Thursday, December 25, 2008

Mark and Lynn are impressed by The Patio's bartender in West Hampton but the food gets an incomplete...




The Patio in West Hampton NY is a low key iconic (with a small "i") place in low key West Hampton (low key for one of the Hamptons). It has been around for almost 80 years and because of the proximity of the place to the West Hampton Beach Theatre it has hosted many a famous performer (most recently, Susan Lucci according to the manager).

Lynn and I ate there on the fly recently, trying to get something to eat before a performance at the WHB Theatre. We had some items from the bar menu including fried calamari, and fried zucchini & lemon chips. A very expert bartender made nice drinks for us including a negroni which she made without batting an eye (even great bartender we know are sometimes thrown by this somewhat obscure drink). The food was good, not great and we were there by ourselves as we dined at the bar at an offbeat time (around 3:30) which throws off the dining experience.

The Patio gets a bit of an incomplete from M & L. Great drinks, pretty good bar food...Will give it another shot soon...

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cheesecake Factory at Smith Haven Mall (Lake Grove NY) is a First Rate chain...



Last year a guy got mad at Mark for breaking in line to put his name on the list to get in the Cheesecake Factory at Smithhaven Mall in Centereach. Mark is known for his gentlemanly demeanor and he took exception to this and gave the guy a nice thrashing. Then, Mark and Lynn went and had a nice lunch at this high end guilty pleasure. Mark and Lynn are not big chain restaurant connoisseurs but Cheesecake Factory raises the bar by offering one of the best bargains in food on Long Island with the 1/2 price bar menu from 4-6. The chain serves great small plates within this menu like Calamari, and chopped salad. The restaraunt has plenty of lightweight drinks like a whisky sour, fruit martinis and the like. However, there are also excellent, top shelf spirits like Belvedere and Hennessey. First rate second rate stuff...

(Hampton Blues part 1)-Citarella in East Hampton is fine, except for the customers...


Citarella is a kind of mini-whole foods with great offerings of cheese, meat, fish and coffee (among many other things). It is the most artistic arrangement of food you are likely to see outside of Manhattan and it is nearly impossible to take because of the customers. The atmosphere is an almost comic stereotype of the pushy New Yorker who is obnoxious and competitive to the core. People crowd the deli counter in yoga pants and Ivy League sweatshirts with only one thought in mind: Getting my half pound of cous cous first! Needless to say, this kind of thing cuts into the fun of Citarella and Mark and Lynn are all about fun especially when it comes to this kind of thing. As with Rowdy Hall which you will read about in the next post, Citarella is merely an accomplice in this, but somehow it counts against them the same...

2 Pantigo Rd.
East Hampton, NY

(Hampton Blues Part 2) Rowdy Hall in East Hampton is a great restaraunt, except for the customers...



Mark and Lynn have been going to Rowdy Hall for years and we will no doubt continue to go there for years to come. It is a great place to grab a bite before or after a movie and it is the rare place that has a lot of consistent, unbroken energy through the afternoon so that even if you eat lunch at 2:30 there is usually a nice crowd and a full staff.

The bad about Rowdy Hall is that it is often crowded with clueless patrons who lack even the most basic ideas about courtesy. This is especially true with regard to the bar which is well-stocked with fine beers, good, inexpensive wines and a mixture of old school and hip spirits. The space of the bar is small and it can feel crowded even with five patrons. It is rare that Mark and Lynn sit at the bar without some jerk acting annoying in some form or fashion. There behavior is mostly of the variety of being passive aggressive and not letting you move to a seat. There is little a place can do about this kind of thing and it is typical of the Hamptons where the entitlement of the citizens is often unbecoming.

The good is that the food is excellent pub fare with great, beefy fish and chips, elegant frise salad and the best and coolest bartender in the Hamptons, Dermont...
Go and enjoy, but consider yourself warned.

10 Main St.
East Hampton, NY
T: 631.324.8555
www.rowdyhall.com

Tate's Bake Shop in Southampton is touched with perfection...




Tate's Bake Shop in Southampton, NY has always been a particular favorite of Lynn's for its great, inexpensive cookies, brownies and most of all the great Marie Antionette cake. The staff has always been helpful and composed with a real commitment to service and cordiality. As with other places Mark and Lynn love, it is harder to write about places touched by perfection...

43 North Sea Rd.
Southampton, NY
T: 631.283.9830
www.tatesbakeshop.com

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Salsa Salsa raises the bar for creative Mexican food in Bayport, Long Island...




Salsa Salsa in unfashionable Bayport is the latest offering in the Salsa Salsa Empire in Suffolk County. Lynn and I have always loved the Salsa Salsa restaurant in Port Jefferson where Chef Chris Jehle added great selections like duck to traditional Mexican dishes. They also were almost over-accommodating to Mark as he often made special requests like melting gorgonzola over the salad offerings and even concocting his own salad.

The Salsa Salsa in Bayport is a great step forward for Brookhaven as there are plenty of bloated, expensive restaurants in the area (Le Soir, Louis XVI) and plenty of junky delis but nothing to have a quick, satisfying moderately priced meal of exceptional quality. Believe me, we have looked and there is nothing in Brookhaven.

The Bayport version of Salsa Salsa brings much of the staff and spirit of the Port Jefferson version. It was great to see some familiar faces and for them to remember our preferences. We have already visited the place several times and have noticed that the restaurant has smoothed out some of its rough spots and is clicking away on par with the exceptional efficiency that we had admired in Port Jefferson. The prices remain modest and the eatery is beginning to experiment with key ingredients as the Port Jefferson SS was known to do….It is a relief to Mark and Lynn that there is no need to trek up to Port Jefferson from the South Shore of Long Island to get exceptional food in this price range (except for old time’s sake)


Salsa salsa Bayport
893 Montauk Highway
Bayport, NY 11705
Ph: 631.419.6464
Fx: 631.419.6462

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A mano Osteria and Wine Bar continues the trend of exceptional dining on the North Fork of Long Island....




A mano in Mattituck on the very beginning of the North Fork of Long Island is one of the latest entries into the ever-expanding, ever more impressive dining options on the rustic North Fork area of Long Island. Lynn and I ate there the other night and enjoyed a great swordfish and cheese plate (featuring local Catapano cheeses). Lynn had an exceptional Italian red and I had a martini that was a bit of a misfire as it appeared to be stirred, not shaken (with a warmish glass no less). This is small complaint, however as the service was sublime and the menu full of reasonable choices (especially with regard to the pizza and starters). The trend towards excellent dining with local food and wine on the North Fork continues...

www.amanorestaurant.com
13550 Main Road | Mattituck, N.Y. 11952 | Tel # 631-298-4800

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I (Mark) have written for The Christian Science Monitor, Clear Magazine, Picture Magazine, Film Score Monthly, Dan's Papers, Rue Morgue, In Flight USA and a lot more publications that I can't remember.... My wife Lynn was a model with the Ford Agency and her photography has been featured in most of the publications I have written for...

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