Oakland’s is set on the tiny sliver of land between the ocean and Shinnecock Bay, just over Ponquogue Bridge and to the east. A staple of Hampton Bays, the restaurant boasts views of their marina, an outdoor deck, a nautical-inspired indoor bar and a large, but not too large, circular dining area. Upon entering, my sister and I were greeted by a friendly hostess and led to the bar area to enjoy a pre-dinner glass of wine. I felt instantly like I was on vacation in some East Coast resort, but couldn’t think of where—oh, right, we’re in the Hamptons. You can’t take that for granted.
Inside the bar area, we brought our glasses of red wine, one Malbec and one Pinot Noir, over to one of the big, comfy leather couches near a window and took in the view. Outside the window, kids were running around the outside deck, parents in tow, while big fishing boats docked, and inside we enjoyed the historic photographs, the large cozy fireplace and the openness of the long marble-topped bar. After enough girl talk to send a man running, we were led to our table. The dining area, being circular in shape, offers amazing views from any table but we had the added privilege of being right next to a window, where we watched the sky turn from blue to pink, orange and purple, and back to blue again, all during the course of our delicious dinner.
We started off with the scallop special and an organic greens and sliced beet salad, which they graciously split onto two plates for us. The scallops, very fresh and cooked perfectly, were served on top of a cake of risotto with a crunchy shell—a twist on Sicilian arancini and the textures and flavors blended together beautifully. The spring mix salad was equally enjoyable, and would have made for a lovely lunch alone, with plenty of toasted walnuts, crumbled blue cheese and sliced apples, splashed with a light sherry vinaigrette. We then indulged in a taste of shrimp served over a bed of sweet, crusted plantains and pineapple with a tangy sweet-and-sour sauce and allowed the flavors to bring us momentarily to the Bahamas. A boat named Providence docked as our entrées arrived: red snapper, for me, and flounder for my sister.
My red snapper, soft and moist, was served with a savory pea purée with a hint of truffle oil. My sister’s locally caught flounder was flakey, flavored with lemon juice, a sprinkling of fresh herbs, and served with basmati rice and very pure, steamed veggies. The portions were generous, and having had appetizers, too, we took the rest home. We managed, however, to save a little room for a bite of key lime pie, possibly the most delicious I’ve ever tried. A forkful of zesty lime and scrumptious graham cracker crust was the perfect, sweet, yet palate-cleansing, note to end on.
We’ve already made plans to come back, after a day at Ponquogue Beach, on a night when there’s live music-—Filthy Crickets is playing on 9/1 and Heart and Soul on 9/6—and to enjoy Hamptons Punches, or maybe Cucumber Margaritas, out on the deck while the sun sets. We have wintertime plans too, of course, to bring the guys with us for bites from the bar menu, like the Filet Mignon Tidbits and Spinach & Crabmeat Dip, while sipping a nice Napa Valley Cakebread Cellars hearthside, overlooking the marina.
Oakland’s is located at 373 Dune Road, Hampton Bays. Call 631-728-6900 for a reservation or visit oaklandsrestaurant.net for a peek at their lunch, dinner and kid menus, extensive wine list, event calendar, and for details on the marina’s lunch and dinner slips, facilities, and inshore and offshore charter boats.