You will not find a menu online for Carissa Waechter’s new restaurant on Pantigo Lane, but that should not dissuade you from going. Actually, maybe that will pique your curiosity. In the digital age, how many things, after all, remain shrouded in mystery? Until I showed up for an impromptu birthday party in late August, I had eaten at Carissa’s new venture, a sit-down restaurant, only once, the weekend it opened. That was the 4th of July weekend, to be specific, and the restaurant hummed along with surprising efficiency that day, given the limitations of one of the Hamptons’ Big Three.
Since that weekend, the restaurant has opened for dinner, too. When I arrived, we huddled by the bar, ordering bespoke cocktails from a slim, smart list. At a farm table, at the restaurant’s entrance, that sat a collection of literal farmers and other food people, I enjoyed the magic of this restaurant. Outside, the sky explode into pink, while, inside, small dishes arrived: blistered shishito peppers with aioli; a summer salad of cucumber, tomato, string beans, and ricotta salata; anchovy toast; dark-meated pucks of fried chicken too irresistible to pass up hot (we singed our palates).
Everything about the restaurant is lovely, from the thoughtful glassware (not unlike the glassware at my own home) to the thoughtful food, and although it was a dinner of assembled friends it felt like the whole restaurant was brought together by a shared ethos. Weren’t we all just friends getting together for a snack? That’s the pervading feeling at Carissa’s place, a happy, warm spot that was once ice-cold (I wanted to like its predecessor, Momi Ramen, but, sadly, could not). Some have asked if this space predicts certain failure, but I assure you: It does not. In the right hands, this space is, in fact, magic. I have seen it with my own eyes.