By Debra Scott
In a land where bargains barely exist, Friday evenings at Georgica, an attractive pond-side restaurant and live music venue in Wainscott, offers one of the best deals in the Hamptons. From 6-9 p.m., a crowd of smartly turned out Hamptonites gather at the bar and surrounding tables to “see and be seen” while savoring the freshest of raw bar items: $1 clams (Littlenecks from Montauk), oysters (Blue Points) and $2 shrimp. For libations, this luxe version of happy hour serves up $5 drinks and half-price bottles of wine. We delighted in a bottle of the tastiest Wolffer Estate Rose to compliment our fare.
Josh and Jess, a talented local singer-songwriting duo, provided the entertainment – more than we expected for such a wallet-friendly evening. Jess’s silky voice meshed well with Josh’s soulful acoustic guitar; and when Josh sang we had to turn around to make sure it wasn’t John Mayer.
The happy hour atmosphere was festive as the restaurant filled up with chic women in white jeans and men wearing perfectly pressed shirts, looking as if they had hit the lottery with such a reasonably priced menu. Megan, the restaurant’s uber-friendly manager, weaved her way through tables to ensure that everyone was having a good time. She was quite eager to serve.
For patrons who stay later, the bargains keep coming – in the form of a $29 prix fixe dinner. Diners are welcome at all tables, including ones on the covered second-floor porch that overlooks a finger of Georgica Pond and the shore of Ron Perelman’s vast estate. We chose, however, to remain in the action at the bar.
The tempura-battered rock shrimp with a Sriracha aioli were sweet as candy with a slightly savory bite. The generously-portioned house salad, a mix of greens, dried cranberries, Gorgonzola and candied pecans, was dressed with an unusual, but delicious cranberry vinaigrette laced with truffle oil.
The salmon was delish with a marmalade glaze, but those who like it on the rare side should specify that when ordering. The filet mignon (which costs an additional $10) was phenomenal, a rare blend of both intense flavor and tenderness. The accompanying roasted-garlic butter and red wine demi-glace raised the meat to world-class level. Executive chef and owner, Seth Levine, who first surprised his family with a five-course meal when he was eight, knows his way around the kitchen.
The ubiquitous chef, once a contestant on “Hell’s Kitchen,” and host at City Buzz TV, also plies his trade at New York hot spots Wine & Roses, The Stand, POPYOGURT, Munchies Joint, Hotel Chantell and Hotel Ravel.
We wanted to forego dessert, but Megan talked us into the gratifyingly dense sorbets served glamorously in tiny waffle cones and the best cannoli we’ve ever had. – its creamy innards oozing from a crusty chocolate casing – sourced from a bakery in Brooklyn.
With such a restaurant insider at the helm, it’s no wonder that Georgica, which is only open Friday, Saturday and Monday, hosts employee night every Monday. Local service professionals travel from as far afield as Surf Lodge in Montauk to let their hair down and reminisce about their past weekend experiences. The workers receive the same prix fixe option as on Friday nights. We hear that dancing and the music provided by well-known disc jockeys go well into the wee hours
Photos by Lauren Clarke-Bennett