Over the years, Manhattan has infiltrated the Hamptons with outlets of city boîtes like Nello’s, Dune and Cipriani. Now the East End is fighting back, with a FlatIron branch of Bridgehampton watering hole Almond, which opens tonight. And owners Eric Lemonides and Jason Weiner are bringing their unpretentious philosophy with them. “When we first opened in the Hamptons, there was a kind of culture of intimidation at every restaurant you went to, which is something we’ve always had a distaste for,” explains co-owner and chef Weiner, brother of Congressman Anthony. “A welcoming vibe is extremely important to us.”
Perhaps never more so than during the fiscally challenging months to come. “In these uncertain times, people do want to go out,” says Lemonides. “There’s nothing better when you’ve had a really crappy week than to have a roast chicken that’s awesome and a glass of red wine and call it a day.”
The vibe: Hip country meets urban chic, with subway-tiled walls; reclaimed wood from Vermont and New Hampshire farmhouses, and dining room chairs salvaged from an old public school. Billiards in the back room (the table was inherited from former inhabitant Borough Food & Drink) features toile wallpaper and red felt instead of the standard green.
The food: Hamptons holdovers including steak frites, roast chicken and curried mussel cocktails, plus newer fare like vol-au-vent (frog legs, mushrooms and escargot in puffed pastry), veal Milanese and sea scallops with braised pork shank (a riff on surf and turf).
The clientele: Christie Brinkley, Marty Richards, Bette Midler, Chuck Close and Katie Couric are fans of the Bridgehampton original.
Info: 12 East 22nd Street, between Broadway and Park Avenue South; 212-228-7557.