THE LIVING ROOM

A Night to Remember

By Heather Bryce

For a perfect romantic evening enjoy c/o The Maidstone’s pre-dinner cocktails in their lively bar where a fire blazes and the inn’s guests hobnobbed with the local gentry. A bracing drink called “Swedish Storm,” a mixture of Mackmyra Swedish whisky, angostura bitters, elderflower syrup, fresh ginger and muddled lemon can hit the spot.

The restaurant is known as one of the best in the Hamptons, so it is usually comfortably packed with assorted denizens of nearby Hamptons “cottages.” The 300-plus selections-strong wine list heavily favors American labels, with a tight focus on New York State, especially Long Island, but also the Hudson Valley and Niagara Escarpment.  From their beautiful wine cellar, we chose a Cabernet Franc from the sustainably farmed Paumanok vineyard on Long Island’s nearby North Fork.

The restaurant, called The Living Room, is devoted to the slow food philosophy.

“We look at all aspects of the food chain so that the animals are treated gently and kindly, the farmers get fair pay, limit the use of pesticides and make sure that our products are made locally wherever possible,” said Ms. Ljungberg, proprietor of c/o The Maidstone with husband Parr Boner.

Chef Mathias Brogie’s menu combines new wave bistro fare with Nordic influences and flavors. You will be quite taken by the appetizers: pumpkin blinis and foie gras tacos prepared with a pistachio rub and their divine mussels with shredded bread cleverly strewn over the dish, negating the need to dunk.

Their entrees are old world, with a modern sensibility, and demonstrated how well the Swedes balance meat and fruitiness. The venison rack is brightened by a heady juniper berry sauce, and further enlivened by a surprising burst of pickled chanterelle, while the Swedish meatballs with lingonberry jam is offset by pickled cucumber and satisfying mashed potatoes. When in Long Island, always order the duck. The version here, sporting a double-cream orange sauce is exceptional, but if you like your skin crispy, make sure to tell your waiter. For those of you who enjoy the classic Rack of Lamb, serving it with a fall bean salad and spicy sweet potato gratin gives it a healthy and edgy palate.

The desserts are to-write-home-about, especially the sticky toffee date cake with caramel sauce and elderberry frozen-yogurt. Seems the Swedes are also adept at pairing pastries with fruit. The Valrhona chocolate “fika paus” cake with whipped cream and chocolate sauce is as divinely decadent as it sounds. And the crème brulee’s velvety creaminess is offset by a classically crystalized sugar roof, and topped with a trio of ripe raspberries. Finishing up with a perfect cup of java and lovely conversation, you may be ready for a restful night’s sleep or a romantic interlude in your cozy Maidstone cabin.

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