As the days become shorter and the nights become a bit more chilly, The Hamptons-area of Long Island, New York still draws many as a great weekend getaway destination from the upcoming Hamptons International Film Festival or visiting the surrounding area wineries and more. Naturally, food goes hand-in-hand with such destinations. And should you find yourself in the area, there are two key dining locations that should top your list for a ferry visit over to Shelter Island.
The first is Isola, an Italian restaurant and bar where attention to deal is a mantra and hand-made pasta a staple. The menu, as much known for its brick-oven pizza as it is creative pasta entrees, is perfectly complimented by the welcoming decor complete with two open-air seating areas.
Discerning pasta lovers will find their expectations exceeded through a variety of dishes. Explains Isola's Chef Seth Nathan, “Fresh Pappardelle is always superior in texture and flavor, especially when we use as much egg yolk as we do. There is a springiness and creaminess that comes through which is incomparable to dried pastas."
"Our beef blend is from Main Street Meats," he adds. "They grind it for us. It is composed of Domestic Kobe Brisket and Dry Aged Beef Short Rib. The rest is up to us.” Pizza becomes an artform at Isola via its state-of-the-art brick ovens and special seasoning and toppings which are not to be missed.
For a bit more fine dining, consider The Ram's Head Inn on the opposite side of the Island. Known for its crisp air bed and breakfast accommodations that are just as much revered as its idyllic site for wedding receptions, birthday events and more, The Ram's Head Inn restaurant offers an array of fine dishes amidst a breathtaking natural landscape.
From inspired beet salads with a perfect topping of pistachios that add just a bit of extra saltiness to perfectly compliment the sweetness of the beets to large, juicy bison burgers, the restaurant offers fine dining with attention to detail. However, not to be missed is the restaurant's dessert menu which features an apple tart that is worthy of any cooking channel championship. The secret is that the dish is baked upside down giving it a sumptuous dough-y lusciousness that combines perfectly with just the right amount of pectin, cinnamon and more. An ideal fall finish to any entree ordered here.
Ram's Head chef, Manny Fundura explains, "The apple tart starts with sliced apples that are tossed with brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of salt. It is then placed in a cheesecloth or a fine strainer to drain a bit. The apples are placed in a pan and caramelized. Finally, the apples are covered with puff pastry and cooked until the pastry is golden brown and crispy. It is then turned out, similar to a tarte tatin."
While the beach may no longer beckon, the area offers the luxury that only the early fall season could offer. It is made all the more wonderful by dining from some of the best in the area.