Restaurant comments: CowFish (Hampton Bays)

A cowfish. Not generally found in the waters off Shinnecock Bay.

Chris and I consider it our duty to try to keep abreast of the restaurants here in the Hamptons so that we can recommend them with some accuracy. One of our latest forays was to CowFish, the newest addition to Hampton Bay’s culinary scene. Owned by Chef David Hersh and his wife Rachel who also own the wildly popular (but way too small!) Rumba Rum Bar right down the street, CowFish is located right on the Shinnecock Canal where the venerable Indian Cove has been a fixture for decades. The large, airy space with multiple outdoor decks and patios now has a slightly cowboy decor, which works because as a chef, David is definitely a cowboy. We loved that most of the items on the menu you wouldn’t find anywhere else in the Hamptons…like blackened shrimp over fried green tomatoes, or lobster and crab sushi with asparagus, avocado, a slice of strawberry, and a strawberry sauce. And yeah, that actually works. That’s why it’s shown half eaten in the photo!

Lobster sushi!

Like Rumba, there is a signature dessert at CowFish, and it is well worth saving a little room for it. Okay, a lot of room for it. It’s Banana Cream Pie, and omigod is it yummy. I think the crust is made with walnuts. Then they drizzle it with a little caramel sauce and sprinkle it with a little grated chocolate. Grandma never made it this good, I promise!

Unlike Rumba, Cowfish is a big place — there is a large dining room, a patio, and two outdoor decks as well as a bar, and they’ve put up a wooden “pirate ship ” outdoor playset for the kids to play on while waiting for their dinner reservation (the parents can watch from the bar deck above). And it’s waterfront on the canal. Good food, good views, good buzz…how can you lose?

Not sure if they’ll take rezzies (Rumba doesn’t), but at A Butler’s Manor, we’ll have the map ready for anyone who wants to go!

Special occasions and seasonal rebirths

One of the truly joyous things about owning a bed and breakfast is when we get to participate, in a small way, in a special life event of our guests.

Such is the case today. Matt and Nicole are visiting from Canada, and somewhere in our fair village (or–chances are–the beach), Matt is planning to propose. So, in anticipation of a positive response, we’ve set up in their room a celebratory display of champagne, roses, and our seasonal favorite daffodils to welcome the newly affianced couple back. We’ll have the fire going just in case they feel like enjoying their champagne in front of it…We love days like this!

Speaking of the village, Spring is springing wonderfully here in the Hamptons. Here in Southampton, lots of stores and a couple restaurants are undergoing facelifts in anticipation of the summer season, including BookHampton, 75 Main, and Plaza Cafe. We visited with Chef Doug Gujila over dinner and love the cool new blue look of the main dining room…With handmade fish art by local wine merchant John Rist, it feels a little like the Caribbean.
Relocating from Water Mill, Muse has sailed over to moor on Main Street in Sag Harbor, and is now Muse In The Harbor. Chris and I went with friends to visit with Chef Matt Guffrieda and check out his shiny new digs, complete with a huge fish tank acting as a central room divider. I love Matt’s creative takes on food: my Tilapia Wienerschnitzel was scrumptious, and do not miss the Zeppole for dessert. Yum!
As usual, spring heralds the arrival of some new faces to our restaurant scene. In the old Post House location that housed Nello’s Summertimes is now Nammo’s, reportedly owned/operated by the folks who have run Trata in Water Mill these past few years. And over the canal in Hampton Bays, Chef David Hersh of Rumba fame plans to open a second, larger restaurant reportedly called Cowfish in the large, canal-front location that has housed Indian Cove for decades. I expect we’ll be one of the first in line to visit and sample his new menu.
So…waiting eagerly for the return of our young couple…will she say yes??
Quote of the Day: April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. ~William Shakespeare
UPDATE!!! Matt writes: “Everything went great … she said yes!  Thanks so much for all you did to make it so special for us,  We’ve had a great stay here to say the least.”

Kicking off summer 2010

It just doesn’t get any better than this:  a warm summer afternoon on the stunning Tuscan-inspired patio overlooking the vineyards at Wolffer Estate Winery, enjoying a glass of wine, some artisanal cheeses and bread while listening to international jazz by saxophonist Charles Certain and guitarist Alfredo Merat. The winery’s popular Twilight Thursdays (at the winery) and Sunset Fridays (at the farmstand on Rte. 27, just east of the winery) are back. Summer can officially begin!

While the calendar says summer is still almost a month away, Memorial Day is traditionally the summer kick-off here in the Hamptons. In the garden here at A Butler’s Manor, the warm, wet Spring has pushed everything forward about three weeks ahead of schedule. Most Memorial Day weekends, I’m cutting lilacs for the guest rooms…this year, it will be the pink Queen Elizabeth roses, which began opening this morning. And it looks like we’ll have perfect 70-degree weather for the holiday weekend. As I write, the outside temp is 80 degrees, the first real hot day of the year, and the pool is looking mighty tempting! I hope everyone is packing the sunscreen for the weekend, as the beach is going to be the place to be!

In our ongoing efforts to update our restaurant dining guide for our guests (hey, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it), Chris and I visited a new restaurant overlooking the canal in Hampton Bays this week. Rumba is Caribbean island-inspired cuisine with a distinct nod to owner/chef David Hersh’s Miami upbringing and New Orleans background. It’s a small, casual place reminiscent of an island beach bar, with bamboo paddle fans and a deck overlooking the Shinnecock Canal. We had delectable Dominican ribs, and yummy marinated rib eye with roasted sweet potatoes and…I couldn’t help it…I had to splurge on the homemade key lime pie with a mountain of real whipped cream. And speaking of entertainment, on Thursdays Rumba features “Project Vibe,” live Reggae music from 8 -11 PM. A breeze off the water, the setting sun, a convivial crowd…what could go better with your daiquiri, mon?

Looking forward to warm summer breezes..and French wines with cheeses…and maybe some Jimmy Buffett music to go with the sand between my toes…

Quote of the Day: Summer afternoon – Summer afternoon… the two most beautiful words in the English language. — Henry James