What $500 buys you at the most popular Hamptons restaurants
There aren’t a lot of deals to be found in the Hamptons, home to million-dollar-plus monthly rentals and $1,000 Blade helicopter rides.
Along with that is the price of local lobster salad.
Last month, TikTok star Jacks Dining Room visited the Montauk outlet of longstanding East Hampton grocer Round Swamp Farm — what some might think of as the Hermès of farm stands. He then showed off the components of a $200 lunch: a $32 container of guacamole with chips, a $42 shrimp salad and a very few other items. He thought the shrimp was good, but “I wanted it to make me fly or something. ... That’s highway robbery, for sure.”
On a recent visit to the East Hampton market, Bloomberg Pursuits bought one of the store’s pricier items: a refrigerated, prepackaged lobster salad, which costs $89 a pound. A small deli container that holds just over half a pound — enough to fill a modest roll — will give you a $55 picnic table lunch for one. Add on a bag of homemade “Kung Pow” chips — the kind of deep-fried wonton skins Chinese restaurants add to takeout orders for free — and the meal will cost you $70.
In other words, $500 will get you a lobster salad lunch for eight, along with some chips and salad trimmings if you’re ordering from Round Swamp. Here’s what else half a thousand dollars will get you at some of the Hamptons’ most popular and beloved restaurants, from steaks to pistachio croissants to margaritas.
$500 gets you: Dinner for four, if you’re careful
Fresh off a million-dollar renovation, the perpetually packed Southampton institution 75 Main offers a new-American menu that ranges from Asian specialties to Mediterranean favorites. Prices are standard for the area: There’s a $42 soy-paper-wrapped spicy king crab roll for starters; as a main course, the $60 Australian lamb chops come with a tangy eggplant and caper caponata and vanilla-accented sweet potato purée.
$500 gets you: Dinner for four, featuring dry-aged cowboy steak
The Manhattan-based specialty market chain Citarella has three crowded stores on the South Fork — East Hampton, Southampton and Bridgehampton — all with a strong selection of provisions for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. Still, there’s an emphasis on meat that’s aged in-house alongside locally sourced and imported seafood. For instance, there’s the popular 40-ounce, well-marbled cowboy steak that’s been aged for 21 days and goes for $149 and wild King salmon fillets that go for around $68 a pound. Throw in some imported cheeses, Rustichella d'Abruzzo pasta and salad staples, and you’ve got dinner.
$500 gets you: Pasta and steak dinner for three
Inside the buzzy Gurney’s Montauk Resort, at the seaside outpost of Scarpetta — the glossy Italian chain that started in New York and has since gone global — there’s a price to pay for dining by the beach. That translates into $41 housemade pastas and a $68 New York prime strip au jus, which feeds one. That leaves room in the budget for the $24 Italian margaritas (the classic, with a splash of Aperol) at the bar beforehand or after.
$500 gets you: Brunch for 10, from pistachio croissants to lobster rolls
Concepts come and go in the Hamptons. One of the breakout hits in the past few years is the seasonal cafe and mini chain Carissa’s, whose flagship is in Amagansett. Jewel-box-style cases display stunning pastries, including the $7 pistachio-cream-filled croissant from former Per Se baker John Ward. The place also specializes in a range of freshly baked breads that the team layers into seasonal sandwiches like the spiced beet and kimchi Reuben with Gruyère on sourdough. Carissa’s is also home to arguably the Hamptons’ best lobster roll. It’s a $38 masterpiece — a buttery brioche bun piled high with warm Maine lobster meat dressed in lemon aioli. You can also throw in the $7 lime hibiscus coolers or $8 matcha lattes.
$500 gets you: Dinner for nine, including lobster, steamers, mussels, corn on the cob
This weathered wood shack — also the oldest continually run seafood shop on the East End, having opened in 1955 — is set on a residential street in Amagansett. It’s a popular place for locals to stock up on lobsters ($19 a pound) and other assorted superfresh seafood. And if you’re hosting a party, the $55-per-person lobster dinner (the approximate price of the Round Swamp lobster salad container) comes with over a pound of lobster, corn on the cob, mussels, little neck clams — and even butter.
$500 gets you: A three-course dinner for four
Acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s seasonal new-American restaurant in Bridgehampton’s whitewashed boutique hotel Topping Rose House is one of the area’s more popular dining-out destinations. The $98 three-course tasting menu features pepper-crusted beef tenderloin with a confit of tomatoes from nearby farmstand Balsam Farms, and sautéed black sea bass accented with a chili garlic crumb. The $40-a-glass Veuve Clicquot rosé Champagne will go well with either option, but take the meal over budget.
$500 gets you: Two 17-piece omakase
In a cozy space accented with aquatic-themed indigo-blue wallpaper and blonde wood is the Water Mill outpost of Manhattan’s modern mini-sushi chain Kissaki. At the 14-seat counter, chef Edgar Valerio offers one of the few omakase in the Hamptons, priced at $200. The menu begins with a couple of chef’s choice appetizers, followed by 12 pieces of nigiri — like seared wagyu and buttery Japanese kinki fish — as well as a toro hand roll and a fluffy Japanese-style cheesecake for dessert.
$500 gets you: Around 14 piña coladas and two dozen oysters
For 15 years, Montauk’s beachy boutique hotel and restaurant the Surf Lodge has been the de facto stop for rosé-fueled, coastal-ingredient-focused dinners that lead into cocktails and bottle service late at night. There’s an array of $22 libations, including a mix of fruity and tropical beverages including a brightly colored strawberry spritz and boozy piña coladas. If you roll up with a group of friends, $500 won’t get you far; you’ll have just enough for a round or two of drinks and two dozen oysters.