East End Eats: Hamptons Restaurant Week Starting on March 29

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The first New York City Restaurant Week was launched in 1992, an effort by some restaurant biz players to give recession-distracted New Yorkers another reasons to eat out. The idea proliferated (sometimes in New York, it’s hard to know when it's not restaurant week) and today there's not a self-respecting eating region in the country that doesn’t have its own variation on this seasonal shot-in-the-arm.

The seventh annual Hamptons Restaurant Week kicks off Sunday, March 29, and runs through Sunday, April 5. “People participate because there’s a lot of energy behind it,” said David Loewenberg, owner of Redbar brasserie in Southampton, Beacon in Sag Harbor, and Fresno in East Hampton, who has been part of Hamptons Restaurant Week since the beginning. “After a long winter, it gets things going. It brings a lot of people out of hiding, which is great. And it gets them in to remember why they love their restaurant.” Loewenberg notes that Restaurant Week also serves as reminder that many restaurants on the North and South Forks “work with a prix fixe that is very close in price to what happens at restaurant week.”

20090320-hamptons2.jpgAll participating restaurants will offer a three-course prix fixe for $24.95 all night, except Saturday when it will only be offered until 7 p.m. Some restaurants will offer a special discounted bottle of Long Island wine, while Pelligrini Vineyards and Wolffer Estate Vineyards will offer tasting room discounts. Luxury Liner, the motorcoach that goes between Manhattan and the Hamptons, will be offering a discounted fare of $24.95 to riders during Restaurant Week. And the Baker House 1650, Mill House Inn, and Montauk Manor are all offering lodging discounts. Find all participants at hamptonsrestaurantweek.com.

Redbar will be offering dishes like pork shoulder served over cheese and herb spaetzle, and horseradish crusted cod with celery root purée. Across the Peconic Bay in Jamesport, chef Eric Rickmers at the Jamesport Manor Inn will offer potato leek soup, caraway chicken breast with sweet potato purée, braised red cabbage, roast mushrooms, and Madeira sauce, bucatini Bolognese, chocolate banana bread pudding, hazelnut cake, and a trio of seasonal sorbets including blood orange.