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The Lodge Bar & Grill: A Rustic Retreat With Gourmet Flair

Originally Posted: February 04, 2009

Nicole B. Brewer

The mix of music and people tell the story of the food at The Lodge Bar & Grill - eclectic, fun, and full of unexpected surprises that will keep you going back time and time again. Photos by Nicole B. Brewer

East Hampton - Fresh ingredients speak for themselves at the cozy The Lodge Bar & Grill in East Hampton. Simple yet refined dishes are served in a comfortable atmosphere and after one visit it'll be one of your favorite spots for lunch and dinner.

Guests can sample petite crab cakes with wasabi garlic sauce to
get their meal started.

The restaurant interior is rustic and chic with a large copper-topped bar nearly the length of the restaurant, leather booths with copper-topped tables, and exposed brick walls and floor. On a recent visit, the central fireplace flanked by overstuffed leather couches was a warm meeting spot packed with friends who enjoyed cocktails and small plates as well as animated conversation. The Lodge is not your typical white napkin, hushed conversation sort of place with small, delicate portions. This hopping spot is bustling with laughter and flavors that jump off the plate.

For starters, guests can sample petite crab cakes with wasabi garlic sauce, crispy calamari with chipolte mayonnaise, or the 'sticks to your ribs' lobster corn chowder. Especially of note are the succulent, over-sized Baby Back Ribs that positively fall off the bone and melt in your mouth. Packed with bold flavors, the sweet and spicy sauce will make you wonder, "Baby who?" because there's nothing small on this plate. For those who can't turn down a skewered dish, try the grilled prime beef brochettes with peppers and onions and sit back as your taste buds wake up in anticipation of the entrees. Many of the starters come with a side of slaw, in particular the red cabbage variety is crunchy and creamy with tangy vinegar and white wine.

The rib-eye is always a favorite.

While waiting for the next course, my guest and I took time to notice the cool, jazzy music at the bar and discovered that this family-friendly place is a favorite for social regulars who enjoy great food, good company, and casual elegance. One woman, dining with her family, remarked that she had just been to The Lodge for lunch earlier in the week and had to return with her husband for dinner. She highly recommended the Chicken Milanese which is pan fried and topped with generous amounts of arugula and fresh mozzarella. Another friendly guest, dining with pals on a 'girls night out,' suggested the duck a l'orange, a special that evening, which she declared to be, "Amazing!"

As the music changed to a funky bluegrass mix the entrees appeared. Mouth-watering aromas wafted from each plate and all attention was focused on the roasted pork chop. Manager Carl Shank explained that simple spices like salt and pepper are all that's needed when you have the right cut of meat and it's prepared properly. After the first taste of the juicy chop we conceded defeat to the flavor explosion and enjoyed the ride for the rest of the second course. Plates included a sample of the butternut squash agnolotti with brown butter and sage sauce. Typically, this dish is overwhelming at other restaurants, but not at The Lodge. Seasonal ingredients stand on their own and the star of this dish is, as it should be, the squash. The friendly server explained that the chef plans for a seasonal variety of agnolotti every few months to keep the menu as fresh as the ingredients.

The Chef's dessert sampler is perfect for the table to share.

Steak lovers will enjoy the filet mignon au poivre with plenty of cracked black pepper in a creamy, traditional sauce. The tender cut of beef is complimented by a side of salty, crispy fried onions. For those with larger appetites, the house special is a generous 36-ounce bone-in-rib-eye with mushrooms, onions, and herbs. Bring your appetite for this one and be sure to order a side of the roasted vegetables, you'll be amazed that veggies could taste this good. There is also a collection of entrees focused on seafood. We sampled the soy ginger and sesame crusted grilled tuna which was tender and delicious. The shrimp scampi oreganata over linguine, however, didn't hit the mark.

The music got a little more pronounced and mixed 1980s rock ballads with 1970s disco as dessert was served later in the evening. Homemade desserts comprise the final menu - get the sampler to try Chef Peter Thomas' favorites. Again changing with the seasons, the sampler includes a light and airy lemon cheesecake, bright mango and sweet raspberry sorbets, tart key lime pie with a caramel drizzle, and strawberry shortcake with vanilla sponge cake, large sliced strawberries and freshly whipped cream. Each bite of the final plates were bursting with summer flavors and the care that comes with something homemade.

The mix of music and people tell the story of the food at The Lodge - eclectic, fun, and full of unexpected surprises that will keep you coming back.

The restaurant interiors are rustic and chic with a large copper-topped bar nearly the length of the restaurant, leather booths with copper-topped tables, and exposed brick walls and floor.

 • The Lodge Bar & Grill is located at 31 Race Lane, East Hampton, 631-324-5022, www.thelodgeeasthampton.com and is open daily for lunch and dinner as well as a Sunday Brunch Buffett.

Nicole, an award-winning journalist, is Executive Editor & Publisher of Hamptons.com where she focuses on celebrity interviews, fine living and design, social events, fashion and beauty. She lives on the North Fork with her husband, their two daughters, and Bernese Mountain dog, Cooper. www.hamptons.com HamptonsOnline NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer NicoleBBrewer

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