Lobster Lovers’ Delight in the Hamptons
For many people, a trip to the Hamptons without savoring lobster is akin to visiting Italy without indulging in gelato or staying in New Orleans without once eating a beignet. The difficulty is not finding a restaurant in the Hamptons that offers lobster in some form but rather deciding which one to try first. Below are some favorites of locals and visitors alike.
78 Foster Avenue, Hampton Bays
Wednesday night is Lobster Night at this restaurant/bar, with specially priced 1.25-pound lobsters. It is also Bingo Night, incidentally, where you can win prizes and enjoy drink specials. That is not to say you cannot savor lobster every other day of the week here. Boiled lobsters, with lemon and drawn butter of course, are available in sizes up to 2.5 pounds; also on the menu are Connecticut-style hot lobster rolls (with the meat complemented only by seasoned drawn butter) and New England-style cold lobster rolls (made with mayo and celery). Those who prefer other types of seafood can kick off their meal with steamed Shinneock clams, conch fritters, or crab cake served with a tropical fruit salsa before proceeding to shrimp or flounder tacos, all manner of fried seafood, or grilled salmon or swordfish. There are also options for those who eschew seafood altogether: salads; beef, turkey, or black-bean burgers; grilled New York strip steak served with fries, arugula-tomato salad, bacon-bleu cheese butter, and a balsamic reduction; and a barbecued-chicken wrap, among others. You will probably want a table on the deck amid the potted palms and tiki umbrellas. But because the dining room is surrounded by windows, you will almost feel as if you are eating alfresco even while indoors.
3253 Noyac Road, Sag Harbor
Wednesday night is Lobster Night at the Bell & Anchor as well, and again lobster is available on every other day of the week as well. Overall, though, the menu and the ambience here are a bit more uptown than those of 78 Foster. The steamed whole lobster, for instance, is served with green beans and fingerling potatoes. Another lobster-centric entree is something of a house specialty: chunks of steamed lobster in a creamy sauce with corn, basil, and saffron served over garganelli pasta. Other main dishes include bouillabaisse made with fish, lobster tail, mussels, clams, and shrimp; chicken breast with wild-mushroom risotto and broccoli rabe; apple-soy-cured pork chop with potato puree, ginger butter, and a port glaze; and for vegans, pineapple-cashew quinoa with spinach, roasted cauliflower, pickled vegetables, and coconut curry sauce. Grilled shrimp and cheesy grits with crispy pork belly is a Southern-flavored way to begin your meal, and coconut cake with toasted coconut and fudge-swirl ice cream a blissful way to end it. Accompany your meal with a selection from the well-rounded wine menu or a cocktail, either nonalcoholic (the Lavender Lemon Fizz is especially refreshing) or potent (Sailor’s Delight includes gin, Cointreau, Lillet, and absinthe).
277 Pantigo Road, East Hampton
Lobster rolls, not chowder, are the best-selling menu items at Bostwick’s Chowder House. You do not have to choose between Connecticut-style or New England-style: This eatery has both, which you can enjoy outdoors or in. Steamed lobsters, served with corn on the cob and coleslaw, are another way to satisfy your crustacean craving, as are the crabmeat-stuffed lobsters. Those who believe one cannot live by lobster alone can begin their meal with shrimp, oysters, and clams from the raw bar, one of several salads, or even buffalo wings. And of course there is the titular chowder—New England clam, Manhattan clam, and corn—along with lobster bisque. Entrees include grilled fish, blackened fish, fried codfish, and lobster tacos, a variety of fried seafood platters, and burgers. The drinks menu will please teetotalers and imbibers alike, with several iced-teas, juices, and frozen virgin daiquiris and coladas as well as cocktails such as the Pom Beach Ocean Wave, made with Ocean organic vodka, Pama pomegranate liqueur, cranberry juice, and a dash of orange juice.
One Long Wharf, Sag Harbor
A traditional seafood shack, the Dock House is not the place for donning your finery and dining amid crystal stemware and starched linen napkins. It is, however, a place for ultrafresh seafood. Hot or cold cracked lobsters, Connecticut-style lobster rolls, and lobster BLTs on a baguette are only a few of the fresh-from-the-sea options. Along with fried platters of clam strips, oysters, soft-shell crabs, and other delights are grilled platters of tuna, swordfish, salmon, spicy shrimp, and the like for more-health-conscious diners.
252 East Montauk Avenue, Hampton Bays
Along with the de rigueur boiled lobster and lobster rolls, Out of the Blue offers a lobster bake, served with other shellfish as well as a baked potato and corn on the cob. Twin lobster tail, with optional stuffing, and surf-and-turf—a seven-ounce filet alongside a 1.5-pound lobster—are among the entrees, and the pasta offerings include lobster mac-and-cheese. Other dishes that set this restaurant apart include a starter of tuna, salmon, and swordfish smoked on the premises; the seared ahi tuna appetizer with hoisin sauce, wasabi, and ginger; mussels fra diavolo over linguine; and seafood paella. Lest you worry that Out of the Blue is straying too far from its seafood-shack roots, rest assured you can still order baskets of fried seafood and buckets of steamed shellfish too.
94 Main Street, East Hampton
Dockside cabins and shacks are not the only places in the Hamptons where you can treat yourself to a lobster dinner. Located in the serene and charming Huntting Inn, the Palm East Hampton, like its sister Palm restaurants, has something of a Manhattan steakhouse vibe, though airier and brighter. In fact, steaks do make up a sizable portion of its entrees. But you can also tuck into a broiled Nova Scotia lobster and start your meal with lobster bisque. Other, equally enticing appetizers include blistered shishito peppers and bacon-wrapped sea scallops with watermelon, radish, and jicama slaw. Crab cakes are available as a starter or a main, and several Italian dishes such as veal marsala are also among the entrees. The fresh corn served with pancetta and caramelized pearl onions is a summertime must-have side dish.
42 Montauk Highway, Southampton
Of course Shinnecock Lobster Factory sells lobster rolls, in sizes up to eight ounces. Rather than offering just Connecticut or New England style, six varieties are on the menu, including Classic (with mayo and fresh lemon), BLT (featuring applewood-smoked bacon), Hamptons (with drawn butter and chives), and spicy Cajun (topped with marinated peppers). Whole lobsters are available steamed or grilled, as are lobster mac-and-cheese, lobster tacos, lobster fritters, lobster salad, and lobster fra diavolo. Another specialty are the Sea Burgers; these include a lobster melt served on a panini, a grilled sushi-grade salmon patty on a brioche bun with a balsamic reduction, and crab cake on a bun with chipotle mayonnaise. Vegetarians can tuck into a sandwich of roasted portobello mushrooms and bell peppers topped with melted cheese, and just about everyone will want a side of local sweet corn on the cob, grilled, steamed, or rolled with Mexican spices and Parmesan cheese.
369 Dune Road, Hampton Bays
The view of the yachts moored on the marina leading out to Great Peconic Bay is almost reason enough to stop by Sundays on the Bay, which has seating and bars both indoors and out. Add to the view steamed lobsters with or without shrimp-and-scallop stuffing, a raw bar featuring oysters, clams, and both shrimp and lobster cocktails, and dishes to satisfy meat lovers and vegetarians as well, and this eatery is almost impossible to resist. Those who prefer their seafood sans shells will enjoy the flounder Veracruz, with tomato sauce, olives, capers, peppers, and onions, or the grilled Atlantic salmon served over summer corn puree with pico de gallo, guacamole, and tortilla strips. Beef eaters can choose from grilled ribeye fillet, hanger steak, and New York strip with more than a half-dozen sauce options, included chimichurri, roasted shallot butter, and a red-wine demi-glace. Vegetarians can opt for house-made pappardelle with zucchini, squash, tomatoes, shallots, garlic, and scallion pesto.