Sunday, June 29, 2014

Even More Hamptons Waterfront Dining: Rumba, Hampton Bays, NY

One of my favorites for waterfront dining is Rumba in Hamptons Bays.  Located on Shinnecock Bay just before the Canal, Rumba is a place we've consistently visited for dinner, lunch or drinks since it opened in 2010.  It never disappoints.

The vibe is laid back.  Acoustic music, think Jimmy Buffet, plays on the sound system.  Umbrellas and picnic tables line the deck which overlooks a small beach, dock and the open bay.  Have a boat? You can dock it here during lunch or diner.

Our most recent visit involved a party of 10 and they took us in stride, even seating us before the 12:00 lunch open time.  The lunch and dinner menus are the same.  For lunch, I usually lean towards the Ahi Tuna Salad which also comes with mango and avocado and the self-described "Yummy Yummy" sauce.  Yummy Yummy indeed.  The Barbados Jerk Chicken Salad is another good choice which is tossed in a flavorful creamy garlic dressing with housemade croutons as big as your head.  As is the Sunset Crab Cake Salad whose Crab Cake is mostly crab and little breading, with avocado and mango again, but also corn and papaya.

For dinner, I prefer to go the sharing route.  Dominican Ribs have a sweet chili ginger soy glaze which requires a double order.  Add a few tacos like a jerk chicken, fish and calypso steak.  And finish up with a Cheeseburger in Paradise.  Because why not.  This is a vacation - even if just for an hour or so.

Kids are well treated via the "Lil Islanders" menu.  My boys, obviously, always go for the burger, but they also offer fried shrimp, steak, fish, chicken fingers and grilled cheese.  Plus, a drink and ice cream.  Little D can't have the ice cream because of his egg allergy, so he gets a generous helping of berries on the house. Speaking of allergies, they also have a great options for gluten free diners.

Drinks are worth the trip alone.  I like the Sangria and the Rum punch, which by the way, are half price between 3pm and 5pm Monday - Friday.

If you are looking for an escape or just a great time on the water, this is the place.

Until our next Burger,

43 Canoe Place Road
Hampton Bay, NY

PS - Looking for an adventure beyond just eating?  How about some paddleboarding or paddle board yoga.  Classes are offered from Rumba's beach.  It's an amazing way to spend a morning and they supply the SUPs. No promises that you won't fall in - I did!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A New Hamptons Favorite: Station, East Quogue, NY

Ever since I ate a Station two weeks ago, I've been raving about it.  And it appears I'm not the only one.  A little fashion magazine called Vogue recently wrote about it, too, in an article entitled "Where to Eat in the Hamptons?"

We chose Station for a belated birthday family dinner.  Yes, family, including children.  Our 6:00 reservation got us a table outside overlooking the gardens.  Technically, the restaurant is on a busy road, although with the flowers and a few drinks, you quickly forget about the occasional truck sounds going past and are lost in your meal.

Our dinner started out with a perusal of the cocktail list.  There is some serious mixology going on here.  The Thirsty Rooster has chili pepper cachacha, hibiscus, citrus and soda.  It is spicy going down.  Even better is the Another One with vodka, lavender and cantaloupe.  And, yes, I will have another one.

The bread basket is ample and, in fact, all of the dishes are.  My bowl of gazpacho was creamy, light and delicious. I loved the fresh cucumber and breadcrumb combination. JB indulged in the steak tartar complete with an egg mole, horseradish and parsley.  Also popular at our table was the Figs and Blue Cheese starter (though not my particular fave).

Entrees shined, too.  JB and I each helped ourselves to the Lamb chops.  I loved the salsa verde that gave each bite of lamb a kick. Flounder was well prepared and a big hit all around.  No burgers here for dinner, so we ordered pasta and fries for the boys.  The fries were more potatoes than fries and came with a tomato onion salsa, so they weren't touching that, but we certainly did.

We skipped dessert although we drooled about the prospect of Key Lime Pie or Rhubarb Almond Pie.  JB is already asking when we can go back.

You wouldn't necessarily think of East Quogue as a foodie destination but with Station in it's second year and the French favorite Stone Creek Inn, maybe it should be? Hey if it's good enough for Vogue, it's good enough for me.

Until our next Berger,

412 Montauk Highway
East Quogue, NY
Reservations can be made at

PS - Station is only open Memorial Day through Labor Day so go soon before you have to wait for next year.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

UnHamptons Waterfront Dining: Edgewater Restaurant, Hampton Bays, NY

Edgewater Restaurant is technically in the Hamptons - Hampton Bays for that matter, but it feels miles away from the pretension you may have heard of or even personally experienced.  This is simple Italian food with a waterview.  Not expensive, not fancy, just a really enjoyable way to spend a meal.

Coming off of a huge week of eating, I could not bring myself to try the Eggplant Rollatini, one of my perennial faves, or the delicious looking Gnocchi Bolognese.  I continued with the simple theme and enjoyed a Shrimp Oreganata over Tomato Risotto.  Although who am I kidding, I did indulge in the garlic knots in the bread basket so much so that we had to tell the waitress to please not bring anymore.

The shrimp was broiled to just the right temperature and well-seasoned.  The tomato risotto was thankfully on dry side.  Cheese and shrimp do not a good combination make.

It was a one-course only kind of meal but that didn't keep us from lingering in the summer air as the moon rose over the Shinnecock bay.  There was live music that night and we weren't quite sure if it was paid entertainment or karaoke or just the waiter taking a turn on the mic.  That's part of the charm of Edgewater.  Go try it for yourself.

Edgewater Restaurant
295 E. Montauk Highway
Hampton Bays, NY

P.S. Interested in other Hamptons waterfront spots? We have reviews from Westhampton Beach all the way to Montauk.  Some quick links:
- Saltwater Grill, Westhampton Beach
- Canal Cafe, Hampton Bays
- Cowfish, Hampton Bays
- Swallow East, Montauk 

Friday, June 20, 2014

A Chain-like reaction: City Cellar, Westbury, NY

If it looks like a chain, smells like a chain and tastes like a chain - is it a chain? This was my immediate reaction when I walked into the soaring space of City Cellar in Westbury.  It was essentially a mix of Capital Grille, Houston's and Seasons 52, ironically all restaurants down the street at Roosevelt Field Mall.  Alas, it is not.  City Cellar is the only one of it's kind and that's probably OK.

Our party of four settled into a spacious booth and leapt towards the $14.95 2-course prix-fixe lunch.  Choose from salads or soup for course 1 and then for course 2 choose a salad, sandwich, pasta or omelet.  Considering a lunch salad is about $14.00, this is a decent deal.

We all had the tomato basil bisque with parmesan and croutons.  Thicker than I expected, the soup was a little on the Campbell's side.  The entree salads were huge.  I couldn't come close to finishing my Chicken Caesar Salad. The Caesar dressing had too much vinegar and the chicken itself was bland.  I sampled the Mac and Cheese - cavatappi topped with a Havarti, Grafton Cheddar and Asiago blend - and was taken aback by the sheer richness of the dish.  I couldn't have more than one bite.

The waiter was nice enough and asked us if we had coupons, when we said we didn't, he gave us some for our next visit.  Not sure we'll ever be redeeming those...

Until our next Berger,

City Cellar
1080 Corporate Drive
Westbury, NY

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Little Italy Bust: Emilia's Restaurant, Bronx, NY

Tourist attractions are hard.  So went our visit to the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx followed by a stop on Arthur Avenue (the real Little Italy) for a late lunch.

Actually, the Botanical Gardens are beautiful and easily navigable by the tram. And the boys absolutely loved the Children's Adventure Garden.  The real challenge begins when the bellies start to rumble.

Arthur Avenue is everything you imagine it to be - pastry shops doling out cannoli, shirtless men hanging out an open window and Christmas lights still up in June.  Our usual stop is Dominick's which is a no reservation, all cash operation.  As we learned that day, it is worth the hassle.

We dined next store at Emilia's who takes reservations and credit cards.  Tucked in the back of a dark restaurant on an absolutely gorgeous day we waited for eons for a waiter and some water.

We ordered some appetizers for the table including rice balls, fried zucchini with prosciutto and mozzarella, stuffed mushrooms and fried calamari.  Everything was eh.  The breadbasket was the best thing.   I was disappointed.

Entrees were slightly better.  I tolerated a chicken cutlet siciliana with eggplant and mozzarella.  JB's spaghetti and meatballs were fine. But seriously my local pizza place could have done better.

Good thing there was a bakery down the street.

Until our next Berger,

Emilia's Restaurant
2331 Arthur Avenue
Bronx, NY

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Best Lobster Roll on Long Island?: Claws, West Sayville, NY

Sadly, I just can't get behind the mayonnaise and celery-laden lobster roll at LUNCH in Amagansett. And I certainly can't afford $100/lb lobster salad at Loaves and Fishes in Sagaponack. But what I can heartily recommend is the lobster roll from Claws Seafood Market in West Sayville. Is it the best lobster roll on Long Island? Perhaps. 

My favorite lobster roll of all time is at Alisson's in Kennebunkport, Maine. Their lobster roll is lightly mixed with mayo and served on a buttered hot dog bun. That's all. And it's perfect. 

Claws is up there. Their version has huge chunks of lobster with a slight "dressing" of mayonnaise, celery and onion. The buttered roll is heavenly. Each bite is awesome. Usually JB and I split. Today we didn't.  Add some old bay fries and it's an ideal meal.  Not bad for $20 a person. 

Keep in mind that Claws is not a fancy place. It's actually a seafood market that also sells lunch and dinner through a takeout window. Dining al fresco here means a roadside picnic table whereas dining indoors is a tiny bar for two. That's how we spent our rainy day. 

On a sunnier day we'll come back and hang outside, drink some beers and listen to the live music they offer on Saturdays and Sundays. 

Menu options go beyond lobster rolls to fish sandwiches, salads and, yes, even burgers. 

Check it out. 

Until our next Burger,

PS - If you are in the Sayville area, we also recommend Butera's and Bistro 25 for lunch or dinner.  

Claws Seafood Market
20 Main Street
West Sayville, NY