Bridgehampton Restaurant Review: Tom Colicchio’s Topping Rose House

What could be a better place for a Sunday morning brunch than the Topping Rose House?

This restaurant from celebrity chef Tom Colicchio burst upon the scene in the summer of 2012 in the newly restored, 200-year-old Topping Rose House Inn (formerly the Bull’s Head Inn, including its original blown glass windows), facing the monument in the center of downtown Bridgehampton. The dining room is spare and warm. It is a great place for a meal of this sort.

I think it is fair to say that the people running this restaurant are on a mission to become the finest restaurant on the East End, and even for brunch on Sunday the effort sparkles. Practically every ingredient of every dish comes from the immediate area, from farms, ranches, even the Multi Aquaculture System facility in Napeague. Things that can’t be found here, or are out-of-season here, come from as close as possible, carefully chosen by the chefs and staff. Indeed, every waiter can tell you where everything came from.

We were started off with a pastry basket, but not your usual pastry basket. Here, in a cloth, were warm rhubarb muffins, flaky, perfect buttermilk biscuits and soft, warm croissants, with three small cups of honey butter, whipped cream and apple butter to spread on them. After that we sampled homemade yogurt topped with house-made granola, sliced apples dipped in honey and candied pecans, and from there those at our table ordered
their main courses.

Nothing we ordered was less than extraordinary. Much of it was very imaginative. I had the Bridgehampton Town Fry, which had Montauk fried oysters atop a soft scrambled organic farm egg, scrambled with bacon scraps, fried onions and chili dust sitting on a homemade biscuit. On the side were grits with chives and Mecox Bay cheese.

My wife had a Croque Madame, a brioche with béchamel sauce mixed with a Mecox Sigit cheese over a North Fork Browder’s Birds egg, with, on the side, new potatoes (blanched then fried) from Marilee Foster.

A member of our party had plump lemon ricotta pancakes with an apple compote on top with sides of homemade maple sausage and thick, Pittsburgh-style bacon served hot and dry, not oily.

For dessert we had an array of homemade (a recipe from pastry chef Cassandra Shupp’s aunt, she said) brioche doughnuts heated with a brown butter maple glaze. And the whole thing was washed down with Stumptown Coffee Roasters House Blend coffee, a mild, nutty flavor chosen by the house.

Other things on the brunch menu include seasonal omelets, eggs Benedict, pappardelle and brioche French toast with salted caramel, banana toffee and apple butter.

Right on the menu it tells you where the ingredients come from. They include, in addition to those already mentioned, Good Water Farms, Satur Farms, Niman Ranch, Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop, Amber Waves Farm, Blue Island Oyster Company and, finally, the restaurant’s own private garden on the property.

The service, as the food, is impeccable. This is all top of the line. We are fortunate to have a restaurant serving such a remarkable brunch in the Hamptons. They have not yet been rated by Zagat. I can hardly wait to see how they rate this place. Hats off to Chef Colicchio, Executive Chef Ty Kotz, Chef de Cuisine Kyle Koenig (who orchestrated our brunch from the kitchen) and the aforementioned pastry Chef Cassandra Shupp.

Topping Rose House, 1 Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, 631-537-0870, toppingrosehouse.com

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