This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here
The East End has its share of fair weather fare, restaurants that open and close with the changing of seasons. Yet one restaurant in particular stands out as a community epicenter.
At 1 PM on a Saturday, the outdoor seating area is filled with guests eager to observe town happenings as they dine, tails of several four-legged friends wagging next to the boat shoes and wedges below. The bar area is situated front and center and is surrounded by sports fans watching the World Cup. Enthusiastic “Hoorays” and melodramatic “C’mons” were a lively interjection over the soothing, European house beats playing as background music.
A Summer Smith cocktail, with Sipsmith gin, grapefruit juice, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, and lime juice offers a sweet, summery taste. For something a bit lighter, opt for the Skinny Pomegranate with Belvedere Vodka, pomegranate liqueur, pomegranate and lime juice, and Stolichnaya Ginger Beer.
It was early enough to order from the brunch menu, which offered a refreshing Watermelon Salad, with arugula, crumbled feta, chopped pistachio, red onion, all topped with a passionfruit vinaigrette. The pistachios make for a delicious crunch and with the passionfruit drizzle, made a perfect pairing for a hot day. Some other items listed were a Smoked Salmon Platter, Crab Cake Benedict, Homemade Granola, and Brown Derby Cobb Salad. Transition into lunch with options such as a Black Bean Corn and Quinoa Burger, Stuffed Sweet Pepper, Chicken Calabrese Sandwich, Traditional Maine Lobster Roll, or a signature 75 Main Prime Burger.
Since it was, embarrassingly to admit, my first time dining at 75 Main, I decided to place my traditional “chef’s choice” order. Head Chef Freddy did not disappoint with the Marinated Skirt Steak with mashed potatoes, French beans, and a Chimichurri sauce. Craving meat, I ravaged all I could of the chargrilled taste, reminiscent of a backyard barbecue but with a fine dining twist. The portion was large enough to split for a lunchtime meal but I found it hard to leave even a single bite on my plate.
In for the summer and hailing from Turkey, Pastry Chef Gursel wowed this Italian-blooded Long Islander with his twist on a Mascarpone Tiramisu and Mille Fuille (Napoleon) with homemade crispy film pastry dough and Baumanire cream. Both sensations adapted a lighter, fresher version on the traditionally heavy sweets.
Once broken into, the Tiramisu retained a sugary aqua liquid, similar to that of Creme Brulée. The Mille Fuille was splattered like a Pollock painting, with a raspberry sauce delectable in each bite. They were anything but ordinary and so appealing that owner Zach Erdem delighted in conversation and some bites as well. Dressed the same as his staff, and partaking in some of the same work, Erdem seamlessly and intentionally blended into the mix of things.
Families, couples, and friends filled the tables. Eager, friendly staff bustling around the room with countless orders, smiling. Saturday was alive at 75.