Monday, August 29, 2005

Car Dealership Dining, Seriously 8/27/05

Lately JB and I have been frequenting golf courses for meals, so this weekend we decided to rev it up a notch and dine at the newish restaurant Annona above the luxury car dealership in Westhampton. With Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, Lotuses and the like, this is car dealership dining at its very best.

Everything at Annona is expensive from the 2006 Rolls-Royce Phantom to a bowl of spaghetti. In my opinion, the car is a better deal.

Saturday nights in the Hamptons are filled with lavish parties and opulent openings. We have yet to attend one, but here’s hoping for summer 2006. We did, however, arrive at Annona 30 minutes early to check out the cars and found ourselves in the middle of the Phantom viewing party. Lucky for us, that included gratis champagne and high-end hors d’oeuvres including shrimp & caviar. Throw in a new set of golf clubs and it would be JB heaven.

We headed up the elevator to the restaurant and were immediately struck by the size of the room. Compared to the mammoth showroom, Annona is tiny. We were seated a nice banquet and tried to soak it all in. Upon further thought, I realized that this was a strange place. I felt as if I was in another world, or at least New Jersey. Everyone was farpootzt and the wine list contained $800 bottles, yet we were a stone’s throw from the oil change place. With a setting like this, we were eager to try the food.

Our server, Matt K. if my memory serves me, was a delight. He talked about the cars downstairs and the event that we had crashed, plus he told us the dogs on the menu. (Corn pudding and homemade sausage in case you were wondering.) I ordered the eggplant ravioli, being a fanatic of both eggplant and cheese I opted for the entrée size ($30!) and decided to skip a first course. JB ordered the tagliatelle with a rabbit ragu to start and the albacore tuna for his main course.

As we settled into our selections from the plentiful bread basket (focaccia and proscioutto parmesan were the standouts) I was told that they had just run out of the eggplant ravioli. I was suspicious since two tables consisting of the dealership owners had just ordered, but did not put up a fuss. I am convinced through that they stole my ravioli. That said, I had to pick a new dish. I stayed with the pasta course and opted for the pennette with zucchini, squash and saffron.

The food was good, but not $35 for a tiny piece of tuna good. Or $28 for noodles, vegetables and a very expensive spice good. The rabbit ragu on the tagliatelle had the best taste, but it was the least artfully presented. Think deconstructed lasagna with no cheese.

As we left we picked up the latest issue of Hampton Style. Hampton Style is Dan’s Papers attempt to play with the other Hamptons glossies like Hamptons and HC&G. Of course, there’s an article about Annona. The owners are quoted as saying that they opened the restaurant so they could have a place to entertain their high end clientele. With that it made perfect sense. This was a restaurant for salesmen, that was the other world.

And I guess since I won’t be buying a Rolls anytime soon, we won’t be back for awhile.

Until we eat again, KLB

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