People eat three times a day to prevent mouthy mouths from brashly blurting out their distaste for the rest of the digestive system. Today's Groupon prevents inner-system quarreling by subduing chatty cheeks: for $20, you get $50 worth of Modern American eats at Rugosa Restaurant, an elegantly casual dining establishment in the East Hamptons.
Rugosa is the creation of William and Yvette Mammes, seasoned chefs who used to delight diners at the award-winning Las Vegas restaurants Fleur de Lys and Alex (respectively). This duo of culinary champs revamped the old Almoncello space, keeping the military tank in the side yard but stripping away the wallpaper in favor of unblemished paint and replacing the fare with a menu of elegant New American cuisine. Tease taste buds with duck cannelloni: a medley of duck confit, trumpet royale mushrooms, sautéed spinach, and star-anise jus ($14). Then, roll out the red stomach carpet and usher in a deliciously regal roasted lamb loin, which “is nearly outdone by its accompaniment, a braised escarole, raisin, and pine-nut tart that suggests a Sicilian reverie,” according to Newsday. Or, rely on the oceans of flavor with a lavender- and dijon-crusted halibut, served with asparagus, fingerling potatoes, and lavender jus ($28). Vegetarian compositions are also available.
Much like the beach rose from which it took its name, Rugosa has garnered impressive press with its sophisticatedly simple atmosphere and refined presentation. The New York Times calls the servers “sweet and caring” and the kitchen “speedy” and notes that the noise level is low. Reservations, like wearing chain mail while wrestling a bear, are highly recommended but not required.
Rugosa Restaurant is closed Tuesdays, and, starting in late September, it will be closed Wednesdays as well.
- Diners familiar with this space will be surprised at how light and airy it is now. The look is classic Hamptons: clean lines, no kitsch…. Elegant as the setting is, the ambitious New American food is the main story here. – Joanne Starkey, New York Times
- …refined and unfussy New American food that matches a handsome, refreshed dining room. – Peter M. Gianotto, Newsday
- Excellent food, excellent service, and a great atmosphere! A very pleasant surprise. – AdamD1181, Zagat member