If summer is the season for working hard in the food and restaurant business, winter is the time to innovate. We get creative with farm-fresh ingredients, and these lists of winter produce sources from Edible East End and Edible Long Island help. So do plenty of food-centric holiday traditions. There’s a reason for potatoes (in season all winter long) showing up on Thanksgiving and Christmas tables. Ditto for fatty fowl like duck, geese and oysters (for more evidence, see the winter menu from chefs Noah Schwartz or Keith Luce).
But the cooks and restaurateurs on both forks also use winter to roll out new dishes, menus and promotions. Here are a few that you might consider:
Surf-and-turf in Noyac: Consummate front-of-the-house man David Loewenberg and chef Sam McClelland have rolled out two weekly, ingredient-focused nights at Bell & Anchor, one around lobster on Wednesdays, another around prime rib on Thursdays.
Duck holdover in Bridgehampton: We’re glad that at least one of the five duck courses at Almond’s recent all-duck all-red-wine dinner made the cut for the winter menu: duck terrine over compressed pineapple. Meatless Mondays also continue all winter long.
Movies, wine, beer and chef dinners in Riverhead: The always happening Riverhead Project is continuing its subprojects through the winter. On Thursday, diners can sign up for a chef’s dinner with Lia Fallon; Tuesdays offers the Wine Project with guest pourers; the Beer Project is on Wednesdays and four nights a week, staff-selected movies are shown on the outdoor patio.
I’ll have another in East Hampton: Nick & Toni’s, whose winter offerings now include a make-your-own-Bloody-Mary-enhanced brunch, continues to expand its craft beer and farm-to-table cocktail program. And it has also announced a “bottomless glass” on Thursday nights, from 5:30-7 p.m., when bar patrons pay $25 and enjoy a guided tasting from wine director Julie Berger, as well as new cicchetti bar bites menu.
Beer hall goes ethnic: Down the street, Rowdy Hall has tapped a new chef, Justin Finney, who has revamped the snack menu with several items rarely seen in these parts, including chipotle deviled eggs, steamed pork buns, crispy eggplant fries, butternut squash pierogi and crab hush puppies (amen)! All perfect to go with their many sudsy pours.
Sit and eat in Sag Harbor: Not exactly a restaurant. But at Tapovana, the Ashtanga yoga studio in Sag Harbor, owner Corey DeRosa, a restaurant industry veteran and avid cook, is offering communal Ayurvedic lunches at the studio at 1 p.m. on Mondays, following the noontime class. The $10, thali plates will include rice and lentils as well as a rotating cast of vegetables.