Summer is but a whisper, and that means we have to enjoy it before it disappears. Part of enjoying it means heading to the East End when we can—and indulging in some quintessentially summer dishes while we’re out there. Choosing six quintessential dishes of this season of plenty is no easy task, but if someone has to do it, well, I guess I’ll volunteer.
The Lobster Fettuccine at The Crow’s Nest
Yes, this replaces the much-loved crab tagliatelle—but I’m ok with it. Toothsome fresh pasta is tossed with a whole lotta lobster, some Calabrian chiles, good olive oil, and a sprinkling of dill. This season, the portions at this Montauk hotspot are noticeably larger, and that means more pasta to go around. And while some may crave the simplicity of the lobster roll, this pasta dish won my heart, and will continue for seasons to come. Like the restaurant, it’s gone with the season.
The Crow’s Nest, 4 Old West Lake Drive, Montauk, (631) 668.2077, open nightly in season.
The BLT Taco at Mattitaco
I hereby declare the BLT taco the official taco of summer 2019. Don’t @ me. This taco, from the taco connoisseurs of Mattituck, features butter-poached lobster and, of course, applewood-smoked bacon. I’m not sure if there is a better marriage on the planet, and, if there is, I probably don’t want to know about it. Of course, lobster (and bacon) is not for everyone, so if you’re the type who prefers your tacos shellfish-less, never fear; the Baja features panko-dusted and Old Bay-spiced New England cod, accompanied by a pico de gallo and lime aioli.
Mattitaco, 10560 Main Road, Mattituck, (631) 298.7826, open Sunday through Tuesday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The Burrata with Heirloom Grape Tomatoes at Tutto Il Giorno South
If someone ever tells you they’re sick and tired of burrata, run away, immediately. I do not care how many times I see this ball-of-cream-inside-a-ball-of-cheese: I will always, always order it. Luckily, at Southampton’s Tutto Il Giorno, that compulsion is not a mistake. Here, the globe of burrata comes with sliced, tiny heirloom tomatoes, as well as a healthy helping of basil. The cheese is so good, you won’t even need the bread (but that doesn’t mean you won’t want it).
Tutto Il Giorno South, 56 NY-27A, Southampton, (631) 377.3611, open Monday through Thursday, 5:30 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to 11 p.m., and Sunday, 5:30 to 10:30 p.m.
The Corn Tempura at K’Pasa
Replacing La Superica is this high-concept Mexican joint, and it is everything we had hoped for, and more. I’m fond of a summer spent bathed in batter (and nothing spells summer for me quite like the smell of a good, old-fashioned deep-fry), but corn bathed in batter? World, you are too good. Even better than the existence of a dish that involves both corn and deep-frying is the fact that this snack is only $6.
K’Pasa, 2 Main Street, Sag Harbor, (631) 800.TACO, call for seasonal hours.
The Weekend Lobster Bake at Claudio’s Waterfront
Sorry-not-sorry for obsessing over lobster this summer, but, hey, ‘tis the season. At the reinvented Claudio’s in Greenport, the waterfront restaurant serves up an impressive lobster feast every Friday night from 4 to 9 p.m. and all day on Saturdays and Sundays. A 1 1/4 –pound lobster comes with steamed mussels, roasted potatoes, cole slaw, and, of course, corn-on-the-cob, which is peak summer deliciousness. There’s lobster and then there’s lobster, and the whole enchilada really is the gateway to summer Nirvana.
Claudio’s Waterfront, 111 Main Street, Greenport, (631) 477.1889, call for seasonal hours.
The Seven Spice-Seared Sea Scallops at Dockside Bar & Grill
In Sag Harbor, there are plenty of ways to do seafood right, and Dockside is forever one of them. Five massive day-boat scallops come with sautéed vegetable (the set changes, but expect something like snow peas), along with jasmine rice. This dish is all about the freshness of the seafood, and the quality is more than evident. Is five scallops even enough? I’m not sure.
Dockside Bar & Grill, 26 Bay Street, Sag Harbor, (631) 725.7100, call for seasonal hours.