Hamptons Restaurant Review: Estia’s Little Kitchen

It’s been too long since I visited Estia’s Little Kitchen just outside Sag Harbor—I’ve been taking it for granted. It’s always right there along the turnpike, always buzzing, always serving great meals. The cute little garden in the back—it’s actually pretty damn big and now the outdoor areas are all done-up with seating and plantings for next spring.

My husband and I were joined by another couple for dinner. Couple number two, Liz and Alex, kept remarking on how they’d often come here for breakfasts and lunches—dinner struck them as a lovely idea. The food is not too spicy, the décor is not too glam. Estia’s Little Kitchen offers a big welcome and, as Alex pointed out, the menu is remarkably legible. (I’ll leave out his complaints about particular East End eateries’ handwritten scribblings that leave way too much room for interpretation. He’s Russian, so he knows from scribbles.)

We started off with a bottle of Sinn Estate Coalescence—for $20. Right on.

Liz began with a salad. It’s such a quick trip from garden to table—it’s definitely fresh, hence the name of Estia’s “2 Hour Salad” of roasted fennel, tender shaved beets, carrots and feta. She commented, “The fresh fennel is very yummy.” Liz has had her own garden for years, so she knows fresh when she eats it.

My husband had the Mini Grilled Shrimp Tacos with guacamole and greens. His comment? “Mmm, that’s good.” Alex inhaled the Crab Tostados of jumbo lump crab and guacamole. I went with the Mexican Sweet Corn Soup with Foster Farm’s poblano pepper. The double lusciousness of salty cheese and sweet corn, bright pepper flavor and crispy strips of tortilla—I chose well too. The heat of the pepper in this dish builds slowly in the mouth, a pleasing sensation.

I was also quite taken with my entrée—the Paella of Andouille sausage, chicken, shrimp, littleneck clams and tender, local flounder. Liz and Alex also “went local.” While Liz enjoyed a special, a Pan-Seared Striped Bass with Foster Farm’s broccoli and tomato risotto, Alex dug into a Long Island Duck Breast, which was cooked
medium rare and served with tasty apple-ginger chutney and red quinoa. Husband had the satisfyingly simple Shredded Pork Burrito with rice, beans and avocado salad.

Husband and I shared a Paumanok Late Harvest Riesling with dessert—a refreshing dish of watermelon and mango sorbets. This Riesling is very sweet, as you’d expect, but it also offered a depth of complex flavor.

Liz and Alex let us sample their desserts. The Chocolate Flan Cake with Kahlua sauce was so moist and delicately flavored! And, oh my, that was some delightfully saturated Tres Leche Cake with Grilled Pineapple. Liz said, “Mmm, mmm. I will come back here for dessert! This is SO GOOD!” Of course it is, it’s all made in-house by chef/owner Colin Ambrose’s crack team.

Did I mention the service? It’s good—one of the few places out here where the servers wait for everyone to finish a course before they start to clear. I appreciate that and I appreciate Ambrose’s Mexican-flavored approach to cooking local ingredients. Next time, I’ll get back to Estia’s Little Kitchen sooner rather than later.

Estia’s Little Kitchen, 1615 Bridgehampton Sag Harbor Turnpike Sag Harbor, 631-725-1045, estiaslittlekitchen.com

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