Befitting the rave reviews for the Topping Rose House restaurant, its new weekend brunch is a gastronomic riff on familiar Hamptons brunch fare. There are recognizable elements with an East End brunchy feel, like eggs and ham and lobster in some form. But a quick glance a the menu reveals something more. “We have wonderful ingredients to play with and put on our own twist,” says Chef de Cuisine Ty Kotz. Consider the lobster arancini, a side dish. It is prepped the night before as risotto laced with Grana Padano and herbs and is pressed around a lobster knuckle. These golf-ball sized arancini are then breaded and fried just before serving, crisp on the outside, soft with runny cheese and the lobster within.
If you order the popular Bridgehampton town fry, you’ll be served organic eggs from Browder’s Birds scrambled with bacon cured in house. This will be topped with four or five oysters from Montauk’s Mermaid Select, which are fried in a corn meal and corn flour coating with a touch of Aleppo pepper. The fry is served with garlic-rubbed toast points and the dish is dusted with fermented chili, a by-product of Tabasco sauce after it has been aged four years in oak.
As on the dinner menu, Kotz focus on vegetables, rice and herbs, instead of the proteins that usually get top billing. So the mushroom risotto cakes are listed on the menu in bold face type and beneath it reads: two organic farm eggs, spinach and bacon broth. Maitake or hen of the woods mushrooms flavor the cakes, which are topped with a dollop of bacon jam, sherry vinegar molasses. This is an extension of the dinner menu presentation, which lists, for example, braised onions, saffron and fennel in bold face type above a smaller listing of spiced roast lobster.
It’s hard to choose at brunch. Caramelized roasted figs arrive with lemon ricotta pancakes, the ricotta house-made and blended almost to a cream cheese consistency from Goodale Farms milk. There’s a frittata of sweet potatoes, swiss chard and sunchokes and homemade granola with pecans and Goodale Farms yogurt. There are pastries and sides of bacon and sausage and grits and fingerlings and veggies.
Topping Rose Restaurant is an extremely appealing setting for a casual, relaxed brunch, and most dishes are priced under $20. As yet there aren’t any startling postscripts to the menu like the evening’s gnocchi: “Red Kuri Squash with Brown butter $21/$29. Add fresh white truffle supplement $95/$180.”
The Topping Rose House Restaurant in its newly restored 1842 Greek revival mansion is open for brunch Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm, and for dinner from 5:30 pm Wednesday to Sunday year-round. Topping Rose House Restaurant, One Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike, Bridgehampton, NY 11932. Reservations 631-537-0870.