An Interview with Café OSO’s Executive Chef Peter Ammar

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Last week, I made my first visit to Café OSO at the Southampton Inn, located just steps away from the Village of Southampton’s fine dining, clothing boutiques, parks, museums, art galleries, and more, and just a short bike ride away from some of the most beautiful beaches on the east coast.

Real Estate Developer, Manager, and Owner of Southampton Inn, Dede Gotthelf, showed me around the hotel property. I even got to meet Clyde, the hotel cat in the lobby area. The entire hotel is pet friendly. After my tour of the exterior, I met Café OSO’s Executive Chef Peter Ammar, and lunch and dinner’s Chef de Cusine Joshua Delgado. The restaurant and hotel have won a number of awards including “Best Breakfast,” and “Best Wedding Location.” I found the staff I met at the hotel and at the restaurant very warm and welcoming. The restaurant features an intimate outdoor patio and a casual, open interior while serving up traditional, wholesome American cuisine.

During my visit, I sat down with Chef Ammar who introduced me to some of his and owner Gotthelf’s favorite lunch dishes, which I had the opportunity to taste and photograph. Ammar also talked about his extensive history of a chef, his professional training, and his excellent work relationship with Southampton Inn.

Peter Ammar has been a chef for 25 years, and has been in the restaurant business for 35 years. Originally, he worked at father’s place in Moriches. Both of his grandfathers were chefs. He was the chef at the Driver’s Seat for about years, then after that he was the Sous Chef at the Hampton Hills Country Club in Riverhead. He just started his 8th year at OSO and since then, has helped to grow the menu in ‘leaps and bounds.’ “I will be with OSO until I retire,” says Ammar.

“We have a great menu. We try to do a new menu each season, and we get a lot of feedback from guests and their suggestions. Dede, Joshua and I write the menu,” says Ammar. “At breakfast, you will find a large variety eggs [including] omelets. We have the best pancakes in town and have won a few awards for them. We expect people to have an outstanding time. Everyone is welcome in the community.”

For hotel guests, depending upon what night they book, and how many nights they stay, breakfast can also be included. There is complimentary coffee, and a small buffet in the library upstairs that runs from September into spring when the restaurant opens again.

Café OSO can do room service during your stay. “We do all kinds of parties including weddings, and corporate parties,” explains Ammar. “Many locals have their gatherings here. The Elks Southampton Lodge, for example, has their meetings here. We can cater to parties of ten to a few hundred people. We also do parties under tents on the lawn with a site fee. At the canopy outside near the pool, we do cocktails and beverages for children and start serving at 12pm and go until 7pm. You can order food at the pool from the restaurant.”

Favorite new menu items are their grilled panini. The dinner menu with consist of seafood with a strong focus on lobster, in addition to steak, chops, and chicken dishes. I had the opportunity to try their Spinach and Poached Pear Salad: Red wine poached pears, crispy pancetta, crushed walnuts, cranberries, and a honey balsamic dressing ($14). The poached pears were perfectly soaked and the thick, crispy pancetta had a nice bite. The honey balsamic brought all of the flavors together well. I highly recommend it!

Notable lunch menu items are the Gorgonzola Salad: Boston bib lettuce with gorgonzola cheese, golden apple slices and walnuts, with a light gorgonzola dressing ($14); Josue Burger: 100% Angus beef burger served with choice of swiss, american, cheddar, or fresh mozzarella cheese, sautéed mushrooms, Applewood smoked bacon, beefsteak tomato, red onion and lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun ($15), and The Agawam Panini: Prosciutto de Parma, fresh mozzarella, OSO Garden basil and sliced beefsteak tomatoes served on a Ciabatta roll ($14). Certain menu items are marked as either gluten-free or vegetarian.

Desserts available are their homemade brownie a la mode ($6), ice cream (three scoops with toppings, $8), Profiteroles ala Josue ($10), Homemade Strawberry Shortcake (seasonal, $8), and Apple Strudel ala Amagansett ($8).

Just behind the restaurant adjacent to the ballroom, there is a complimentary playroom for children open from 10am until 7pm.

Café OSO is open to the public for breakfast and lunch service daily. Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am, while lunch and supper are available from 12pm to 7pm.

http://www.southamptoninn.com/dining

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