Food Reviews: Andrra

East Hampton (631) 329-3663


There are no strikeouts or home runs at Andrra on Three Mile Harbor where the Boathouse had been. From its second floor perch, diners look out on the expansive waters, an especially captivating sight at sunset. In warm weather, the plastic rollups facing the harbor are raised to open the restaurant to the fresh air. The modern interior of this redecorated spot features fresh flowers on each table, paper-covered white tablecloths, a gas fireplace and a white and blue color scheme.

Two accommodating and affable Albanian brothers, Sami and Noti Krasniqi, opened Andrra (dream in Albanian) recently, but they have been in the area for years. Sami, the executive chef, worked for 16 years at Café Max in East Hampton and three and a half years in the same town at Coco in the Maidstone Arms. He works in tandem with consulting chef William S. Valentine, a native Long Islander and Johnson & Wales graduate, best known to locals as the former chef and general manager of the Maidstone Arms, with extensive culinary experience in New Orleans, Los Angeles and the Bahamas.

We had two dining options the night I visited, each with its virtues and shortcomings. The $33 three-course, fixed-price meal cost much less than the a la carte menu. The prix fixe is perfect for frugal, light eaters, but the portions are about half the size of the pricier selections. Its sometimes-diminutive servings (rack of lamb turns out to be two ribs, while the “extra colossal shrimp” is actually two medium-sized pieces) will not satisfy hungry eaters. Additionally, there was no mention of the fixed price possibility on the menu or by our pleasant, seemingly informed waitress. We only learned of its existence when one person in our party, on the way back from a rear restroom, noticed a blackboard sign over the bar.

While some of Andrra’s a la carte offerings are better or worse than others, none will either disappoint or dazzle diners, and virtually all of them are substantially priced. The a la carte rack of lamb costs $43. Only one of the grill by the sea selections is less than the $33 to $36 range, starters top out at $20, side dishes cost $9 and desserts are $11. The lowest priced mains are chicken and two pastas for $25.

Free and fine is the terrific, warm house-made pita bread served with a smidgen of noteworthy garlic parsley butter. That was followed by a standard wedge salad ($14 a la carte), those two respectable shrimp ($17 a la carte for more than two), the herbed carpaccio of beef, rare and paper thin beside a clump of salad ($19) and a seafood chowder ($11) featuring minced prawns, clams and fish in an herb-touched tomato broth.

A fresh, pristine halibut special accompanied by couscous was by far the best entrée sampled. The small, just ok roasted rack of American lamb was escorted by an interesting edamame roasted garlic purée. Valentine’s good soft shell crabs ($34) arrived over chilled greens with dabs of avocado, cumin, coriander and lemon brown butter. There was nothing wrong or unusual about the tender sea scallops ($33) with their citrusy lemon juice and limonetta sauce.

Desserts, including a nothing special baklava, berries with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a rich, dense flourless chocolate cake and a reasonably moist orange cake, provided a suitable finale to the meal.

photos by stephen lang

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richard jay scholem

Richard Jay Scholem practically invented the Long Island restaurant culture through 800+ reviews of the region's eateries both on radio and in print over the last 30 years. He is a former New York Times Long Island Section restaurant reviewer, has contributed to the Great Restaurants of...magazines and Bon Vivant, authored a book, aired reviews on WGSM and WCTO radio stations, served on the board of countless community and food and beverage organizations, and received many accolades for his journalism in both print and broadcast media. He is currently available for restaurant consultation. Reach him at (631) 271-3227.