an appealing mix of updated classics, including clams oreganata, thin-crust pizzas topped with truffled pecorino cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, and chicken Milanese. A wine list with “30 under $30” gives diners plenty of economical ways to enjoy a bottle with their meal. Craft cocktails include a Sicilian margarita with blood orange liquor and a blueberry-sage mojito. Mini cannoli and affogato (espresso with a scoop of gelato) are among the dessert choices. More info: 631-594-5744, centrohamptons.com
Chicken alla Griglia, roasted vegetables, Tuscan kale, and rich chicken jus, served at Centro Trattoria & Bar in Hampton Bays.
Hampton Coffee Company
Hampton Coffee Company (869 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill): The full-service cafe at the flagship location of this local coffee roastery recently has extended its hours into dinner. Now you can enjoy salads, soups, sandwiches and burgers until 9 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday (Sunday and Monday the kitchen closes at 5 p.m.) There are lobster rolls, salads and wraps with lobster from Stuart’s in Amagansett. Also of note, a substantial menu of Mexican specialties including tacos, fajitas and enchiladas. Southampton Public House beers and Wölffer Estate wines are available in addition to coffee drinks, juices and smoothies. More info: 631-726-2633; hamptoncoffeecompany.com
Clockwise from left, a waffle, mixed salad, and a burger with fries at Hampton Coffee Company in Water Mill.
EMP Summer House
EMP Summer House (341 Pantigo Rd., East Hampton): When Manhattan’s tony Eleven Madison Park closes shortly for renovations, Michelin-starred chef Daniel Humm and the entire restaurant staff will move to the Hamptons for 11 weeks, where tasting menus will give way to more casual fare and a number of ways to dine: an indoor dining room, outdoor tables and picnic baskets to go. It’s being advertised as the hottest ticket out east, and for the right to snag one you’ll need reservations and an Amex card, though there are some exceptions. Fare includes an appetizer of tomatoes marinated with strawberries and finished almonds, flatbreads including clam, smoked bacon, corn & parsley, and a dainty lobster boil that requires six or more diners and in high-minded fashion requires minimal work. More info: empsummerhouse.com
Fluke ceviche with cucumber and radish, at EMP Summer House in East Hampton.
The Halyard at Sound View
The Halyard at Sound View (58775 Rte. 48, Greenport): Last year, Greenport’s Sound View hotel was sold to Eagle Point Hotel Partners, SoHo-based developers of boutique hotels. The old hotel’s restaurant, a local stalwart for traditional American seafood and a matchless view of the Sound, is being transformed into The Halyard, a chic, New American restaurant operated by Galen Zamarra, chef and partner at the Manhattan restaurant Mas (farmhouse). A late June opening is expected, and the menu will feature modern interpretations of American “retro” classics and seafood offerings such as lobster beignets, duck cassoulet and whole grilled fish. More info: 631-477-0666, thehalyardgreenport.com
Steamed lobster with corn and cole slaw at The Halyard at Sound View in Greenport.
The Lucky Bee
The Lucky Bee (Bruce & Son, 208 Main St.): The Lower East Side’s hip, exuberant South Asian boîte will be popping up on weekends this summer at Bruce & Son. For the Greenport location, Australian duo Rupert Noffs and chef Matty Bennett are concentrating on seafood, with re-imagined Thai dishes such as betel leaf with poached lobster, peanut-and-chili paste, cilantro and lime; steamed whole fish with ginger and scallion; steamed sesame-pork dumplings with black vinegar and fried garlic; khao soi noodle curry with chicken, Thai basil and coconut cream. Lucky Bee will serve dinner most Fridays through Aug. 25, with some other dates as well. The complete schedule is on the restaurant’s website, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. More info: 844-364-4286, luckybeenyc.com
Pork & sesame dumplings with Chinese black vinegar at The Lucky Bee in Greenport.
Port Waterfront Bar and Grill
Port Waterfront Bar and Grill (104 Third St., Greenport): Ali and Keith Bavaro, owners of Salt on Shelter Island, have come ashore in Greenport. Their new venture, Port, takes over the old Blue Canoe location overlooking the harbor and the ferry. The small dining room and bar have been freshened, and the already generous deck has expanded into three distinct areas. Chef Michael Fortino has created a simple, stylish menu that ranges from classics such as local clams and oysters on the half shell, lobster roll, fish tacos and burgers to chowder poutine (scallop-corn chowder over waffle fries with Gruyère cheese), lobster guacamole and a burrata BLT. Open for dinner Thursday to Monday, lunch Friday to Sunday. Music most evenings. More info: 631-333-2501, portbarandgrill.com
The lobster roll at Port Waterfront Bar and Grill in Greenport.
Jennie's at Drossos
Jennie's at Drossos (Drossos Motel, 69125 Main Rd., Greenport): Weekend guests at Tick Tock Miniature Golf in Greenport are in for a treat this summer. Instead of the usual burgers and fries, the snack bar will be serving local duck schnitzel sandwiches, Korean barbecued ribs with house-made kimchee, sweet-tea-brined fried chicken and tacos filled with fresh local fish, among other globally inspired dishes. The menu is courtesy of Jennie Werts, executive chef at Wolfert’s Roost in Irvington (and formerly at Zengo and Ouest in Manhattan), who split her childhood between Greenport and Manhattan. Saturdays and Sundays through Labor Day. More info: 631-477-1339, jenniesatdrossos.com
Korean barbecue baby back ribs, at Jennies, a pop-up coming to Drossos Snack Bar and mini-golf course in Greenport.
Bruce & Son
Bruce & Son (208 Main St., Greenport): Since it opened as Bruce’s Cheese Emporium in 1974, this Main Street fixture has gradually transitioned from a specialty market to daytime cafe Bruce & Son, whose chef is founder Bruce Bollman’s son, Scott. During the winter, Scott and his wife, Kassata, did a gut renovation, jettisoning the last remnants of retail, and have re-established the business as a modern breakfast-brunch-lunch spot that uses as much local produce as possible. Dishes include avocado toast with dill, pecorino and poached eggs; steel-cut oatmeal with fruit and local bee pollen; lemon-ricotta pancakes; pressed sandwiches; short rib banh mi; and shrimp burgers. During weekend dinner hours, Bruce & Son hosts restaurant pop-ups such as The Lucky Bee (modern Thai) and PAWPAW (locavore prix fixe from North Fork chef and snail rancher Taylor Knapp). Open Thursday to Monday. More info:631-477-0023, bruceandsongreenport.com
Vanilla chia overnight oats with almond milk, stewed rhubarb, toasted almond, and chamomile blossom at Bruce & Son in Greenport.
Barba Bianca (102 Main St. Wharf, Greenport): One of the East End’s most hotly anticipated openings, Barba Bianca takes over the Preston’s Wharf structure that, from 2004 until last year, was Scrimshaw. Proprietors Frank DeCarlo and Dulcinea Benson also own the Manhattan Italian restaurants Peasant and Bacaro. Barba Bianca (“white beard”) serves local seafood whose preparations draw from the coastal traditions of Liguria, Puglia and Sardinia: fried eel, fregola with littleneck clams, grilled bluefish with arugula, skate with capers. The dining room, bar and deck have all been spruced up. Dinner will be served Thursday to Tuesday through Oct. 1. More info: 631-333-2600, barbabiancany.com
Whelk salad at Barba Bianca in Greenport.
Il Giardino (739 Main Rd. (Route 25), Aquebogue): Il Giardino opens in the cozy, former home of Petulant Wino. Restaurateur John Gambino is former owner of Baby Moon in Westhampton Beach. Here, the fare is defined by Italian and Italian-American classics. Notable dishes include the seafood salad, with nuggets of octopus added to the shrimp, calamari, scungilli and mussels; Sicilian salad starring orange and fennel; orecchiette with white beans and escarole; paccheri, similar to oversize rigatoni, tossed with zucchini, arugula and goat cheese; shrimp fra diavolo with linguine; flounder oreganata; and bread crumb-crusted rib-eye steak. More info: 631-779-3900, ilgiardinoaquebogue.com
White beans and escarole bring satsfying flavor to the rustic, Sicilian-style orecchiette at Il Giardino in Aquebogue.
Elaia Estiatorio (95 School St., Bridgehampton): This new rustic Greek restaurant is designed to resemble a Mediterranean seaside getaway. Macramé wall hangings and woven light fixtures are reminiscent of fishing nets. The light and airy interior has two intimate dining rooms and a large U-shaped bar where traditional dishes such as Greek salad, spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves, grilled octopus, lamb chops and honey cake will be served. Opening mid-June. More info: 631-613-6469, elaiaestiatorio.com
Grilled lamb chops served Greek-style, with swiss chard and roasted potatoes, at Elaia Estiatorio in Bridgehampton.
Cove Hollow Tavern
Cove Hollow Tavern (85 Montauk Hwy., East Hampton): Terry Harwood and Lisa Murphy, co-owners of the popular Vine Street Café on Shelter Island, have been busy renovating the old Café Max space in East Hampton. The stylish barnlike restaurant overlooks a horse farm and is at the corner of Cove Hollow Road, which leads straight to the beach. Says Chef Harwood, “We’ll consider ourselves a ‘surf and earth’ restaurant.” The menu will have stylistic similarities to Vine Street’s, with a focus on French and French-Vietnamese flavors and a nod to Italy. Dishes will include Vietnamese-style tuna crudo in lettuce cups with watermelon and Fresno chilies; chitarra pasta with tomatoes, chilies and a whole shelled, grilled lobster; and whole roasted crab-stuffed fluke. A triple chocolate layer cake can be ordered by the slice or purchased whole. More info: 631-527-7131, covehollowtavern.com
78 Foster Restaurant & Bar
78 Foster Restaurant & Bar (78 Foster Ave., Hampton Bays): The one-time Back Bar Grille restaurant is now owned by a longtime waitress who has given the space a complete makeover. There is more color on the once black walls and more of a summer beachside feel to this bar and grill along the Shinnecock Bay. The seafood-centric menu remains largely the same, including lobster rolls that come either hot or cold, and entrees such as sesame-crusted ahi tuna, crab-crusted sea scallops and horseradish-crusted salmon. More info: 631-594-3967, 78fosterhamptons.com
Le Bilboquet (1 Long Wharf, Sag Harbor): After almost two years of rumors, a satellite of billionaire Ron Perelman’s exclusive Upper East Side bistro Le Bilboquet has finally moved into the former B. Smith’s space on Long Wharf. Renovated and redecorated, the restaurant has a French Riviera feel, with marble-topped tables, green-and-tan wicker bistro chairs and raffia lighting fixtures. A green-tiled fireplace separates the dining room from the large bar. Tables on a large deck provide close-up views of spectacular yachts. Expect pricey classics (the restaurant’s signature Cajun chicken is sure to be on the menu) that can be enjoyed in one of the buzziest waterfront settings in the Hamptons.