Race Lane Restaurant, East Hampton

What a wonderful way to end my birthday week. My party decided to go to Race Lane Restaurant on Race Lane in East Hampton. Terrific food, beautiful presentation, trained staff, thoughtful menu and wine list, and attention to detail were just some of the things that made this night a special experience.

The ambiance was chic, comfortable, and romantic. The fireplace in the dining room is surrounded by seats to sit and take in the atmosphere and enjoy your company. The expansive bar allows for mingling, as well as the banquettes that line the lounge area.

The host was attentive, personable, and on the ball. Some of us joined the rest of the party at the copper topped bar. We sat and had red wine all around before moving to our table. We were soon greeted by our waiter, Michael, who was very knowledgable about the menu. Without peeking at a note pad, as I often find waiters doing to remind them of the specials, Michael recited the specials in detail from memory, even answering intricate question about ingredients that comprised the specials. We ordered drinks and examined the versatile menu with raw bar.

As soon as I spotted the foie gras appetizer, I knew I had to try it. Though I had foie gras recently off the American Hotel dinner menu, I wanted to make a comparison. The portion of foie gras was comparable, but I have to say, the ginger-pear chutney with brioche and vanilla became the clear winner, and for $8 less, may I add. I ate the chutney until there was no more on my plate; I couldn’t get enough. It was sweet but not overly sugary, and it had smooth and chunky textures which gave it good mouth feel in contrast to the melt in your mouth foie gras. A friend tried the beet salad special. I can’t remember all the ingredients, but if you order it, know you’re in for a treat. There’s horseradish in the description, but I couldn’t detect the taste of horseradish. It was earthy with candied nuts and a touch of sweetness. The table wanted more. Another favorite appetizer was the octopus with tomato confit, kalamata olives, parsley and pickled red chili. The octopus was extremely tender, which made the dish. The combination of the confit, olives, and pickled chili played perfectly off each other to deliver a bit of a kick, but not to overpower the taste of the octopus. We all shared super fresh, local Montauk pearl oysters with cucumber mignonette and blood orange granita. Plump and simply delicious.

The entrées that shined through as sure bets were the braised short ribs with baby carrots, beets, horseradish gremolata and potato; the grilled Berkshire pork chop with a bacon scallion pancake, zucchini, and cherry mustardo; and the special 14 ounce NY strip steak with caramelized cippolini with burgundy reduction and truffle butter, which we had prepared medium-rare. Some notes on the entrées: the short ribs were a bit too fatty for one of the diners and it was commented that the portion was small, two small short ribs. I agree it did look insufficient. In stark contrast, the Berkshire pork chop was huge, juicy, and very tasty. The best liked out of the three was the generously thick NY strip. It was agreed it wasn’t overly fatty, it was very tender, and through the sauce that adorned it, you could really taste that it was a good tasting cut of beef.

For dessert we tried a little of everything. The strawberry shortcake was the standout winner. It looked so inviting, we all dug in without taking a picture first, so, I apologize for that. The strawberries were naturally sweet and fresh. The pound cake was light and airy. Each bite was savored by all. Thank goodness it was a good sized portion so everyone could have some.

Overall, a well-paced, very tasty and versatile meal. No one was disappointed by any aspect of their culinary experience, save a couple of comments, and expectations going in were high. I highly recommend Race Lane for a special occasion or romantic evening for two. It’s trendy without being ostentatious, and the staff is very accommodating and pleasant. Some items are a bit pricey. But, with everything taken into account, the dining experience as a whole made it well worth the cost.

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PS Sorry the pics are so dark. Was trying not to make more of a spectacle out of our table by using the flash than we already had. LOL

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