Restaurants, the East End's essential summer crop, are coming in now. Some have sprouted, some are likely to pop up later. And there probably are a few that haven't been planted yet. But the season has started, and the annuals are joining the perennials.
The calendar says summer is more than two weeks away. But if you're ready to dine out, it's already here.
One of Sag Harbor's mainstays, B.Smith's, has made way for Harlow East, an offshoot of Manhattan restaurateur Richie Notar's Lombardy Hotel restaurant of the same name. With nautical decor to match the Long Wharf location, Harlow serves lunch and dinner indoors and out on the expansive deck, with breakfast coming soon. The menu features items from the city restaurant, plus new dishes inspired by local seafood and produce. (Pictured A plus for sailors docked in the harbor: boat-side service. (Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
This oddly named Petulant Wino wine bar takes over the wide-porched building that housed Comtesse Thérèse Bistro. General manager Courtney Schaudel co-owns the Aquebogue place with her chef-restaurateur dad, Tom Schaudel. From chef Lenny Campanelli's kitchen come such small plates as baked oysters and pork belly tacos, plus charcuterie, raw bar items and a few larger plates. The wine list is half Long Island, half eclectic-international, with most bottles less than $50; a few premium wines will be on tap. (Credit: Randee Daddona)
CJ's American Grill
Embedded in the Mattituck Plaza shopping center, CJ's American Grill offers an affordably priced New American grill menu from chef-owner Chris Richards and chef de cuisine Brian Arbesfeld. You'll find such choices as a burger, local lobster roll (pictured) and an Asian-style Crescent Farm duck spring roll. Grab a bottle from the Long Island wine wall; all are $25. (Credit: Randee Daddona)
Pace's Dockside at Strong's Water Club & Marina
Pace's Dockside has quietly dropped anchor in the Mattituck marina space that once hosted Touch of Venice. Although sharing partial ownership with Pace's Steak House in Hauppauge, this new place focuses on local bounty: Crescent Farm duck wings, baked local clams, swordfish Milanese. There also are three steaks and house- made pasta dishes. There's outdoor dining as well as a tiki bar and poolside tables. (Credit: Randee Daddona)
Bridgehampton Inn restaurant
Hamptons foodie Sybille van Kempen, owner of popular takeout shop Loaves & Fishes in Sagaponack and the Loaves & Fishes Cookshop in Bridgehampton, also has run the charming Bridgehampton Inn for many years. A new 50-seat restaurant and bar on the ground floor is phase one of its expansion (more rooms will be added in the fall) from bed-and-breakfast to a full-service hotel. The Colonial-era dining room and bar have been beautifully renovated to preserve their historic charm. The vermilion dining chairs are inviting and comfortable. Van Kempen, herself a classically trained chef, has hired popular North Fork chef Arie Pavlou (of the late Comtesse Thérèse Bistro in Aquebogue) to create weekly menus using many local and seasonal ingredients. The dishes are refined with some contemporary twists. Recent appetizers have included seared foie gras with strawberry rhubarb ($24), asparagus over olive bread with sage vinaigrette ($12) and Shinnecock scallop tartare ($18). Main courses have included fluke en papillote ($38), roast double cut pork chop with lentils ($38) and a roast fruit and vegetable bowl ($22). (Credit: Bridgehampton Inn)
Bay Kitchen Bar
The Hamptons restaurant merry-go-round started spinning in April, when chef Eric Miller, who last summer helmed the kitchen at Madison & Main, opened Bay Kitchen Bar in the East Hampton space formerly occupied by Bostwick's, The Boat House and Andrra. On Three Mile Harbor near Gardiners Bay, the restaurant features indoor and outdoor seating with pretty views and marina access for boaters. The focus is on seafood, with local tuna, calamari, fluke and striped bass featured prominently on the menu. (Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Maple Tree BBQ
What used to be called Maple Tree Deli & Market in Riverhead has morphed into Maple Tree BBQ, a barbecue house with table service, as well as beer, wine and hard cider. Owner-pitmaster Kevin Judge serves up lightly smoky, moist ribs and chicken, as well as brisket. Something you won't find everywhere is house-smoked pastrami. A selection of American dishes and homey desserts rounds out the menu. (Credit: Randee Daddona)
Joe's Garage and Grill
Hip race car-themed Joe's Garage and Grill in Riverhead scored a three-star review thanks to chef Brian Burner's skillful from-scratch cooking and in-house smoking. Try the Tokyo Drift sliders (pictured), steamed Asian buns, enfolding succulent house-smoked pork belly, kimchee and cucumber salsa. Or the smoked turkey potpie, served in an iron skillet with a biscuit topping. (Credit: Randee Daddona)
Seawater Grill at Gurney's Montauk
Beachfront Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, known for decades as Gurney's Inn, is under new ownership. As part of the major renovation and update, the dining areas have been remade, too. The Sea Grille has been succeeded by the Seawater Grill; Cafe Monte by Ocean Cafe. You'll still find steamed lobster, but also foie gras and waffles, oysters Rockefeller fritters, sushi and a taste of molecular cuisine from executive chef Seth Levine, of Manhattan's Hotel Chantelle and formerly Sons of Essex. The food-and-beverage manager is Jennifer Oz LeRoy, formerly of Tavern on the Green and the Russian Tea Room. (Credit: Steven Michael King)
Southold Fish Market & Seafood Takeout
A local favorite, Southold Fish Market has relocated to larger digs and now features an eat-in/takeout menu along with plenty of cafe seating. You'll find such straightforward seafood classics as charbroiled oysters, Manhattan clam chowder, fish and chips and a seafood salad wrap. Later this summer, the place will have a raw bar, too. (Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)
Uncle Joe's Pizza & Restaurant
The ultracasual pizzeria and Italian eatery Uncle Joe's Pizza in Mattituck is owned by the same family behind the long-standing Uncle Joe's in Hampton Bays. Along with pizza, find a full Italian menu with such items as rice ball Parmigiana, fettuccine carbonara and shrimp scampi. Order at the counter and your food will be brought to you.
Correction: An earlier version of this story referred to the the new cafe at Gurney's Montauk Resort as the Market. The former Cafe Monte has, in fact, been replaced by Ocean Cafe. (Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)