There aren’t a lot of deals to be found in the Hamptons on Long Island, N.Y., home to million dollar-plus monthly rentals and $1,000 Blade helicopter rides.
Along with that is the price of local lobster salad.
On a recent visit to the East Hampton market, Bloomberg Pursuits bought one of the store’s pricier items: a refrigerated, prepackaged lobster salad, which costs $89 a pound. A small deli container that holds just over half a pound—enough to fill a modest roll—will give you a $55 picnic table lunch for one. Add on a bag of housemade “Kung Pow” chips —the kind of deep-fried wonton skins Chinese restaurants add to takeout orders for free—and the meal will cost you $70.
In other words, $500 will get you a lobster salad lunch for 8. Here’s what else half a thousand dollars will get you at some of the Hamptons’ most popular and beloved restaurants, from steaks to croissants to margaritas.
$500 gets you: Dinner for four if you’re careful
Fresh off a million-dollar renovation, the perpetually packed Southampton institution 75 Main offers a new-American menu that ranges from Asian specialties to Mediterranean favorites. Prices are standard for the area: There’s a $42 soy paper-wrapped spicy king crab roll for starters; as a main course the $60 Australian lamb chops come with a tangy eggplant and caper caponata and vanilla-accented sweet potato purée.
$500 gets you: Dinner for 4, featuring dry-aged cowboy steak
Manhattan-based specialty market chain Citarella has three crowded stores on the South Fork — East Hampton, Southampton and Bridgehampton — all with a strong selection of provisions for breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. Still, there’s an emphasis on meat that’s aged in-house alongside locally sourced and imported seafood. For instance, there’s the popular 40-ounce, well-marbled cowboy steak that’s been aged for 21 days and goes for $149 and wild King salmon fillets that go for around $68 a pound. Throw in some imported cheeses, Rustichella d’Abruzzo pasta and salad staples, and you’ve got dinner.
$500 gets you: Pasta and steak dinner for 3
At the seaside outpost of Scarpetta — the glossy Italian chain that started in New York and has since gone global — inside the buzzy Gurney’s Montauk Resort, there’s a price to pay for dining by the beach. That translates to $41 housemade pastas and a $68 New York prime strip au jus, which feeds one. That leaves room in the budget for the $24 Italian margaritas (the classic, with a splash of Aperol) at the bar beforehand or after.
$500 gets you: Brunch for 10, from pistachio croissants to lobster rolls
Concepts come and go in the Hamptons: One of the breakout hits in the last few years is the seasonal cafe and mini chain Carissa’s, whose flagship is in Amagansett. Jewel box-style cases display stunning pastries, including the $7 pistachio cream filled-croissant from former Per Se baker John Ward. The place also specializes in a range of freshly baked breads that the team layers into seasonal sandwiches like the spiced beet and kimchi Reuben with Gruyère on sourdough. Carissa’s is also home to arguably the Hamptons’ best lobster roll. It’s a $38 masterpiece — a buttery brioche bun piled high with warm Maine lobster meat dressed in lemon aioli. You can also throw in the $7 lime hibiscus coolers or $8 matcha lattes.
Stuart’s Seafood Shop
$500 gets you: Dinner for 9, including lobster, steamers, mussels, corn on the cob
This weathered wood shack — also the oldest continually run seafood shop on the East End, having opened in 1955 — is set on a residential street in Amagansett. It’s a popular place for locals to stock up on lobsters ($19 a pound) and other assorted superfresh seafood. And if you’re hosting a party, the $55 per person lobster dinner (the approximate price of the Round Swamp lobster salad container) comes with over a pound of lobster, corn on the cob, mussels, little neck clams — and even butter.
Topping Rose House
$500 gets you: A three-course dinner for 4
Acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s seasonal new-American restaurant in Bridgehampton’s white-washed boutique hotel Topping Rose House is one of the area’s more popular dining out destinations. The $98 three-course tasting menu features pepper-crusted beef tenderloin with a confit of tomatoes from nearby farmstand Balsam Farms, and sautéed black sea bass accented with a chili garlic crumb. The $40-a-glass Veuve Clicquot rosé Champagne will go well with either option, but take the meal over budget.