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Spring has Sprung

These East End Spots Offer the Best Veggie Dishes in Town

As spring approaches, it is time to run — and not walk — to these local East End restaurants for a chance to dine on their delicious veggie dishes. It’s the season of overflowing gardens, long and warm evenings, and a renewed appreciation for the bounty of the garden. So what’s for dinner? As far as we’re concerned, whatever has been pulled, plucked, or rooted from the ground. For spring, it’s all about that veg. And we have plenty of favorites. 

Photo: Cara/Shutterstock

Kumiso, in East Hampton, may be known for its dedication to ramen, but the Japanese hot spot does justice to vegetables, too. Divine smashed cucumbers are made savory and undeniably delicious with the help of a sesame chili dressing. A chicory-carrot salad combines elements both bitter and sweet: red chicory is tamed by bright orange carrot, little gem lettuce, and a ginger-sesame dressing. The so-called palm and peaches is actually a compelling salad made from hearts of palm, Japanese peaches, and vibrant little gem lettuces. And a playful dish known as “in the weeds” — a joke for anyone who has ever been in too deep in the restaurant industry — is actually made from seaweed, a ginger ponzu dressing, and sesame seeds. Take your pick (or don’t). 

At Bistro été, in Water Mill, an appetizer of roasted Brussels sprouts comes with pomegranate seeds, tahini, and grape must, along with a substantial serving of haloumi cheese. The zucchini spaghetti celebrates the flexibility of this vegetable; the “pasta” comes in a sauce made from heirloom tomatoes and fresh basil and can be amplified by fresh burrata Stracciatella for a little extra (or fresh truffles for even a little more). But the vegan scallops are a star. Made from king oyster mushrooms, these delightful bites arrive in a curry saffron sauce and are worth every bite. 

A stalwart dish at Cittanuova, East Hampton’s ode to pasta, gives veggies their due. It’s the fussiloni, a dish that proudly puts the veg at the foreground, even though the pasta is in the name of the dish. Caramelized Brussels sprouts leaves, perfectly cooked oyster mushrooms, and Pecorino cheese are all central players in this well-rounded dish that showcases all veg all the time. Don’t sleep, either, on the zuppa minestrone, a soup teeming with zucchini, white beans, pasta, and a tomato and herb broth that’s light, bright, and perfect in just about any season. 

Finally, the classic East Hampton Grill sets the perfect mood every time. Order a martini and a salad. Which salad? You can hardly go wrong with the iceberg wedge, a crispy specimen made even better with smokehouse bacon, blue cheese dressing, and warm beets. The so-called “nice little house salad” features mixed greens, beets, rustic croutons, walnuts, and goat cheese, and the non-vegetarian kale and rotisserie chicken salad offers up emerald kale, cashews, fresh herbs, and an umami-rich sesame-miso vinaigrette. There are a lot of great ways to up your veggie intake out east, but a salad at the East Hampton Grill definitely has to be one of the most satisfying.