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The Laundry

341 Pantiago Road
East Hampton, NY
631-324-3199

TYPE: Contemporary American
VIBE:
The city takes the Hamptons.
OCCASION: A family outing.
GO WITH: Grownups (parents or family).
DON’T MISS DISH: BBQ baby back ribs
DON’T BOTHER DISH: Laundry chowder
PRICE: $45 & up
RESERVATIONS: Recommended (It’s the Hamptons).
HOURS: Dinner, Monday-Sunday, 5:30-11 PM.

INSIDE SCOOP: Walk-in dining at the bar.

RESTAURANT GIRL RATES (1-10): 5
FINAL WORD: New & not-so improved

Losing its lease after twenty-five years, The Laundry, practically a Hamptons restaurant insitution, has moved into the former home of the Farmhouse (an alluring country chic space).  What could’ve been a potential blessing in disguise, has been sadly undone by the recent renovations.  The newly modern Laundry lacks all of the charm of not
only the old Laundry, but also the now defunct Farmhouse.  It’s been
transformed into a minimalist white space decked with black-and-white
accents, mirrored walls, potted orchids & the occasional orchid
print (all of which seemed out of place at the beach never mind a
farmhouse).

There is hope: a black marble bar with an attractive wood-burning oven is a great solution for reservation-challenged diners, a casual meal, or dining alone (seats 15-20).  It was definitely
buzzing Sunday night with lots of see-and-be-scenesters, of the older
NY money crowd, 50-70 year olds.  Lots of divorcees slyly prowling over
their extra-thick sirloin steak, juicy, but slightly
overcooked.

I was relieved to discover the new menu still has most Laundry classics intact (BBQ ribs, chicken).  Call me nostalgic, I started off with the BBQ baby back ribs, sufficiently
smothered in a smoky yet subtly sweet sludge of BBQ sauce, tasty but
not fall-off-the-bone tender (which is apparently intentional according
to owner, Stuart Kreisler, as they braise the ribs first). The roasted organic beets were
simply dressed with slivers of fresh fennel, pistachios and a rather
remarkable black walnut vinaigrette (they should bottle the stuff).  However, the
chowder was tomato broth heavy and very light on seafood (I found but one lone clam in my bowl).  Experiencing buyer’s remorse by way of chowder, I snuck a bite of a friend’s Laundry Hamburger, overcooked and chewy, then refocused my efforts on a salty mountain of perfectly crunchy fries.  We ordered seconds.  A food fight ensued over the grilled scottish salmon: mine arrived overcooked and dry (must be a new theme), while my friend’s was moist & perfectly cooked.  We called a truce over the accompanying roasted artichokes, leeks and a flavorful puddle of potato puree, all doused with a first-rate tapenade vinaigrette.

Sometimes, going back to a reincarnated restaurant can be like having dinner with an ex – it’s just not as good as you remembered.  Thus was the case with the toffee cake, a mere phantom of the gooey sweet toffee cake of The Laundry’s past – this one, was   overly-cloying and gluey.  All was not lost at The Laundry – the BBQ ribs were still worthy of their long-standing reputation and more importantly, matches were made & digits exchanged at The Hamptons most unlikely singles bar.

Until we eat again,
Restaurant Girl

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