February 24, 2016

Main Course

Keep It Simple, Tavern Style

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Last week, I traveled to downtown Amagansett to pay a visit to Indian Wells Tavern for a bite. I was familiar with the casual locale, having enjoyed countless burgers, chicken wings, quesadillas and other bar bites over the years.

Upon arrival, my friend and I were warmly greeted by Margaret, who promptly showed us to our seats, smiling the entire time. The 30-foot bar and surrounding area with high-top tables was lively for a Tuesday night. Beer was flowing, there was a jovial murmur buzzing around. The vibe was good.

This feeling continued as we sat down in the newly furbished dining area. Red banquets adorned the brick walls, with newly finished tabletops on the chic black metal bear claw tables.

Raul, our server and a veteran in the biz, was efficient, knowledgeable and friendly.

As we perused the menu, he suggested a chef's choice tasting which featured menu items available a la carte. We decided that may be a good way to have new chef Tyler Hannabal show us what he's got.

I had a margarita to drink first, my friend a Blue Moon. The Tavern has about eight specialty cocktails as well as well-priced glasses of wine. But it's the dozens of beers (both draft and bottled) available that are sure to please anyone wanting to wet their whistle.

Bread service was the introduction to the meal and it was a solid one, with sesame seed crackers and warm slices of wheat bread served with both butter and a house-made sundried tomato spread. As someone who usually has one piece of bread, if any, when I go out, I found my hand wandering over to it more than once.

Highlights included a graham-cracker dusted calamari salad with a pesto drizzle. Although a little sweet, a quick spritz of lemon brightened it up immediately.

Described as a regular favorite, the potato-crusted cod was served over a risotto with pieces of bacon with a beurre blanc sauce. Although a bit starch heavy, the cod was cooked perfectly and the beurre blanc had just enough zing to it to counter the heaviness of the dish.

Next came a rib eye with grilled asparagus. The asparagus were cooked perfectly, with just the right amount of char. The rib eye itself, so so, but if I could, I'd put the horseradish crème fraiche it came with on anything. So yummy!

For dessert, we opted for something classic, and nothing is more classic than a crème brulee. The vanilla-flavored delicacy was close to perfect and a nice way to end our meal.

All in all, Indian Wells Tavern is reasonably priced, with no frills, and has been a staple in the local community for close to a decade serving solid bar food. Be sure to check them out for daily food and drink specials that include happy hours and prix fixe.

The Tavern is located in the heart of Amagansett at 177 Main Street. Call 631-267-0400 for more information.

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