By Heather Bryce
Since the Hamptons are all about the ocean, bays and inlets, it’s hard to believe that waterfront restaurants here are almost nonexistent – Montauk excepted. East Hampton Point was built on the fringe of a marina, a story above boat level and perhaps one of the only restaurants that edge right onto the water in East Hampton. As you sit on the outer deck, the food is almost irrelevant. A good cocktail, combined with the breeze lifting off the harbor and extraordinary almost-180 degree vistas, are enough to keep you in a state of idle contentment.
Arriving at the magic hour, we had several blissful minutes to watch the meanderings of leisure craft in the harbor as well as the comings and goings of the boat owners right beneath us before the sun began its final descent. A blackberry lychee martini kept our spirits high, while rum laced with fresh watermelon juice was downed giddily by one of our party.
We would have hoped for a younger crowd, but the restaurant was populated on a Monday evening in August with mostly a more than mature group, giving it the feel of an upscale Bingo night. But, oh, that view!
The food was good, but not great – though we suspect that the new chef, James Carpenter, who has helmed the kitchens of other Hamptons fine dining establishments including Della Femina, The American Hotel and The Living Room at c/o The Maidstone, where he was awarded three stars by Newsday, will get his sea legs in no time.
An appetizer of Buratta, a gooey mozzarella, was enlivened by a subtly spiced heirloom tomato gazpacho sauce. Though the menu is predominately seafood, the lamb meatballs were star-quality, their San Marzano tomato sauce co-star fresh and robust. The Halibut was meaty and firm, and served with a tasty “forest mushroom truffle potato puree.” Our favorite was the roasted Striped Bass, its skin seared beautifully, nestled among a relish of roasted peppers, tomatoes, and capers, and spiked by a savory herb sauce.
In the background Jim Turner and his band played rock ‘n’ roll. We love Jim Turner, but we yearned for a little Bossa Nova which might have been more in keeping with creating an even more magical mood.
The desserts, made by esteemed pastry chef Laura Donnelly, who is also the restaurant reviewer for the East Hampton Star, were superb. The Sticky Toffee Date Cake was a true winner, and highly recommended for those with a sophisticated sweet tooth. The Black Russian Bundt Cake was dreamy, and given a one-two punch by a generous lashing of sea salt and caramel ice cream – divine!
We listened intently to the clanging of masts as we watched the layers of shadings that painted the sky. As day faded into deep darkness – only a scattering of dock lights, a few stars, and the refractive light emanating from the restaurant itself breaking the nocturnal stillness; we reluctantly made our ways home.
Photos By: Lauren Clarke-Bennett