I'm a sucker for a great sandwich, salad, or soup. As long as the ingredients are of quality and the flavors are right, you can't go wrong. You can, however, get bored. Cue the "sad desk lunch" meme. There's a little place in Amagansett, NY with counter service, picnic table seating, and a menu that remains interesting even though it hasn't changed in decades. The basis of their offering is dosas and uttapams, with fillings ranging from classic masala (spicy Indian potatoes) to grilled portobello mushrooms, spinach, onions, and goat cheese. The couple that founded it met at an ashram in South India where they were doing Seva (selfless service) in the kitchen. When they returned to the States, they started making fresh chutneys and selling them at specialty shops in the Hamptons and New York City. They dreamed of opening a dosa shop, and eventually, in 1997, they did.
Their concept is rooted in tradition, with a significant American spin, and that's why it's so successful. The menu is accessible yet ever-so-challenging. Sandwiches like cilantro chutney tuna, arugula, and tomatoes on black bread (a personal favorite) are simple but unique. Best of all, each one can be made as a salad, with your choice of mango or tomato basil dressing. The chunky and refreshing mango gazpacho is a staple, as is their comforting daal. If none of that calls your name, put an order in for an immensely satisfying plate of creamy, spice-laden curry chicken over rice. Last but not least are the chutneys: cilantro, mango, peanut, pumpkin, curry, and tomato. Altogether they are a vibrant bunch, and each one is scrumptious. To be fair, I've never tried the pumpkin or the curry, but I can vouch for all the rest, particularly the peanut. It's not an Indian restaurant, nor is it a sandwich shop. It's something in between.
So you stroll on in, place your order, maybe grab a few gin-gins from the jar by the register and add them to your bill, receive a buzzer, and head outside to your table for what will undoubtedly be a short wait. They're quick here, and they're accommodating, too. Add-ons and substitutions are a no-brainer. The staff is friendly and efficient. What more could you ask for?
Drinks. A solid lunch spot must have a good beverage selection. There is chai, cardamom coffee—both excellent—a few kinds of fresh lassi, watermelon juice, orange blossom lemonade, ginger iced tea, and that's just what's house-made. You can grab a kombucha or a Boylan's soda from the fridge if you fancy.
As for dessert? There are cookies and brownies, and then there's something better: soft serve ice cream. They don't play around; they do it up straight—vanilla, chocolate, or a twist.
The truth is, you can come here as early as 9 am. A dosa filled with eggs, spinach, roasted tomatoes, and jack cheese (add avocado) would easily make my list of top 10 favorite breakfasts. And, as it turns out, it stays open 'til 8 or 9 pm, so you could also hit it for dinner. Still, none of that changes my point, which is that this spot is a lunchtime institution. When it comes to the mid-day meal, Hampton Chutney Co. hits all the right notes.
Hampton Chutney Co.
12 Amagansett Square, Amagansett, NY 11930*
*There's an outpost in the city, too! At 143 Grand St, in SoHo.
Things I read this week (and liked):
Oat milk is downright delicious (particularly in cold brew). As a semi-recent devotee, I was curious to learn more about its ascent and was surprised to learn that Oatly has been around for 25 years! [NYTimes]
Speaking of cold brew, if you haven't read Alexis C. Madrigal's piece on How the Disposable Straw Explains Modern Capitalism, you should. [The Atlantic]
I've been consuming NYMag's annual Cheap Eats guide practically since I could walk to school by myself (5th grade, folks!), so cheers to another. [Grub Street]
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