East End Dispatch: Eat Drink Local at Red Bar Brasserie in Southampton

That cozy, bustling room. Photograph by Robin Saidman

We arrived at Southampton’s Red Bar Brasserie, a glowing candlelit room, and both opted for the the $29 prix fixe, as part of Eat Drink Local. The Brazilian waiter (“I’m a southern boy,” he grinned. “Way south.”) served us two salads, the first Satur Farms mesclun dressed in a vinaigrette of sweet Banylus wine vinegar and warm chevre (the crisp greens probably hours-old) and the endive-watercress salad with sliced pears, stilton, hazelnuts, and sherry vinegar .

At this point, co-owner and front-of-the-house man David Loewenberg stops by to mention a few of the local offerings on the menu, prepared by chef Erik Nodeland–striped bass crudo, the linguini with local littleneck clams (clam day!), sauteed local monkfish and Long Island duck breast (duck day!). “We embrace the concept of eating and drinking local all the time,” said Loewenberg, whose three restaurants, including red bar, Fresno and Beacon, were all represented at the recent Harvest East End in Sagaponack, and where Loewenberg played the server, offering up Beacon chef Sam McCleland’s chilled sweet corn soup drizzled with heirloom tomato confit: “All you should taste is corn in a spoon.”

In the drinks menu at red bar, in a box headed “Drink Local,” were Paumanok Vineyards 2009 Festival Chardonnay, which Loewenberg said he loved for its crispness and Wolffer Estate’s 2006 “La Ferme Martin” merlot, both $10 a glass and delicious.

The roasted Montauk fluke is cooked en barigoule, poached lightly in olive oil and white wine along with zucchini (squash day!), artichoke hearts and herbs. The fluke was moist, tender, the zucchini almost crisp, the sauce complexly-flavored, but delightfully light.  Next came a chicken breast perfumed with summer truffles tucked beneath its skin served on a bed of wild mushroom risotto and slender green beans and a rich, mahogany-brown sauce ($27 on the regular menu). “This is our signature dish which we always have–white truffles in the summer, and black truffles in the winter,” said Loewenberg.

We (perhaps foolishly) decide to split one dessert, a white chocolate cheesecake with a chocolate granache crust and a sauce of raspberries, blackberries and blue berries and it seals our plans to return.

Tomorrow night it’s on to Nick & Toni and the special Eat, Drink Local  menu executive chef Joe Realmuto has prepared, and the next to Pierre’s in Bridgehampton, both open this weekend and dishing up EDL specials. (Find the Eat Drink Local partner in your neighborhood here.)

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