A Delicious Day in the Hamptons: Topping Rose House & Eleven Madison Park’s Summer House Pop-Up
August 19, 2017 / Stephanie Miskew / 0 Comments
After a late night at the James Beard Foundation’s dreamy “Chefs & Champagne” event (I just can’t resist a dance floor and 80’s music!) we slept pretty late the next morning. As the Champagne-induced haze lifted, we decided on a deliciously relaxing day wandering the Hamptons. There are definitely worse places to wander, that’s for sure!
We set out into the blissfully sunny Summer day (with zero humidity, Z E R O) and, after a pit stop at the Southampton Starbucks, we made our way to Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton for an afternoon cocktail (nothing like a little hair of the dog, my friends!).
Built in the 1840s, the Topping Rose House was extensively renovated in 2011 and is one of the Hampton’s most beautiful and luxurious hotels. We sipped delicious Ginger Margaritas as we relaxed into cozy chairs on the beautiful green lawn. As we kicked off our shoes, the feel of the cool, damp grass on our feet was sheer heaven.
In 2016 world renowned Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten took over the Topping Rose restaurant. After dining there last year, I thought the food was truly fabulous but we had another place in mind for that evening. It was a long shot, but hey, after a Ginger Margarita anything seemed possible.
Earlier this year, New York’s famed Eleven Madison Park was named The World’s Best Restaurant. Needless to say when you’re named the number one restaurant on the planet, your already sterling reputation becomes, well, legendary.
So when we discovered owner/partners Chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara were closing Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan for the Summer and heading to East Hampton to open a Summer pop-up restaurant…well, we were ALL in!
However, EMP Summer House, a partnership between Eleven Madison Park (aka EMP) and American Express, was not intended to be a mini-version of the famed, sophisticated NYC eatery. In fact, quite the opposite. This playful, Summer-inspired riff was to feature classic Summer cuisine in a casual atmosphere.
The new concept truly embodies Summer featuring an a la carte menu, whimsical decor and indoor and outdoor seating. But the pièce de résistance of EMP Summer House is its expansive back yard replete with ping pong tables, corn hole boards, and oodles of other fun activities for children and adults alike. The fun, festive ambiance exudes Summer…chic, Hamptons Summer but definitely Summer nonetheless.
While reservations are required for the indoor dining room, the patio and backyard are for walk-ins and thankfully, the Hubs and I slid right in for the first dinner seating. But while the atmosphere was relaxed Summer chic, the Summer House seriously ‘brought it’ with the food. This casual, Summer-inspired meal was definitely my most memorable of the year!
To take full advantage of the impending sunset and heavenly weather, we dined al fresco adjacent to the beautiful lawn which was buzzing with activity. We decided to indulge in some bubbles and the super approachable and knowledgeable Somm guided us toward an excellent choice, the Bérêche et Fils Brut Réserve Champagne NV. This delightful grower Champagne, made of equal parts Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, is a blend of 70% base year wine with the balance reserve wines.
As promised, the sparkler did embody the richness of Krug Grande Cuvée balanced by a splendid, food friendly acidity. While truly delicious on its own, the Champagne’s layers also paired brilliantly with the deliciousness to come.
At the recommendation of our server (everything looked incredible it was SO hard to pick!), we ordered the Lobster Tempura with Bibb Lettuce and Chile Lime Aioli; Corn, Black Truffle and Parmesan Flatbread and the Bouillabaisse for Two.
The Lobster Tempura and Corn and Black Truffle Flatbread arrived together and were as much a feast for the eyes as our palates. The contrast of the warm, tender lobster coated in a heavenly, golden tempura with the crisp, cool lettuce leaves was superb and only made more so by the spicy aioli.
The heavenly flatbread was a delightful combination of flavors and textures. The crispy grilled bread was the perfect delivery system for the deliciously al dente corn kernels and earthy truffle shavings. Each bite was perfectly accented by flavorful snipped chives and a generous dusting of snowy, shaved Parmesan that just melted in our mouths.
As if our first course wasn’t amazing enough, the bouillabaisse took things to another level. A dish intended for two, Steve and I each received our own plate featuring a golden crusted black bass fillet and a dollop of delicious rouille, a classic bouillabaisse accompaniment.
In the center of the table was the bouillabaisse proper, a generous white bowl filled with heavenly braised fennel, shellfish and potatoes in a delightful, saffron-imbued, tomato-based broth. The dish was garnished with additional saffron and fennel fronds making it even MORE Instagram-worthy!
The care that went into the preparation of each individual ingredient was astounding. From the creamy, perfectly sliced potatoes to the tender, plump shrimp to the savory, tender fennel – each component was sheer perfection. Steve and I savored each and every bite washing it down with our delicious Champagne. We seriously didn’t think the meal could really get any better at that point…boy were we wrong!
You see, a few months ago while in NYC for business I had the pleasure of staying at the NoMad Hotel and dining at the Elephant Bar. While the food was indeed amazing, my favorite thing about the meal was the delicious Milk and Honey dessert which I dispatched single-handedly. So when I saw it there on the Summer House menu, I knew we were ALL in!
So while we were sure of our dessert choice…what about a wine pairing? Well, once we spotted the ’96 Château d’Yquem Sauternes, the perfect pairing for this honeyed, divine concoction, we decided to go for it…as in we split a glass between the two of us 🙂 And if you’ve seen any of my social media posts, you’ve probably seen the slow motion pour of this nectar from the gods, but just in case you missed it, you can watch it right here.
As we sipped and savored (and battled for) the remaining bites of dessert and sips of wine, we couldn’t have been more content. We were so glad we made the effort to drive out to East Hampton which rewarded us tenfold. It made me even MORE determined to experience Eleven Madison Park in the future…probably 10 years from now when we can finally get a reservation.
If you plan on visiting the Hamptons and would like to dine at EMP Summer House, there’s still time! They’re accepting reservations until September 4th but, if you happen to be in the neighborhood, why not drop by unexpectedly.
EMP Summer House
341 Pantigo Road
East Hampton, NY 11937
August 19, 2017 / Stephanie Miskew / 0 Comments
Stephanie Miskew thinks life is better with wine and she wants to help you enjoy it to the fullest! As a Certified Sommelier, her real world advice on tasting wine like a pro, discovering which wines you truly love, picking the perfect bottle for any occasion and creating magical food and wine pairings will have you looking like a wine expert in any situation.
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