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Offseason dining in the Hamptons

A Berkshire pork chop is served at The

A Berkshire pork chop is served at The Living Room restaurant at The Maidstone Hotel in East Hampton. Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant, 2009

The crowds are gone. The food often is better. And it's a little like a brief vacation. Welcome to the Hamptons in winter, specifically to restaurants that stay open year-round. There are plenty of them.

Here's a sampler, picked for quality and variety.

ALMOND (three stars)

1 Ocean Rd., Bridgehampton

631-537-5665

almondrestaurant.com

Almond, the best of the Hamptonian bistros, relocated to this corner address in summer. It's open Monday to Thursday, 6 to 11 p.m., and 6p.m. to midnight Friday. Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m., for weekend brunch, too, as well as dinner. Recommended: steak frites, steak au poivre, hamburger with Roquefort cheese, roast chicken, duck confit salad, linguine with clams, chocolate pot de crème. $$-$$$

EAST HAMPTON GRILL (three stars)

99 N. Main St.,

East Hampton

631-329-6666

easthamptongrill.com

East Hampton Grill is open for dinner seven nights, from 5:30 until 9:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and till 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The handsome, American restaurant is in the dramatically overhauled space that used to house Della Femina. Recommended: buttery biscuits, oysters, crabcakes, cheeseburger, pan-fried Dover sole, prime rib roast, crisp chicken po'boy, apple-walnut cobbler. $$$

LITTLE/RED (two stars)

76C Jobs Lane, Southampton

631-283-3309

littleredsouthampton.com

At this cozy offspring of red/bar brasserie near Agawam Park, lunch is available Wednesday to Sunday, 11:30a.m. to 2:45 p.m., with an "inbetween" menu at the bar 3 to 5p.m., and dinner from 5:30 p.m. Closed Monday. Recommended: fluke crudo, frisée salad, cheeseburger, roast chicken, fish-and-chips with lemon-tarragon aioli, dark chocolate marquise with candied hazelnuts. $$-$$$

THE LIVING ROOM (three stars)

207 Main St., East Hampton

631-324-5006

careofhotels.com

The Living Room, situated in c/o The Maidstone, is open every day from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's a bright, friendly country stop with a Scandinavian accent. Recommended: gravlax; carpaccio; Swedish "bouillabaisse" with cod, squid and shellfish; grilled hanger steak Bordelaise, grilled Berkshire pork tenderloin, potato pancake with caviar, cranberry-walnut tart. $$$

PHAO (two stars)

29 Main St., Sag Harbor

631-725-0101

phaorestaurant.com

Phao, a taste of Hamptons' Thai, is open Tuesday to Thursday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Closed Sunday and Monday. Recommended: roti paratha, or flatbread with yellow curry dipping sauce; spicy hanger steak with cilantro dressing; green-curry chicken; pad Thai with chicken and shrimp; tom ka gai soup with chicken and coconut broth. $$

TOWNLINE BBQ (two stars)

3593 Montauk Hwy., Sagaponack

631-537-2271

townlinebbq.com

Townline's winter hours are Thursday to Monday, 11:30 a.m. to 10p.m., which gives you just enough time to go through the whole, full-flavored menu. The joint has a distinctive style, as you'd expect from the owners of Nick & Toni's in East Hampton -- also open in winter. Recommended: beef ribs, pork ribs, smoked brisket, pulled pork, "burnt ends," hush puppies, vegetarian chili, and beef chili. $-$$

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