A Taster's Journey is a newsletter on food, wine and travel. After 15 years of studying, tasting, teaching, and selling wine, I created this newsletter to not only share my passion about wine, but of food and travel as well. Each month I hope to share wines that I am drinking, food that is in season, restaurants that I have enjoyed, and places I have traveled. Enjoy!"

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Eating in the Hamptons – What’s New

May 30th, 2005

The Hamptons, that group of beach towns 100 miles east of New York City, are gearing up for the summer season. Consistent with the trend of the last few years, the restaurant scene is again in disarray. This is no more evident than in Southampton where three well know establishments closed their doors this past winter: Basilico, George Martin and 75 Main.

Thankfully Spring brings new life, and a number of new eateries will be open to cater to the summer crowds. Nello Balan (owner of Nello on Madison Ave) is opening his first east end restaurant Nello Summertimes in the former Post House (136 Main St) in Southampton. Expect exquisite pastas and through the roof prices. One of the former partners at George Martin has reopened 75 Main as James on Main, and he has brought with him the chef and much of the staff from his old restaurant. Around the corner, Tuscan House will go into the old Basilico space (10 Windmill Lane), and by the title I would anticipate Italian cuisine.

Ed (Jean-Luc) Kleefield, owner of JL and JLX Bistro, will open Madame Tong’s @ JL Beach Club in the space formally occupied by Belle’s East ( 236 Elm St). It will feature Asian food with live music playing into the night. Lastly in Southampton, I hear the Driver’s Seat has new owners, however no substantial changes are planned.

Eric Lemonides and Jason Weiner will try to match their success at Almond with their new venture Almondito. They had Jamie Drake (Madonna & Mayor Bloomberg’s decorator) redesign the former Rubi Red restaurant (290 Montauk Hwy, Wainscott), and the menu will offer authentic Mexican cuisine. Initial feedback is that it is drawing big crowds, and the ceviche is a real highlight.

I was shocked when I read a few days ago the Jeff and Eddy’s Seafood in Sag Harbor will become Jeff and Eddy’s Steakhouse. Sag Harbor, for those that don’t know, is an old whaling town town that has a very active marina, and I am appalled that there is not one decent place to eat seafood.

Hopefully a few of these restaurants will add some inspiring cuisine to the landscape. I continue to feel the best meal in the Hamptons is in your own backyard – vegetables from the farm stand, rib eye on the grill, and your favorite bottle of wine.

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