- In only its second successful season, Rugosa has staked it claim to the location that was Almondito and in the process carved out its share of enthusiastic Hampton epicureans.
Chef Bill Mammes
Chef Bill Mammes sautéeing his Lavender-Dijion encrusted halibut.
is a Long Island native who headed south to Atlanta after graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in 1997. There he paid his dues working for noted chefs Jean Benechet
and Joel Antunes
. A further migration south, Mammes took the position of Sous Chef at Victor's in the New Orleans Ritz-Carlton under Chef Frank Brunacci
. It was there that Bill met his wife and Rugosa co-owner Yvette Mammes
, a noted Pastry Chef and New Orleans native.
The couple moved to Las Vegas where their combined experience reads like a who's who of the dessert's culinary landmarks with Yvette at Bouchon, Le Cirque
and Alex in the Wynn Hotel and Bill earning the honor of opening Hubert Keller's
Fleur de Lys. Returning to New York in 2006 to put down roots in the East End, Yvette worked on starting a family and Bill worked for two years with Ian Scollay
at the Maidstone
. Before breaking out on his own at Rugosa, Bill opened Indian Wells Tavern
for Hamptons restaurant svengalis Chris Eggert
and Kevin Boles
Okay we have established the pedigree, but what exactly is Rugusa all about you may ask. The restaurant can be best described as modern American cuisine with Bill claiming "serious French influences." The table setting is classic white linen, but there is a cool, beach breeziness to the feel of the main dining room and a warm cozy ambiance to the adjacent interior seating area. Local featured artists cover the walls and beautiful potted orchards are the centerpiece floral design. There is also a marble topped bar with four window booths.
The table setting is classic white linen, but there is a cool, beach breeziness to the feel of the main dining room.
Rugosa is open for dinner Wednesdays through Mondays until 10 p.m. with a Prix Fixe three course menu daily from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. They are also about to unveil a special bar menu and there are special wine pairing dinners scheduled for the season.
Rugusa has an outdoor patio that at this point seems to be unused. May I suggest an alfresco, après dinner cigar, drink, dessert lounge? As far as I know Commissiar Bloomberg
is only the mayor of NYC, not yet the supervisor of East Hampton.
That aside, let's get down to the Rugosa dish that is indeed this installment of "Hamptons Dish." Chef Mammes is sharing with us his recipe for Lavender-Dijon Crusted Halibut with Lavender Jus.
Rugosa Restaurant on Montauk Highway in East Hampton.
First - the crust which is created by combining 1 cup of Panko breadcrumbs, 1 ½ tbsp of dry lavender and 1 tbsp. of melted butter, simply! The lavender jus is a bit more complicated. Here are the ingredients and preparation instructions:
Lavender Jus ingredients:
Halibut bones, or bones from any mild white fish
• 2 tbsp. butter
• 1/4 cup onion, chopped
• 3 tbsp. dry lavender
• 2 tbsp. honey
• 2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
• 1 1/2 cup veal stock or demi-glace
• 1 juice of a fresh lemon
Lightly brown the butter in a sauce pot. Add the halibut bones and roast until lightly browned. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the honey and lavender and caramelize slightly. Deglaze with sherry vinegar. Reduce the vinegar by half and add the veal stock and 1/2 cup water. Simmer and reduce to consistency. Strain the sauce and refresh with the juice of one lemon, add the juice to taste, it might only need a little. Now we move on to the entrée itself.
Lavender-Dijon Crusted Halibut with Lavender Jus ingredients:
• 1 ea. 7 oz. Halibut Fillet, skinless
• 1 tsp. Dijon mustard
• Asparagus, cooked
• Fingerling Potatoes, cooked
Cooking The Fish And Plating:
Brush the fish with Dijon mustard on one side and press lightly into the lavender/panko mix. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium. Oil the pan and add the fish, crust down. Regulate the heat so as not to burn the panko. When the crust is lightly browned, flip the fish and cook slowly so as not to dry out the Halibut. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the fish. When only a little resistance is given remove the fish from the pan. Serve with the asparagus, potatoes and lavender jus.
I found this dish subtle yet earthy with a delicate tang that includes two ingredients that are iconic to Provence cooking, lavender and Dijion mustard. This is a regular on the Rugosa summer menu and I highly recommend it, as I do Rugosa itself.
Rugosa Restaurant is located at 290 Montauk Highway, East Hampton.
For more information call 631-604-1550, or go to www.rugosarestaurant.com
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