Haute Eating: 10 Questions for Almond’s Chef/Partner Jason Weiner

If you’re in the Hamptons and seeking a charming dining experience, be sure to visit Almond. Chef/partner Jason Weiner (along with his partner Eric Lemonides) has created a casual and elegant French-bistro, with gilded mirrors, candlelight and tin ceilings. Yet it’s the kind of place that’s welcoming to anyone, from weekenders to locals. And when you return to the city, visit Almond’s second location in the Flatiron District.

The food certainly matches the francophile atmosphere that’s set, as in the case of the Hamptons location, in a vacation spot. When creating Almond’s menu, Weiner is prone to taking advantage of the local bounty: raw oysters, chilled lobster, marinated octopus, Montauk flounder with caramelized fennel, dayboat scallop pot pie and roast chicken with celery root puree. Traditional fare one would expect at a Parisian bistro includes: frisee lardon salad, escargot, bone marrow crostini, croque monsieur and several steak frites options (hangar, strip and filet mignon). This is French cuisine, reinterpreted with seasonal ingredients from the area’s farms and fishermen—as such, Weiner’s passion for cooking shines through at Almond.

Haute Living: What’s new at Almond this summer?
Jason Weiner: Lots of things with corn, tomatoes, bluefish, flounder and other stuff sourced from my backyard on the east end of Long Island.

HL: What are some of your favorite dishes at Almond?
JW: Corn and ricotta raviolo with smoked tomatoes; house made merguez sausage with peperonata and hummus; grilled dayboat scallops with figs and duck proscuitto.

HL: Where do you like to dine when you’re not working?
JW: I’m a big fan of the Halal carts. Di Fara Pizza in Brooklyn is a revelation.

HL: What’s your ideal meal?
JW: Well, of course that depends on the season. Right now, it would involve grilled lamb shoulder chops, mint, an avocado and a tomato

HL: Where do you like to dine for a special occasion?
JW: I’d like to check out Corton.

HL: What’s your favorite NYC neighborhood?
JW: Park Slope, where I grew up. My parents and many of my friends still live there. Lots of kids. Lots of restaurants.

HL: What do you like to do in the city on your days off?
JW: I take my daughter to the penguin exhibit at the Central Park Zoo. She’s two and a half and thinks it’s the funniest thing in the history of the world.

HL: Your favorite vacation destination?
JW: Bologna, Italy. The most civilized place on the planet.

HL: What’s your most memorable meal?
JW: Any number of dinners I was lucky enough to enjoy at Chez Panisse when I lived in the Bay Area early in my career.

HL: What are your five favorite ingredients?
JW: Again, it’s about the season you’re in. But there are a few ingredients that I couldn’t do without regardless of the time of the year: Rice, olive oil from Provence, Cerignola olives, bone marrow and Reggiano Parmesan.

Almond has two locations.
In NYC, Almond is located at 12 East 22nd St; 212-228-7557
In the Hamptons: 1970 Montauk Highway, Bridgehampton; 631-537-8885

To reach Tracey Ceurvels, visit her blog, The Busy Hedonist, or email her.