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What's Worth the Hamptons Hassle?

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A gringo chef from the popular Bridgehampton bistro Almond is tossing off more or less Mexican hits at Almondito in Wainscott. From the hugs and kiss-kiss at the door, it’s clear everyone loves co-owner Eric Lemonides’s TLC. Sip a potent margarita thickened with local strawberries. If the weekend grandees no comprende pork carnitas or huitlacoche quesadillas (that’s corn fungus, sweetheart), they’ll feel safe with the savory chopped salad, crusty salmon with salsa verde, or fabulous hanger steak on mashed plantain. Portions are huge; prices are not. And who cares how authentic it is when crispy flautas with avocado crème fraîche and chicken mole poblano are that good? It can’t hurt to share just-fried buñuelos with dulce de leche dip (290 Montauk Highway, nr. Stephen Hands Path, Wainscott; 631-329-6700). East Hampton’s once-imperative lit-clique hangout the Laundry survives as a port of civilized calm and skilled pampering. Regulars come for a respectable burger beside a hill of fries or juicy, caramelized ribs. The Caesar and an appetizer-size ribs make my evening. The kitchen tends to overcook fish, but I said “rare” and got deftly grilled organic salmon alongside a tangy nest of Asian slaw and soba noodles. On weekdays, $32 buys a prix fixe (31 Race Lane, nr. Railroad Ave., East Hampton; 631-324-3199).


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