THIS WEEK: CASUAL CUISINE

RIGHT: Roasted chicken with wild mushrooms, sherry, and thyme jus and roasted fingerling potatoes. BELOW: The Cuddy, a American gastropub in Sag Harbor.

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sen’s sister next door
SAG HARBOR NEWCOMER THE CUDDY IS FILLED WITH TRADITIONAL AMERICAN GASTROPUB FARE AND AN EXOTIC MENU OF HOUSE MADE COCKTAILS.
BY MATTHEW WEXLER PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIC STRIFFLER General Manager and Partner Ryunosuke Jesse Matsuoka

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taste of historic Sag Harbor has emerged on Main Street at The decades, most recently as the proprietors of The Cuddy’s popular neighCuddy, an American gastropub that just opened this past April. boring establishment, sushi mecca Sen and its Manhattan cousin. Previously operating as Phao, a Thai restaurant, the team felt the And who better to oversee such a venture than the son of a New space needed to speak to more people and offer an “everyday” kind of York artist and Japanese high-division sumo wrestler? If you’ve been even remotely tapped into the East End food scene since cuisine that included brunch. “We wanted to highlight the best attrithe ’80s, this isn’t as unlikely as one might expect. “A sumo wrestler is butes of the Hamptons,” says Jesse, “great local cuisine—handcrafted good at fighting, eating, and sleeping,” says Ryunosuke Jesse Matsuoka whenever possible—in a cozy, warm space that is inviting for all.” They brainstormed hundreds of names, but it was mother of his father, Kazutomo. “Once you retire, you take Lynn who chimed in with The Cuddy, which away the fighting and there is no industry for sleepMatsuoka describes as “the safe and secure place on ing, so the majority of sumo wrestlers get into food a boat. It’s usually the driest and the warmest and is and restaurants.” sometimes used as a pantry.” The name immediately Jesse and his brother, Tora, have been in the family imparted the kind of environment they were looking business since they were old enough to wash dishes. to create for a delicious meal. Along with business partner Jeff Resnick, the trio has continued on page 62 been an integral part of Sag Harbor’s dining scene for JESSE MATSUOKA

“We wanted to highlight the best attributes of the Hamptons.”

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SWEET SUCCESS
One of The Cuddy’s secrets to the perfect handcrafted cocktail is its use of homemade simple syrups. Their basic simple syrup is equal parts water and sugar, cooked slowly until the sugar dissolves. Beverage Director Derek Neilsen has created infused simple syrups, including a black tea variety made with ITO EN’s Southampton Ceylon black tea blend, as well as windflower honey and lavender syrup. As a special garnish, The Cuddy also macerates its own cherries, which are cooked in-house with a blend of spices, citrus zest, and sugar.

FROM TOP:

The Cuddy’s interior features reclaimed wood and nautical elements that reference Sag Harbor’s history as a whaling village; yellowtail tartare featuring watermelon radish, avocado, endive, Good Water Farms microgreens, and ponzu.

Entrées such as e Cuddy burger with tomato jam play with the concept of comfort food.

continued from page 60 There are lots of nooks to tuck into for a pint of beer and a snack of handcut French fries with truffle salt or fried green tomatoes, but if you want to see and be seen, request lucky table 13, where you can scan the room for the likes of Eric Ripert, who has been known to make an appearance. A communal table in the center of the restaurant offers diners the opportunity to make new friends and further infuses The Cuddy with the local hangout vibe that Jesse and team are striving for. Executive Chef Gil Chico’s menu supports and elevates the restaurant’s vision through re-imagined pub fare that relies on local ingredients. The roasted beet salad is accented with house-cured bacon, aged cheddar, and seasonal greens such as sorrel, which adds floral, herbaceous notes to the dish. Yellowtail tartare avoids the East End cliché of soy sauce and ginger and, instead, is served sashimi-style with vibrant avocado, endive, microgreens, and ponzu. While much of the produce is sourced from East Hampton’s Good Water Farms, the chef has turned to Painted Hills in Wheeler County, Oregon, and specialty purveyor D’Artagnan for his beef, pork, and poultry. Bacon-wrapped roasted quail is an unfussy dish, allowing the subtle gaminess to shine with the simple accompaniment of roasted corn and black bean salad. Entrées such as The Cuddy burger with tomato jam and Berkshire pork chop with tater tots play with the concept of comfort food, while the roasted chicken with perfectly crisped skin, confit fingerling potatoes, wild mushrooms, sherry, and thyme jus is a not-so-subtle reminder that there are some serious chops in the kitchen. continued on page 64

The Gentleman’s Favor: Michter’s rye whiskey, Carpano Antica vermouth, bitters, homemade cherries, and black-tea syrup.

CLASS IN SESSION
In an effort to build community and educate its customers and staff, The Cuddy offers a series of free, informational tastings and field trips. From whiskey profiling (do you know the difference between sour mash, bourbon, and rye?) to meet-the-farmer visits, this unique opportunity offers insider access to the food and beverage industry. Upcoming events are listed at thecuddy.com, or Hamptonites can join the e-mail list by contacting info@thecuddy.com.

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continued from page 62 No gastropub would be complete without a veritable bar to mosey up to after a day at sea—or an afternoon of shopping. The Cuddy enlisted Beverage Director Derek Neilsen whose libations speak to the classics while incorporating personal flair in his use of homemade simple syrups and artisan spirits. Standouts include the Gentleman’s Favor, an intoxicating combination of Michter’s rye whiskey, Carpano Antica vermouth, bitters, homemade cherries, and black tea syrup; and Johnny Lemonade, a lip-puckering refresher of wildflower honey lemonade and Prairie organic vodka. Mainstay beers are available for uncomplicated palates, while uncommon finds such as Angry Orchard Hard Cider from Ohio and Hitachino Nest White Ale from Japan reflect The Cuddy’s global appeal. Matsuoka hopes that The Cuddy will become the go-to place for restaurant industry folks as well as locals year-round. “We set out to build a space that people wanted and needed,” says Matsuoka, who lives upstairs. “Sag Harbor is the oasis of the Hamptons. You can walk to the wharf and check out the beautiful yachts, the windy roads—everything is within reach. And given that Sag Harbor is an old whaling town, drinking will never go out of style.” 29 Main St., Sag Harbor, 725-0101; thecuddy.com H
Flourless chocolate cake with salted caramel, marshmallow, peanuts, and house-made peanut-butter ice cream.

good to go
LDV HOSPITALITY’S JOHN MEADOW LISTS HIS FAVORITE HAMPTONS LOCALES FOR EXQUISITE CARRYOUT BITES.
One of John Meadow’s favorite dishes out East is Silver’s lobster roll (ABOVE), which is served with just a touch of mayo and celery.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIEL KRIEGER (MEADOW); ERIC STRIFFLER (LOBSTER ROLL)

Cavaniola’s Gourmet
I find Cavaniola’s cheese, wine, and prepared food selections to be the most indulgent, artisanal, and highest quality in all of the Hamptons. Two of my favorite purchases are the Triennes Rosé and the Abbaye de Belloc (sheep’s milk cheese). 89B Division St., Sag Harbor, 725-0095; cavaniola.com

869 Montauk Hwy., Water Mill, 726-2633; hamptoncoffeecompany.com

Levain Bakery
This is my wife Karin’s single favorite dessert place in the world. As a staple in our Upper West Side neighborhood, she simply couldn’t bear to be apart from it out East. We stop in for the walnut chocolate chip cookies—they’re always fresh, warm, and gooey. 354 Montauk Hwy., Wainscott, 537-8570; levainbakery.com

Hampton Coffee Company
This place is charming and simply the most convenient location. It’s also a great break from traffic on 27 and gives my family and me the opportunity to grab a bite, then go to the farmers and flower market next door.

Loaves & Fishes
The halibut salad on its house-made croissant is the single most indulgent continued on page 66

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