Haute Dining: The Living Room at East Hampton’s c/o Maidstone Hotel

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The term “slow foods” is clearly over used these days. Often times and in order to stay A-listed within the eco-friendly movement, the concept gets frivolously tossed around like its predecessor catch phrases; comfort food, artisanal; even farm to table.

How pretty and politically correct it all sounds but sadly and all too many times, the product falls short at the point of delivery. Emphatically not the case here. The slow foods part isn’t a gimmick at this dining spot; rather it’s their bottom line.

Chef James Carpenter’s special fixed-price wine dinner at The Living Room features top wines matched with his signature slow and contemplative cooking, all gleaned from local resources. An ever changing and refined menu features seasonally inspired choices straight from East End, Long Island soil. All ingredients are sourced from local farms and purveyors such as Catapano cheeses and Sagpond Vineyards wine, in the spirit of supporting the community and offering true freshness.

None of this earthy passion compromises the dining splendor though–as they sure do clean up nice around hereThe Inn’s façade is the original white wood shingles with green shutters of centuries past. In 2008, Swedish hotelier Jenny Ljungberg purchased the Maidstone and enlisted Swedish decorator Nadia Tolstoy (yes; the famous Leo Tolstoy’s granddaughter) to reinvent the property à la Bohemian, yet elegant Scandinavian design with a strong and vibrant sophistication creating a delightful fusion of homey and new.

The dining room is adorned with modern Swedish furnishings with a color scheme of earthy mosses and blues, candlelit ambience, a white wooden staircase, and floral wallpaper, which coaxe you to taste, sample, and linger. Handsome waiters move like efficient chess pieces about the room, serving guests with old school manners kept refreshed by their youth.

Choices such as their savory house-cured salmon tarte flambé with crème fraîche and capers, and Swedish inspired dishes like the toast skagen, a savory Swedish classic of sautéed shrimp on bread make for sublime dining. More than 200 vintage wines and a variety of microbrews are on hand as well. Also worth tasting are their creative and fun signature cocktails made with passion by creative mixology masters.

Order courses with the confidence that what you request is what you will get. And you’ll get it no questions asked, because plain and simple, they put their money where their mouth is.


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