One of my favorite casual pleasures of summer is Sunday supper out. The frenetic pace of the warm-weather weekend—the beach, the outdoor concerts, the flea markets, the bike rides—has wound down, and, particularly if you're in a vacation area, the place has generally cleared out. Restaurants are calm, quiet, and manageable, and the diners are relaxed. After all, they're the ones privileged to stay behind while everyone else struggles in traffic to get home.
Case in point was dinner this past Sunday evening at beachhouse, a steak and seafood restaurant in the popular Long Island beach town of East Hampton. While a combo played Motown and James Taylor tunes, local families, retirees, and summer residents filled the tables, chatting amicably and enjoying the menu's best dishes. Among them were char-grilled baby octopus on a bed of tender white beans in a light lemon, tomato, and white wine sauce, as well as sweet but succulent local scallops with a lobster glaze atop truffled creamed corn. A fat iceberg wedge sprinkled with little lardons, cherry tomatoes, and diced red onion was a perfect vehicle for Roquefort dressing. The spinach was fresh, chopped, and lightly creamed, spiced with a good dose of nutmeg; and a hefty hunk of pork belly lay across a satisfying casserole of baked beans.
An older gentleman in a bright blue Polo shirt leaned over to tell us what he knew about how Greeks make octopus (they pound it well to tenderize it before grilling). The evening grew longer, the combo wrapped up, and the waitress announced that it was Eighties Night. The check arrived as the first chords of Pat Benetar's "Love is a Battlefield" came over the sound system, signaling an end to our serene Sunday supper.