I really wanted to like this place. I DID like the food. Everything else was a big let down. Especially the staff who were rude and most notably classless.
Upon entering the restaurant, you will be greeted by a young girl (usually a very attractive girl). Actually, you may be greeted and you may not be ... I've been there twice where the hostess was so busy texting or reading a magazine that she didn't look up to greet me until after she was done sending her texts or reading the page she was on. The restaurant always seems to be half empty ... yet she always seats us in the worst area. Even when there are plenty of seats on the patio area, which is best for people watching ... she will seat us next to the noisy bar area or near a busy walkway. When I ask to move she says, 'This is the only area I have available right now'. The last time I was there, it was with a party of 2. There were 3 other people in the restaurant and all but one of the tables on the patio was empty. I asked to sit in the patio area and she said she was saving the tables for a party of 4. I told her that it was past the main lunch hour and we really wanted to sit in the sun. She held firm. I called her on it and told her I would probably go elsewhere if I couldn't sit in the sun. She let me leave! On the way back from Bostwick's, I passed by and sure enough ... all the tables on the patio were empty. A $70 lunch might not seem like much in the big picture, but they lost our business that day and maybe a few days in the future for when we feel like sitting outside.
Besides the rude (or maybe she is just clueless) hostess ... it seems like nobody really goes out of their way to make you feel welcome. One time, I was there and a gentleman who I believe is one of the owners was near my table. I asked him how business was and he replied one word, 'Great.' and walked away to go sit at the bar and talk loudly and laugh with a bunch of his friends. So much for getting to know your customers. On more than one occasion, I sat for 20 - 30 minutes between appetizer and entree. When I questioned the waitress, it was clear she had forgotten to put in my order. However, the minute your glass drops below half full ... she is right on top of us asking us if we would like to order another $15 drink.
This place tries so hard to bring Italy to the Main Street area in East Hampton ... but without the class and charm of Italy ... you've got nothing other than a modern-Italian decor with blue lights and polished steel tables. The menu itself reminds me of the staff ... it is very aloof and describes each item with about a paragraph. How pretentious is it to describe in more than one sentence 'Spaghetti and Meatballs' on a menu? True Italians would laugh at this.
The prices are not bad for the Hamptons. Lunch is the best deal ... but for dinner, you can expect to pay just under $20 for a dish of pasta, which in the Hamptons is nothing too surprising. The food is good ... the ingredients taste high quality. I can tell that San Marzano tomatos are used as is Peccorino Romano instead of the cheaper stuff. In terms of the food ... corners are not cut. Drinks are very expensive and the signature drinks are not very strong. Mostly mixer with a slight shot of alchohol. Lemoncello Martinis, etc. are heavily featured on the menu. (The menu is kind of Italian touristy ... the bartender didn't know how to make an Americano which is a REAL Italian drink.)
I would recommend trying the lunch specials. The plain old spaghetti and sauce is one of the best things to order on the menu. It starts to get a little tricky when you start going away from Italian staples. I ordered the Octopus appetizer one time (around $14) and it came 3 tiny octopus tentacles and a lot of white beans. The whole thing was totally overshadowed by all the olive oil and vinegar that was put all over the dish. Octopus doesn't need all that stuff to bring out the taste ... in fact, all one could taste was olive and lemon.
Overall, when you walk by ... this looks like the place you would want to sit and have a late night plate of pasta and a drink. The fact that they are so rigid about what seats they will give you is pretty lame. The attitude that the waitresses and hostesses have is also lame. Yeah ... your establishment is in the Hamptons. Get over it. Smile at the customers and treat them well. Afterall, $20 for a plate of spaghetti is $20 for a plate of spaghetti no matter when it is located. And the restaurants in Italy that many would consider dives because of the atmosphere are the ones you want to go back to because of the great food and even better service. Good food and rude attitudes will not fill your restaurant.
If pretense is what makes restaurants popular in the Hamptons (it works for Nick and Tony's) then this place would be one of the most popular restaurants in the Hamptons. But the fact that it is empty in the off season shows you that you have to do more than just cater to the summer crowd by acting above them to be really successful. It takes more than San Marzano tomatos.
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