Brighten Your Plate
The months that lead up to spring can be dull, brutal, and cold. If winter feels like an interminable symphony of brown, white, and gray, consider this a clarion call: The South Fork is full of restaurants that serve up colorful foods, even in the dead of winter. And those colorful foods can really brighten up the season. If you’re in need of a little pep this year — and, let’s be honest, who isn’t? — hit up the South Fork dining scene for these colorful, delicious, and inspiring dishes.
At Almond Bridgehampton, expect an ever-changing array of colorful dishes to sustain you throughout the one-palette season. Chef Jason Weiner regularly serves up his bright red kimchi — which comes standard with the Korean short ribs. But he’s also known for colorful dishes like his gulf shrimp ravioli, which swims in a sea of yellow-orange uni butter and is amplified by bright green broccoli and red pickled chiles.
Nick & Toni’s is a timeless classic for a reason. There is one dish that has made an appearance on the menu every year for the three decades that the space has been open, and that’s the penne alla vecchia bettola, which is essentially a spicy, colorful take on baked ziti, set in motion by a spicy oven-roasted tomato sauce. This pop of red will warm your heart on a winter’s day.
In Montauk, at Westlake Fish & Chowder House, you’ll find a whole host of colorful dishes on the sushi menu. The two brightest — and best, in my estimation —are the Westlake Roll (bright green avocado, impossibly pink tuna, and white fluke and bass) and the Pink Lady Roll (red kani, orange tempura shrimp and mango, green avocado, and pale pink soy paper). If that’s not enough color for you, add on a mean, green avocado margarita.
Southampton’s Union Cantina is full of colorful options. For a light, refreshing respite from winter that’s full of color, stick to the shrimp ceviche, which is peppered with bright green jalapeño, purple onions, and orange segments. Most dishes come, too, with a compelling red pico de gallo, the ultimate antidote to the blandness of the season.
Head to Sag Harbor for a beautiful, colorful take on salad. At The American Hotel, which has been wooing guests since the 1800s, you can take in the formal dining room, cozy up by the fire, and tuck into a delicious feast. Among the impressive dishes served at the hotel is a duo of colorful carpaccios. The carpaccio of roasted beets pits deep reds against oranges: it’s served with a citrus vinaigrette and an orange salsa. The crimson bison beef carpaccio is equally colorful and delicious — and will appeal to the meat eater, of course.
No matter where you end up, know that the color of the sky doesn’t have to match the color of your plate this season. Dig into these bright dishes and take solace in the fact that winter is chugging slowly to its end.