It can be argued the Hamptons food scene is tired. And although the area is rich—no pun intended here—in pristine edible bounty, there’s a whole lot of roast chickens and beet salads kicking around at local restaurants.
In Sag Harbor, there are three new restaurants offering what could easily be dubbed “ethnic” cuisine, light years away from the ubiquitous continental-styled fare that floods the East End’s dining arena.
Tucked away between Division and Rector Streets in the tiny former whaling village are two newly opened eateries serving tasty to-go options, offering anything but the usual Hamptons food suspects.
What the Falafel (WTF) opened May 3 in what used to be Jacks Stir Brew Coffee, offering several iterations of the Middle Eastern street food staple. After installing a brand new kitchen, owner Alidz Alexandrian and her small team have been churning out handmade falafel served on house-baked pita six days a week since they opened. “We’re making everything, every day, from scratch,” she says. “Every day I get a vegetable delivery, so every day everything is brand new.”
Alexandrian says their Lebanese-style falafel uniquely contains both chickpeas and fava beans along with herbs and spices. The strictly vegetarian menu contains starter portions of hummus, beetroot, baba ghanouj, house-made pita bread, and French fries. There are dippable falafel “nuggets,” available by the dozen of the half dozen and served with pita, spicy sesame and tahini sauces. WTF also offers their main ingredient served in bowl format for those trying to avoid carbs along with an option for baked falafel instead of fried. Don’t be scared to check out their tahini shake, a sweet offering and riff on a milkshake made from tahini, sugar and almond milk. Prices run from $15 to $18 on average. To view a menu, click here.
No stranger to the restaurant world, Alexandrian and her family spent the better part of a decade working in Lebanese fine dining in Manhattan, before moving out east when her husband took a job to manage Baron’s Cove in 2019. Distinguished as the first South Fork establishment specializing in the popular street food, Alexandrian also owns WTF in Ithaca, where it operates out of a ghost kitchen.
WTF is open Tuesday through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. for pick up and is available for delivery on both Uber Eats and DoorDash. Located at 51 Division Street.
Right next door to WTF is Ruby Murrays, serving slow-cooked Indian food, British style. Owned by Ed Brooks and Ryan Glasson, this brainchild of Brooks originally opened as a pop-up on Hampton Road in Southampton this past winter, operating out of a ghost kitchen from the neighboring Wishbone Farms.
“We wanted to make sure there was a demand for it,” says Brooks of the initial Southampton location.
They just opened a permanent location on Memorial Day weekend, already set with its own compact, yet efficient kitchen in the space that used to house Lil Birdie. The concept is Indian food, but with a British influence, resulting in a cuisine that isn’t too spicy for western palates. Recipes require at least a day to be completed and orders can be placed days ahead of time. Options run the gamut from chicken tikka masala and butter chicken to samosas and chutneys and sweet potato korma. Very white people friendly.
“We wanted it to be approachable and most importantly, accessible,” says Brooks, noting there isn’t a great deal of variety when it comes to take-out options across the Hamptons. “But you know, the best thing about Indian food is that smell travels.” Diners have the option for in- person pick-up or delivery. Be sure to check their website for daily offerings. Ruby Murrays is open Wednesday through Monday from noon to 9 p.m. and shares WTF’s address: 51 Division Street.
Finally, situated on Main Street is eL Tacobar, the newest installment from famed restaurateur Laurent Tourondel that made its debut a few weeks ago. Since 2010, the location was home to LT Burger, Tourondel’s family-friendly, burger and fries joint which closed this past fall. His newest venture, a taqueria-style Mexican restaurant, will serve authentic tacos on handmade tortillas as well as protein- packed bowls served over cumin green or cauliflower rice. Diners can also expect plantains, chips and guacamole, and queso. Presently, there are about eight tacos available to match the over half dozen specialty margaritas listed.
Aside from the new dining concept, the interior renovation of eL Tacobar is what’s most noticeable, trading in the brightly-lit dining room with orange and white décor of the former LT Burger for softer lighting and more muted grays and blues. A large mural of a woman in calaveras makeup adorns a side wall adjacent to the centrally-located bar, which they’ve expanded to include extra seating at what used to be the coffee and milkshake station of LT. Plenty of outdoor dining remains in the front and there’s an upbeat, buzzing vibe that patrons are sure to enjoy. eL Tacobar is located at 62 Main Street.