Experience country living at its finest at the Bridgehampton Inn, set in the historic Village of the same name amongst Main Street’s art galleries, and charming boutiques. As you walk in the front entrance of the original building, you will be greeted within the historic entrance way, with the primary dining rooms just to your left and the private dining room adjacent to the cozy bar in the back.
There is a pleasant contrast between the old and the new. Notice in the photos below the bold orange vinyl chairs with black and white portraits of Bridgehampton’s agrarian history, hand-blown glassware with lovely seasonal flowers, and adorable Dalmatian and leopard statues on the fireplace mantles. The restaurant seats 50 while offering additional seating on their private back patio with plenty of shade under the grand oak tree.
The restaurant is a year old, opening in June of 2014. At the helm is Chef de Cuisine Arie Pavlou. His creative menu changes weekly and with the season featuring the best ingredients the East End has to offer. The handsome walnut bar is located in the original 1795 tavern room. The cocktail menu also changes weekly to compliment the food menu, and is curated by Kyle van Kempen, son of owner Sybille van Kempen, who also owns the famous Loaves & Fishes Foodstore in Sagaponack with her mother, Anna Pump, and Loaves & Fishes Cookshop now on the same property as the Bridgehampton Inn & Restaurant.
During my visit, I met with the owner, van Kempen, who was extremely kind to show me around the restaurant and inn, and who sat down with me to discuss their seasonal menu.
“We always rotate our menu with new ingredients weekly and we source our ingredients from such trusted purveyors as Peter’s Fruit Company for produce because they go out of their way to bring products from the local area to us in an expedient fashion, and from Braun Seafood Co. in Cutchogue,” explains van Kempen. “They discriminate about the freshest products like we do. We have never had a bad product from them. We [always like to] source as close as we can.”
“We get our eggs and ducks from Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue because of their consistency, and availability. We form age old relationships with our purveyors and some we go to for very specific items. For example, we get our asparagus at a certain farm on the North Fork next to where Chef Arie was living. He would drive up to work with a huge crate of asparagus,” adds van Kempen.
They have a vegetable and herb garden in the back of their kitchen where they grow squash, scallions, a ton of mint, and herbs as exotic as lemongrass, and fennel tops. The inn added a 4,000 sq ft structure that was just completed in mid May, which added six more rooms, a beautiful deck for guests, and more entertaining space, in addition to a new space for Loaves & Fishes Cookshop that moved from Main Street in Bridgehampton.
Inside each dining room, there is a working fireplace that feels like you are coming into someone’s home. “People love the new rooms, which very well appointed,” says van Kempen.
The restaurant can host small and intimate events and some of their more famous clients choose to dine in their private dining room behind closed doors. Inside that room, there are a maximum of three tables, and that space could be reserved for private events. Generally groups with 12 or more use it as a place to celebrate with as many as 18 guests.
Chef Pavlou had been working on the North Shore. The owner and Chef had a mutual friend who had been a frequent visitor to the Bridgehampton Inn’s restaurant and who had been boosting about Chef for two years. Pavlou happened to see the ad in the paper and applied.
“We are both classically trained chefs, trained french style, and I appreciate the time and energy he dedicates endlessly to the quality of what we are doing,” says van Kempen. “He does not shortcut anything, he does everything the proper way from the very beginning, [and] it comes through in his food. Many say that it is the best food they have had in a very long time.”
“His cooking is very soulful, very old school. We collaborate on the menu once a week, creating something new for our current audience,” adds van Kempen. ” The menu is created on a Sunday, and launched on the following Wednesday. We may do a paella, then [the next week] a vegetable paella with artichokes, olives and soybeans, which very full and yummy. Then, he will put a duck leg confit on top. We take the integrity of the dish and then make it our own.”
The week that I took the tour of May 27-31 was Spinach and Asparagus Week. Featured small plates included Spinach Fritters with Saffron Aioli ($14), and Fresh Morel Tart on Roasted Asparagus ($14), and select large plates included Braised Short Ribs with Spinach and Poppers ($39), Soft Shell Crab Pita Pocket with Curry Slaw ($38), and Smoked Duck Breast with Peach Compote ($39).
Desserts on the menu that sounded simply divine included Chocolate Truffles ($16), Peach Almond Tart ($14), and Rote Grutze with Crème Anglaise ($14). Rote Grutze is a summer staple dessert in Germany made with fresh berries of the season served with a vanilla sauce.
Most rooms were occupied during my visit mid-week but I was able to tour one unoccupied room in the new building. The room I visited was simple yet comfortable with the that fresh, newly renovated scent lingering in the air. I loved the small chocolate bar that was resting on the bed. I always appreciate those sweet greetings. The inn had a touch of class and that I feel will provide top-notch services for guests who choose to stay here based upon my visiting and meeting with the management.
The Restaurant is open Wednesday to Sunday from 5:30 – 10 PM and the Inn and Restaurant are both open year round.
http://www.bridgehamptoninn.com // 631-537-3660