in Hampton Bays is raking in the raves. Open only a few weeks and this bay side oasis has already garnered an enthusiastic cadre of devoted fans.
Owned and operated by Chef David Hersh
and his wife Rachel Hersh
, Rumba Restaurant and Rum Bar is defined by its "island inspired cuisine," which Hersh admits was influenced by the Caribbean influenced culture of his native Miami. That is hardly the whole story as he has also opened several restaurants in New Orleans prior to coming to the Hamptons, cooked in California and trained in two kitchens in France. "I am creating the vibe of an island getaway. The food is a blend of everywhere I have ever lived, every place I have ever worked at and I do a lot with Northern seafood as well," the eclectic and well traveled chef explained.
Chef/Owner David Hersh preparing his Crab Cake Salad.
Based on the early buzz it is likely they will find their way from Southhampton, Sag Harbor and East Hampton, but Hersh insists he did not set out to create another glitterati eatery for the Hamptons rich and famous, "I am a year-round place, I am here for the locals. I don't charge much for my food. My 10 oz. filet, that I got $38 for in Florida and $36 for in California, here I am charging $28. My food costs are higher than I'd like them to be, but I am doing that because I want people to be able to come here a couple of times a week. I want this to be their local place. I want this to be their home away from home."
Along with a commitment to great fare at reasonable prices, Hersh is committed to local grown and harvested produce and seafood and that includes his wine list wherein every white in the selection is a Long Island wine, along with numerous local grown reds. He states "Ninety percent of my wine is Long Island wine, it has got to be. We are on Long Island and that is the way it should be. It is like going to Napa and not having any Napa but all French wine on your list. It doesn't make any sense to me." There is also the "Rum Bar" aspect of the operation which includes exotic island cocktails made with fresh squeezed juices that come in 16 oz. mason jars and are priced to induce smiles, not sticker shock.
Hersh and his wife were considering a move to the Caribbean, but with the arrival of their first son decided they wanted to raise a family here on our island paradise, "We decided to bring the islands to us, we are committed to making people feel the way they do when they are at an island getaway. We are going to do live Reggae, some acoustic Reggae over the summer; we want it to feel like you are at a Sandals resort."
Rumba Restaurant and Rum Bar on Canoe Place Road in Hampton Bays.
The feel is definitely accomplished with warm, dark wood tables and chairs, whirling overhead white canvas fans, colorful island art and a huge outdoor deck that gives every table, both inside and out, a spectacular view of the bay. Come by car (there is ample parking), come by boat (there is a dock), just be sure to come prepared to step into a distinctive new restaurant with exquisite food, friendly service and an island paradise ambience, as that is exactly what you will find at Rumba. Cabana wear optional, but undoubtedly encouraged.
Rumba Restaurant and Rum Bar, 43 Canoe Place Road, Hampton Bays, 631-594-3544.
The views from every table at Rumba are spectacular.
Frequently mistaken for the "Most Interesting Man in the World" from the Dos Equis commercials and the iconic gray-bearded Sean Connery, DMH is the Senior Contributing Editor at Hamptons.com. www.hamptons.com