red|bar brasserie

Tomorrow is the last night of restaurant week in the Hamptons. We made the trip out (I in my car and he on the Long Island Railroad) last night to go to red bar brasserie in Southampton to dine for $23 apiece. On any other night, I think that’s what the average appetizer runs you.

This restaurant has been open for years and has lines of cars parked along Hampton Road every night. Surprisingly, I was able to get a reservation with no problems and five of us arrived promptly at 8 o’clock.

When I eat out in the Hamptons, generally speaking, at some point in the meal I realize that I (or someone else at the table) is paying an extraodinary amount of money that we could have made ten times better at home. That’s a frustrating feeling because, snobby as it sounds, I expect to eat well when the food costs what I’d spend on a week’s worth of equally decadent meals prepared at home.

Not to worry, if you are headed to red bar. The service was perfect and the food was killer good. When we were seated, the maitre d’ described the soup of the day as ‘pureed wild mushrooms with cream.’ The server called the same soup ‘cream of mushroom’ which reminds me of something that comes out of a can. Whatever the title, the soup was piping hot, perfectly seasoned and intensely mushroom-y.

There were a generous five entrees to choose from on the restaurant week menu. Impressive! I had looked at other restaurant week menus from other participating places, and the fish selection in more than one joint was skate wing. (Snob Alert: I don’t like skate wing.*)

A red bar, I had a choice of parpadelle with lamb ragu, served with ricotta and fresh mint; horseradish crusted salmon, which the Gourmand enjoyed; a chicken dish, a duck dish, and I ate the pork tenderloin with butter beans, spinach, and romesco sauce.

All of our plates were set down at the same time, all hot, and my spinach was still refreshingly crisp, an indicator that it had just come off the fire and hadn’t sat around even a minute before being plated up and brought out to serve.

We drank a bottle of Lieb Pinot Blanc ($24) from the North Fork of Long Island and Channing Daughters Rosso Fresco ($29) from the South Fork with our meals. Those prices are per bottle! Nigh unheard of in the Hamptons.

Dessert was a more limited selection, so we ordered multiples to share: Chocolate Mousse with Huckleberry Sauce, White Chocolate Cheesecake, and the table’s favorite, Lemon Tart with Fresh Berries.

You have two more nights to hit up restaurant week if you are out east, or willing to make the drive.

I hope you can make it, tonight on the cheap or any other night at Hamptons prices, to red bar. It will not disappoint.

*My father was a commercial fisherman as I was growing up so I feel entitled to be a seafood snob. Hope you still love me!