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Turtle Crossing

Turtle Crossing, a restaurant in East Hampton, offers

Turtle Crossing, a restaurant in East Hampton, offers a sample plate of a barbecued quarter-chicken, two ribs, grilled corn with cotija cheese and a wedge of homemade cornbread. (June 14, 2010) Credit: Doug Young

Turtle Crossing, East Hampton's venerable spot for first-class barbecue and A-list celebrities, has de-road-housed and bistrofied for this, its 17th season.

According to co-owner Nancy Singer, the rechristened Turtle Crossing American Bistro provides lighter and wine-friendlier menu options, widens the restaurant's appeal to the barbecue-averse and uses more local produce and fish. (Barbecued ribs and chicken have stayed on the menu; on weekends, brisket and pulled pork are available.)

The decor, once cowboy-chic, is now just plain chic. Still evident is a vibe of rollicking good times, and the crowd is still a mix of hungry families and lean scenesters. Folks loiter in the spacious bar, waiting for tables or takeout, drinking, schmoozing and watching the game.

Chef Arthur Wolf's menu is full of exuberant new creations, such as truffled deviled eggs as well as the deservedly old favorite, corn on the cob showered with chiles, cotija cheese and lime.

After starters (above) and a terrific iceberg wedge salad with oranges, hazelnuts, fried shallots and jalapeño ranch dressing, we availed ourselves of four of Wolf's innovative "pieces" -- entrée-ish items available by the piece to allow for greater flexibility: a gigantic and tasty shrimp upended on a rather confused mélange of fresh herbs and stir-fried cabbage; a partially deboned (and entirely delicious) smoked-then-grilled quail reclining on a Cheddar biscuit alongside bacon-enhanced creamed corn; a tender and smoky Berkshire pork chop; a decorous crab cake that seemed to have wandered in from a less interesting kitchen.

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