What a year 2016 was! I had the pleasure of dining at the best restaurants in the Hamptons and North Fork as well as some notable restaurants in Manhattan, Connecticut and Washington D.C. It proved to be very tough to narrow it down to ten favorite dishes, but after careful consideration, I am thrilled to present the ten best things I ate this past year. I could only imagine what delectable plates 2017 will bring!
If you admire the comforting taste of chai with its powerful essence of fresh spices, Dona Chai would surely become a staple in your kitchen. I first discovered Dona Chai just over a month ago. It was love at first sip, I just had to have more. It took quite a feat of strength to resist enjoying the chai, either iced or hot, on a daily basis. I prefer an iced chai during the mid afternoon anytime of year, but always appreciate a piping hot cup of chai in the morning.
Nestled on the water’s edge of Montauk’s Fort Pond, East by Northeast is truly a unique dining spot in Montauk. Serving up Pan Asian cuisine with a hint of tasteful American influence while utilizing local, fresh ingredients, it is a perfect romantic waterfront getaway year round. I couldn’t help but imagining what it would be like to dine at ‘ENE’ during the summer season. Bring together a signature cocktail, an appetizer such as their Yunnan Pork Ribs or Organic Lolli Pop Kale Chips and an eye-catching sunset, and you have seamlessly created a memorable summer evening.
They certainly have a menu worth exploring. Aside from the Long Island Restaurant Week menu, of which my husband and I were very fond of, unique dishes that jumped out at us were the Kani Salad, the Mango Tango signature sushi roll, and Crispy Kurobuta Pork Belly.
Meet Savannah Jordan, the Executive Chef at Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk. A Culinary Institute of America graduate, Chef Jordan stayed at CIA for an extra year as a TA in the meat and fish kitchens to work in the institute’s restaurants. During her year as a TA, she worked with a legendary chef and did fish fabrication. Afterward working as a Chef at Le Bernardin in Manhattan, she went to work at Mary’s Fish Camp in the city, where she held her first Executive Chef position. She was also a chef at Eugene & Co in Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn.
This is Chef Jordan’s first time in Montauk. She was originally introduced to the owner of Chelsea Hotels, and has been out here since mid May. “Montauk is a very special place and so is Ruschmeyer’s, we grow and learn together, it feels like summer camp. Everyone identifies with one another,” explains Jordan. “I got to know a lot of the farmers and fisherman. [In particular,] I work closely with Bhumi Farms in East Hampton; farmer Frank is a doll.”
Ideally located across the street from the Long Island Railroad station, Arbor has a private, outdoor dining patio with chic, wooden tables and lounging sofas and chairs for sipping cocktails. I am so thrilled to be returning to Arbor for brunch. I had a terrific experience for dinner just about two months ago, and brunch was also an impressive dining occasion.
The centerpiece of the restaurant’s indoor dining space is a glass-encased wine “cellar.” A very impressive space and the only one of its type in the Hamptons, where over 1,500 bottles can be stored at any given time. Arbor is also home to wine dispensers behind their sumptuous bar that chill red and white wine at the precise temperature.