Don’t have a house in the Hampton’s to escape to this summer? A meal at BKB — the new, Upper East Side outpost of the popular East Hampton sea-to-table spot, Bay Kitchen Bar — might just be the next best thing.
Not that there’s any question that you’re overlooking sidewalks and luxury high-rises instead of picturesque Gardiner’s Bay. But fixing your attention on chef-owner Eric Miller’s food can go a long way in fostering the illusion, starting with iced tiers of Littleneck Clams, Chilled Maine Lobster, Shrimp with horseradish and jalapeno, and supremely delicate Beau Soleil Oysters, brine spilling over the edges of their dramatically fluted cups.
Try East Hampton’s own Harbor Fluke in thin ribbons of citrus-cooked Crudo, finished with fluffs of field mache and dotted with Japanese mirin. Satiate yourself on still-cool spring evenings with a creamy bowl of East End Fisherman’s Soup, lush with fennel, saffron, and rounds of garlic-rubbed sourdough. Hope for seasonal specials such as cornmeal-crusted Soft Shell Crab, propped atop mango salsa and slaw. And whatever you do, don’t miss the outsized, seriously sweet and expertly caramelized Day Boat Sea Scallops, sporting silky, translucent middles, and served over nutty grains and vegetables tossed with a roasted garlic-sherry vinaigrette. Don’t groove on seafood? What are you, crazy? We kid — a local (to the Hamptons) offering of Slow-Turned Long Island Duck is an equally legit order, accompanied by roasted potatoes, dried cherries and wilted greens.
Miller has also assembled a talented supporting cast for BKB’s Manhattan venture; Maura McGuigan (Café Boulud, Flatiron Lounge, Root & Bone, Booker & Dax) is responsible for the nautically-themed cocktails, such as the Julep-style “Captains Welcome” featuring Rittenhouse rye, mint, pineapple and grated cinnamon, served over shaved ice in frosted silver cups. And pastry chef Lukas Pohl’s dessert menu is perfectly calibrated for a seafood-focused restaurant; think Key Lime Tarts, Rhubarb Crumbles and a Trio of utterly luscious, miniature Crème Brulee’s — alternately flavored with Espresso, Matcha, and Tahitian Vanilla Bean — which had us engaged in a giddy hopscotch with our spoons.
So don’t feel too let down if you can’t arrange a getaway to East Hampton this summer. Because Manhattan’s easy, breezy new BKB has everything but the waterfront.