Beth Landman selects restaurants from Southampton to Montauk that heated up this summer

Best Of Summer Wrap Up

It’s been an exciting summer on the East End’s restaurant scene as Sag Harbor came into even sharper focus as the culinary capitol, with dueling buzz-worthy Italian places Tutto and Dopo, French waterfront hit Le Bilboquet’s second season, an update of sushi palace Sen, the aroma from wood-burning oven bistro Lulu filling Main Street, and crowds swarming to Buddhaberry for dessert. Other places welcomed new chefs or menu programs, while some of the best-loved places held their ground. Below, a wrap up.

Hudson Blue

Marcel Link has transformed this location on 27 that has been a range of eateries, into a surprisingly good seafood spot, named after his children, Hudson and Blue. The décor is still rustic but the food is fresh and perfectly prepared.

Try grilled romaine and charred avocado salad, seared tuna tacos, and a range of crab offerings including steamed Dungeness, Alaskan red king bites, and snow crab clusters. The grilled corn is so sweet it can double as dessert. 1970 Montauk Hwy, Bridgehampton; www.hbcrab.com.

Tutto

Gabby Karan opened a third branch of Tutto in Sag Harbor, where she started, combining it with mom Donna Karan’s Urban Zen clothing and furnishings, and it was an immediate hit.

Customers lounge on cushy sofas sipping cocktails or watch the Main Street parade while devouring Southern Italian specialties like al dente paccheri with calamari, clams, mussels and shrimp, or prime aged beef with fresh cherry tomatoes, arugula and balsamic reduction. Come fall, there will be a fireplace. 16 Main St, Sag Harbor; www.tuttoilgiorno.com.

Baron’s Cove

There is now a reason, other than a stellar view of Sag Harbor bay, to visit this well-appointed hotel dining room. “Chopped” champion Jay Lippin, whose impressive resume includes a post as executive chef at The Odeon and Café Luxembourg in New York, took over the stove at this hotel dining room in July.

His focus is on local fare, from cove chowder with Peconic clams to seared espresso-rubbed Montauk tuna with watermelon, ginger and feta salad. Landlubbers can opt for the double-cut pork chop pan roasted with celery root puree, asparagus and bourbon sauce. 31 West Water St; www.baronscove.com.

Dopo

The quintessential authentic Italian restaurant across from the water in Sag Harbor has brought in Michelin-starred chef Massimo Soto to team with Maurizio Marfoglia, and they are turning out remarkable creations like paper thin sheets of green lasagna layered with pesto and parmesan, or beef braised in red wine tossed with perfectly al dente cavatelli. Boldfaces from Billy Joel to Keith Richards love to sit on the outdoor terrace. 6 Bay St, Sag Harbor; www.dopolaspiaggia.com.

Bay Kitchen Bar

Chef Eric Miller’s waterfront spot on Three Mile Harbor attracts crowds who feast on his celebration of seafood including cedar plank roasted whole fish, oversized lobsters, and fluke with summer vegetables, kale, spinach, and long grain rice.

The outdoor deck also happens to be one of the best places on the East End to watch the sun go down in a burst of pink and orange light. 39 Gann Rd; www.baykitchenbar.com.

RedBar

Since chef Todd Jacobs moved into one of the prettiest locations of the East End, the American bistro surrounded by windows has taken a healthier approach, grilling its freshly caught striped bass and plating it with wild spinach, quinoa, and yuzu vinaigrette, and serving its local tile fish with organic vegetable stir fry, but don’t worry, you can still enjoy the homemade Terrine of Foie Gras, and there is a hearty crackling pork shank with sauerkraut, apples, bacon and beer mustard. Leave room for flaming Baked Alaska. 210 NY-27A, Southampton; www.redbarbrasserie.com.

Highway Restaurant and Bar

This popular spot, which attracts the finance crowd and has spit-roasted organic chicken and tri-color quinoa with mint worth writing home about, added an omakase from sushi mecca Shuko on weekends this summer, and despite the $150 price tag, seats were almost impossible to come by. 290 Montauk Hwy; www.highwayrestaurant.com.

Claude’s

Veteran chef James Carpenter has taken the reins at this spot within the Southampton Inn and seriously upped the kitchen. Appetizers include lobster mango salad with avocado mousse, pickled cucumbers and red pepper vanilla bean dressing; and among the entrée selections are generous cuts of fresh fish like day boat halibut served with a wild mushroom ragu and truffle potato puree. If the weather allows, dine in the garden. 91 Hill St; www.southamptoninn.com.

Sen

After a renovation that expanded the dining area and kitchen, this favorite spot reopened for business July 4 week and whether it’s afternoon or evening, there is always a crowd out front waiting to be seated.

Though it’s famous for sushi including “exotic rolls’’ like the Orchid — avocado, cucumber, and scallion wrapped with fish and wasabi stem — there are plenty of other Asian offerings such as kale ramen noodle salad, smoked duck steamed buns, and Jumbo shrimp shumai. Lunch is now served seven days. 23 Main St, Sag Harbor; www.senrestaurant.com.

Le Bilboquet

A major contributor to Sag Harbor’s burgeoning culinary scene, the French bistro offers favorites from its New York location — like Cajun chicken and crab salad with avocado — amid the backdrop of the village’s docks and awe-inspiring boats. The East End outpost also showcases Instagram-worthy roast chicken and branzino for two. 1 Long Wharf, Sag Harbor; 631-803-3767.

Bostwick’s Chowder House

Be prepared to wait an hour or more most nights for this spot on the highway that serves with plastic utensils on paper plates. What’s the secret? Another year of consistently good, straight off the boat fish at affordable prices in an upbeat atmosphere. It’s good enough for Bobby Flay and Gwyneth Paltrow . . . 277 Pantigo Rd, East Hampton; www.bostwickschowderhouse.com.

Maidstone

After opening a restaurant in Paris, and then working with Sam Talbot and Jeremy Blutstein at Surf Lodge, Ian Lowell Lichtenstein took over the stove at the restaurant of this charming hotel across from the pond in East Hampton. A locavore, he deals directly with East End fishermen and farmers to create offerings like lobster and seaweed salad, and local seafood broil. 207 Main St; www.themaidstone.com.

Duryea’s Lobster Deck

You can’t beat this spot for its jaw dropping location on Montauk’s Fort Pond Bay and since it opened with a crisp new look in 2016, it’s become even more of a draw. Plates like the massive lobster Cobb salad or three-pound line-caught fluke, are big enough to feed a group. 5460 65 Tuthill Rd., Montauk; www.duryealobsters.com.

Il Mulino

The house on Georgica Pond has always been an ideal setting for a Hamptons restaurant, and Il Mulino, which opened this season, has the food to match. There is a menu of carpaccios and tartares to start, pastas including gragnano spaghetti alla chitarra, pizzas such as mushroom and truffle, and a range of entrees from whole fish to rack of lamb. 108 Wainscott Stone Road, Wainscott; www.ilmulino.com.

Babette’s

Whether it’s power vegetables with a poached egg and pesto in the morning, lunch of goat cheese dumplings with roasted beet, haricots verts, baby arugula, almonds and preserved lemon vinaigrette, or candlelit dinner of pan roasted fresh Montauk catch with cauliflower, edamame, and fire roasted tomato salsa, this Main Street spot is still the winner for healthy, organic fare. It may be sweet and low key, but fellow diners like Steven Spielberg and Bill Clinton turn up the wattage. 66 Newtown Lane, East Hampton; www.babettesrestaurant.com.

75 Main

A sushi menu has been introduced this year to this spot in the center of Southampton that has something for everyone and some of the best people watching around. If raw fish isn’t your thing, try pasta, steak, or “healthy options’’ like stuffed grilled pepper with quinoa and veggies. 75 Main St, Southampton; www.75main.com.

Calissa

Mediterranean is a perfect fit for the Hamptons beach vibe, and this sister of New York’s Amali, that entered the East End dining picture last season, does it as well as anyone. Classics like Greek salad and octopus share the appetizer section with farro salad tossed with corn, radish, feta and lemon pepper vinaigrette; and scallop crudo with peach, chili, and lemon verbena.

Entrée selections include local catch like Montauk striped bass along with imported staple branzino. The section of entrees for two includes salt crusted black bass, halibut en pappillote and lobster bucatini. 1020 Montauk Hwy, Water Mill; www.calissahamptons.com.

Nick and Toni’s

It’s the 30th anniversary of this upscale canteen for the entertainment crowd located in a charming house, where you can easily dine next to Paul McCartney, Martha Stewart, or Alec Baldwin. Herbs and veggies from the garden out back liven up dishes like fluke crudo with amaranth, local radish, pickled red onion, chili, and lime; seared scallops with Balsam Farms corn risotto and pea salad; or chicken or fish cooked in the wood burning oven. 136 Main St, East Hampton; www.nickandtonis.com.

Sag Pizza

Laurent Tourondel put his stylish twist on meat patties and soda shop specials at LT Burger, and in August, he turned his talents to 12-inch Neapolitan pies, partnering with Michael Cinque of Amagansett Wine and Spirits in another high/low Sag Harbor concept.

In addition to the classic margherita, variations include Summer Squash with burrata, zucchini, onion, tomatoes, and pesto; Kale Bero with black kale, tomato, radicchio, onion, gorgonzola dolce, and chili de arbol oil; Mushroom and Tartuffo with homemade truffle paste, fontina, taleggio, sage, and garlic; Vongole with clams, garlic ramp butter, guanciale, oregano, and lemon; and a Farmer’s Market pie with tomato, peppers, sweet sausage, mushrooms, Iacono farm eggs, and Mecox cheese. There are also salads, pastas, and gelatos. 103 Main St, www.sagpizza.com.

Scarpetta

Oversized glass windows afford a prime view of the ocean at Gurney’s top dining room. In addition to the famous spaghetti with tomato and basil, there are other noteworthy pastas, including duck and foie gras ravioli; English pea mezzaluna with preserved lemon and mint; and lobster tagliatelle with asparagus, tomato, and basil bread crumbs.

Fish options include wild black bass with farro, sunchoke, frutti di mare, and gremolata; and halibut with romesco, leeks, potatoes, snap peas, and brodetto; while carnivores can opt for veal tenderloin with gnocchi alla romana, root vegetables, and glazed sweetbreads; or pecorino and herb-crusted lamb loin with crispy lamb neck, artichoke, potato, and olivata. 290 Old Montauk Hwy, Montauk. www.ldvhospitality.com/brands/scarpetta.

Lulu

The wonderful aroma and char of a wood burning oven is imparted to everything from fish to a whole head of heirloom cauliflower presented with yogurt, sesame seeds, and spicy grapes at this year-old spot on Main Street that was an overnight hit.

For seafood purists, there is a raw bar displaying everything from local oysters to lobster. Weekly specials include grilled ribeye for two, paella for two, and all you can eat mussels. 126 Main St; http://www.lulusagharbor.com.

Topping Rose

When Jean Georges took over the restaurant at this historic inn, he expanded the outdoor area, adding couches and increasing the seating. An acre of farmland enhances the produce selections, and diners can opt for simply grilled items ranging from local fish to beef tenderloin, or go for the uber chef’s more creative dishes like sweet pea soup with parmesan foam and sourdough croutons or crispy New York State duck breast with slow roasted tomato and sour cherry mole. 1 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton.  www.toppingrosehouse.com.