Wednesday, May 24, 2006

East-Enders

We are just a few days away from Memorial Day Weekend and in New York that means exactly two things; the unofficial start of summer and the very official start of the Hamptons season.

Self-proclaimed “one of the most fabulous places on Earth,” the Hamptons are also a fickle, frustrating market.

Each season, restaurants, nightclubs and retailers start out strong only to fall prey to the long, lonely winter, never to be heard from again.

I’ve been keepin’ my ear to 27 all year and there’s plenty of new faces this season. We can only predict who will make it to round two for summer '07.
I wanted to give you a brief list, but I just have too much to say. So I’m gonna keep it moving slowly, from West to East, just like the traffic.

We’ll start in Westhampton Beach. WHB has always lacked on the restaurant scene. Sure, Starr Boggs re-incarnated itself in the old Westhampton Grille spot behind town last year as a superb fine dining establishment. But as far as casual meals go, you can only eat so many quesadillas at Margarita Grille.

Thankfully, fool-proof Tony’s Asian Fusion has opened an outpost in the old Le Bistro just off of Main Street. Although the Japanese-Chinese-Thai menu may be as un-authentic as the restaurant’s name, the chain is doing something right.
With its original location in East Moriches and the largest in East Quogue, Tony’s has emerged as the only successful year-round dining franchise WOTC (that’s “west of the canal” for all you “visitors”).

It’s no Nobu, but it’s not trying to be. The sushi is fresh, the saki is potent and all locations are a damn good time if you make it.

Completely new to the scene is Annona. Located atop the Coachworks/Manhattan Motor Cars showroom on Riverhead Road, posh Annona is attempting to fit in with its’ downstairs neighbor; a sprawling marble space home to Bentleys and Ferraris. But then again, it is a car dealership and this is Westhampton, so we have to have our doubts.

But head chef Sara Jenkins and owner Rich Rubio bring modern Italian to new heights on the East End. Tickled your palette with the strawberry risotto and seared halibut after downing a “Grappa” at the bar. They’re even attempting, dare I say it, bottle service in the lounge.

In a town where nightlife has existed on tap beer and frozen margaritas, I warn them not to test their limits. But overall, Annona is a fabulous, promising new addition.

Final Word: Next post, nightlife in Southampton followed by the retail re-incarnation in EH. And I promise to get it all to you before you get in your cars, or train, or Jitney at 1pm on Friday. Or is it 3pm, or 8pm?
*PS-The above photo is DMoney (with a weave) lookin' fly on the dock in CMO.

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