Dinner at Rugosa in Wainscott
Every once in a while one is privy to a culinary surprise, in this case the marvel came in the form of an extraordinary spur-of-the-moment dinner at the new Rugosa on Montauk Highway in Wainscott. The location is one known to anyone who traverses Rte. 27; it’s the restaurant with the tank. Forget the tank: go to dine.
Rugosa is the brainchild of Bill and Yvette Mammes. Here’s what you need to know: Yvette cooked for Thomas Keller at Bouchon, at Le Cirque at the Bellagio and at Alex at the Wynn in Las Vegas; Bill opened Hubert Keller’s Fleur de Lys in the same town. They met while working at the Ritz-Carlton in New Orleans. He’s a CIA grad and originally from Massapequa. Now that we’ve qualified them, could you go?
Need more convincing? Then take my word for it. Try the duck cannelloni ($11) for starters: duck confit, trumpet royale mushrooms and sautéed spinach with star anise – I inhaled it.
Or the summer gazpacho ($10) with stuffed squash blossom with scallop mousse, brunois zucchini and red pepper – very refreshing.
Entrees sampled included roasted Cod ($23) with canelli beans, artichokes, chorizo and garlic in artichoke broth (wow); seared Long Island duck breast ($31) with curry polenta cake, date chutney, turnips and five spice duck jus (loved this dish); pan roasted chicken breast ($25) with local fava beans, roasted fingerlings with red pepper, and pearl onions with chicken jus; and seared sea scallops ($28) with blanched cauliflower, cucumber-horseradish sauce and beet confit.
Desserts – courtesy of Mrs. Mammes – were inventive. I loved the chocolate rice pudding with milk sorbet! The frozen noughat vanished about as soon as it hit the table; ditto the marscapone cheesecake with poached rhubarb.
The sleek and warm dining room is very ably patrolled by accredited sommelier, Chimene Visser. Colorful art adorns the walls courtesy of local artists. This is a serious restaurant with relaxed professional service that deserves recognition - and a visit. It’s just a really, really good restaurant. Go!
Tags: Alex, Bellagio, Bill Mammes, Bouchon, Fleur de Lys, Hubert Keller, Las Vegas, Le Cirque, Massapequa, Montauk Highway, New Orleans, Ritz-Carlton, Rugosa, Thomas Keller, Wainscott, Wynn, Yvette Mammes