Where to Go Next: Hamptons
Trata East In Greek, a trata is a fishing boat (or so the superimpressive waiter told us during our first visit), and the name makes sense; this bright-white Greek restaurant has 10 kinds of fresh fish, all sold by the pound and on display. My wife, Pamela, and I ordered as much food as two people possibly could, including barrel-aged feta (wow—what feta!) baked in a clay pot witholives and oregano, Greek salad (as traditional as it gets, with cucumbers and tomatoes and again, that feta) and wild striped bass in a saffron broth. Trata East serves only Greek beer and wine; the fruity red 1998 Megapanos Winery Old Cellar Nemea wasfantastic. Details 1020 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill; 631-726-6200.
Fresno The dining room at Fresno has big windows and a zinc bar, but the decor is not memorable. The food is. The most recent project from David Loewenberg (who co-owns another restaurant I love, Red/Bar Brasserie in Southampton), Fresno serves what I call continental American, meaning there's some fish and some meat and it's all straightforward and really good. They have nice salads, like beet, fennel and blood orange with a tart lemon vinaigrette, and a great grilled hanger steak with sauce verte. Prices are reasonable, especially for the Hamptons. Details 8 Fresno Pl., East Hampton; 631-324-8700.
Nick & Toni's When people say Nick & Toni's is fabulous, they're usually talking about the celeb-watching scene, not the menu. (Everyone from Steven Spielberg to Ed Burns to Brad Pitt has been spotted here.) But I go for the food—particularly anything out of the wood-burning oven, like the moist, flaky branzino or crisp-crusted porchetta pizza topped with bacon and goat cheese. Details 136 N. Main St., East Hampton; 631-324-3550.
Top Fish Shacks
Cyril's Fish House The meaty fried clams and the baked lobster stuffed with scallops and crab are great. But when I come to this rowdy roadhouse after a day of surfing in Montauk, I always order oysters on the half shell (2167 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett; 631-267-7993).
Duryea's Tables here are on a deck overlooking Fort Pond Bay—a spectacular place to see the sunset. It's BYOB, so bring a good crisp white or rosé to go with the restaurant's specialty, steamed lobster (65 Tuthill Rd., Montauk; 631-668-2410).
Lobster Roll Unlike most Hamptons fish shacks, a lot of the seating is indoors, in a shanty-style building. The place, also known as Lunch, is famous for its lobster rolls; I usually order one along with some fresh and briny steamers (1980 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett; 631-267-3740).