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Welcome to The Lunch Belle, a NYC based food and travel website that views various dining scenes and destinations through the lens - and belly - of a highly opinionated thirty-something.

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Lindsay

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Tuesday
Jul312012

The Hamptons: Lunch at Cittanuova

  • Restaurant  Cittanuova
  • Cuisine  Italian
  • Location  29 Newtown Ln., East Hampton
  • Phone  631-324-6300
  • Directions  Hopstop
  • Atmosphere  casual-chic, indoor/outdoor seating
  • Attire  smart casual
  • Ideal for  small to medium-sized group dining, 1x1, bar scene, great location
  • Price  affordable to moderate

When it rains during the day in the Hamptons, there's not much else to do, aside from a) curling up to a good book, b) catching a flick at the movie theater, c) going shopping in East Hampton, or d) eating/drinking.  I prefer the latter two, thank you very much.  I mean, I just don't have the attention span for theater movies (Duh, there's no pause button!), and I kind of hate to read.  So, I'll take window shopping at East Hampton's gorgeous boutiques and leisurely lunching at one of Main Street or Newton Lane's best.

Sure enough, I arrived in Montauk last Saturday to, what seemed like, a never-ending rain shower.  So, the girls and I decided to drive to East Hampton and make a day out of shopping, eating, drinking, and whatever else we could get ourselves in to. 

We arrived at Cittanuova around noon, and were surprised to find that the restaurant was not completely packed with fellow Hamptonites dodging the rain.  "Can we have one of the tables in the bar area facing a TV?"  Emily asked the hostess.  "We really want to watch swimming (Olympics)."  Sure enough, we were seated at a cozy 4-top - what we considered to be the best table in the house - just beyond the bar.  With the perfect view of the Olympics to our right, and a picturesque image of a rainy Newton Lane to our left.

What is described as sleek, sexy, and Milanese in style (whatever that means), Cittanuova evokes a casual sophistication that mingles seamlessly with its chic, seaside location. 

After all, when summer-izing in the Hamptons, isn't the option of *either* indoor or al-fresco dining key?  I'd like to think so.  

Because it was Saturday - because the weather sucked - because I was on vacation - because, because, because, I kicked lunch off with a margarita.  And a damn good one, at that. 

Aside from the fact that, visually, the glass was taller than most - perfectly salted - and was rimmed with extra limes, the margarita, itself, was delicious.  I always appreciate when a restaurant uses freshly-squeezed lime juice and agave nectar or house-made simple syrup.  None of that fluorescent green, store-bought shit.

Because so many of the menu items caught our eyes, Emily and I decided to split two salads and a pizza.  

Rucola (salad)

Arugula greens were tossed with white beans, red onion, cherry tomato halves, and sliced grana padano (cheese).  The greens were dressed with lemon and olive oil. 

Aside from its "toss ins," I found this salad to be pretty damn boring.  Because there was not enough dressing, the arugula greens remained rather dry and difficult to maneuver.  Yawn and meh.

Burrata

An ample mound of creamy burrata cheese was drizzled with olive oil and plated atop sweet balsamic vinegar.  Three slices of toasted crostini and a trio of blistered cherry tomatoes accompanied.

The burrata, itself, was outstanding:  The exterior had a similar texture and density to that of a hard-boiled egg white.  And, like an egg, the burrata's "crust" gave way to a creamy, molten, yolk-like interior. 

I appreciated the chef's use of sweet, rather than sour, balsamic vinegar, as it's not something I see often.  On the flip side, I was disappointed by the too-crunchy, tasteless crostini and those damn, outfit-destroying cherry tomatoes.  Have you ever tried to cut in to a cherry tomato?  Juice squirts out EVERYWHERE.  God forbid you're wearing white/pastel linen or poplin.  I mean, come on, Cittanuova, how many guest's dry-cleaning bills will you have to pay before you switch over to sliced tomatoes? 

Special pizza of the day:  Meatball

A griddled, flatbread crust was topped with crushed San Marzano tomatoes, mozzarella + grana padano cheeses, and sliced meatballs.

Enveloped by a smoky, griddled char, the pizza's shell revealed a chewy, toothsome body and a crunchy crust.  Topped with the perfect amount of tomato and stringy cheese, the only component that dumbed the pie down were the meatballs, which tasted of similar quality to those found in $1-slice shops across the city. 

Cittanuova is a great place for a bite + a glass of wine/cocktail during your shopping break.  Or, in our case, escaping the summer rain.  While I wouldn't necessarily call it destination-worthy, Cittanuova is a solid Newton Lane staple. 

~~~

Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle

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