When it comes to planning the perfect dinner, attention to detail is key. A restaurant with spectacular cuisine, impeccable service and well appointed ambiance is the difference between “oh yes!” and “ok, yeah.” The table is the missing link. Since they are usually in high demand, intimate little corners and romantic nooks are hard to come by. But knowing what to ask for is a good start. Though making the request is not a guarantee of reservation, these five tables (in no particular order) have been known to live up to expectation.
The Living Room
c/o The Maidstone,
If you like art, you will be happy. If you like familiar, you will be happy. If you like exciting cuisine, you will be happy. If you would like all these at once, you will be very happy at this Hamptons hallmark. This is the charming, artful place, where the dining room is a triumph of old and new, blending the quaint antique East End building with eclectic, artsy, Scandinavian design. And the food is sublime. If you’re lucky, you’ll get 23J, uniquely set aside the fireplace near the bar area. Best part? You can stay overnight and make a weekend of it.
The food at this Italian mainstay is superb. And it is the beginning, middle and end of the story. But it’s also dressed in flawless service and a refreshing, but toasty, dining room. A cozy bar table, known as #B2 to some, is an ideal mid-week retreat. Since that can get noisy when the weekend scene is set, try for one of the corner alcove tables in the main room. Either will be the perfect launching pad into an Italian dream, rich with traditional dishes like ossobuco and homemade cannelloni.
All hail the steakhouse that is manly without being macho, beautiful without being girly. In other words, Prime is the perfect pedigree for couples: A balance of impressive, elegant modern design with accessible, thoughtful open décor. Suggested agenda: Start at the Wave Bar and end in the Lodge. In between, tuck into the Vine Room for dinner. Situated against the glass wall exposing the gorgeously illuminated wine cellar, #70 is the two-top that gives a full view of the room without any up close and personal neighboring tables.
For a restaurant that is quietly romantic and understated in a beachy sort of way, Wayne Wadington’s graceful venue overlooking the Sound won’t disappoint. The cuisine is inventive American, with a decidedly French influence, and is consistently first rate. The extensive, well-curated wine selection features some of LI’s most desirable bottles, but isn’t shy about venturing into other lands near and far (from California to South Africa). The setting is ideal for a relaxed, perfectly orchestrated evening. Show your date you really mean it: Ask for table #12.
A special evening is made all the more spectacular “dining at the table of kings.” Especially when the hostess is Manhasset’s 38-year-old grand dame. She is natural, open and formal, but far from fussy. For lovers of corner tables, #6 is a favorite that offers a view of both the entire dining room and the exterior window. #9 is a petite two-top at “center stage” that is a private, tête-à-tête oasis in a sea of everyone else. Cuisine is distinctly French, with the caviar and grenouilles to prove it, but berets are optional.