New York City restaurants are pulling out all the stops to survive the pandemic, including launching deliveries 90 miles away to the Hamptons.
Restaurants from American bistro The Smith to Michelin-starred Carbone have been making the trek to Long Island’s East End in an effort to serve customers who fled the city during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Smith launched its Friday-only Hampton delivery service two weeks ago — with crisp $9 fries, to boot. The trick is to cook them halfway and provide the customer with detailed instructions — as well as a deep fry thermometer and oil — for finishing them.
“Who wants to eat soggy fries?” quips Jeff Lefcourt, founder and chief executive of Corner Table Restaurants’ The Smith.
Other to-go items, which get transported in a refrigerated truck, include signature $12 roast Brussels sprouts and $19 mac and cheese — both of which are meant to be heated before eating. The restaurant also offers raw foods, like fish and meat, that can be cooked at home with house condiments like peppercorn steak sauce, chimichuri and lemon aioli.
Its $38 burger kit, for example, features four short-rib grill-ready brisket patties, along with an assortment of accoutrements like bacon shallot jam, crispy onions, American cheese, Smith burger sauce, habanero pickles, little gem lettuce and potato buns.
The Smith’s specialty cocktails, like cucumber margaritas, also are on the menu.
Delivery is free for all orders over $250. Otherwise, it costs $19.99. The service could continue after the pandemic ends if demand is strong enough, Lefcourt said.
Last month, Greenwich Village celebrity magnet Carbone, known for its old-school classics like spicy rigatoni and veal parmigiana, launched a delivery service to the Hamptons in the form of a box that cost $500, which served three meals for a family of four, depending “on how much you eat,” the source said.
The boxes were different every week, with a combination of house-made pastas. signature sauces and dressing. Dishes to reheat included porcini, veal lasagna and chicken scarpariello.
They were prepared at the Italian restaurant and driven to a central, “convenient” location in the Hamptons where customers came to pick them up without contact. The eatery offered just 100 boxes and buyers had to commit to four weeks.
The popular service ended last week, however, to make room for Carbone’s next Hampton’s experiment: a new pop-up that opens this Wednesday (see sidebar).
“The four-week home delivery was a fun way to engage our customers out East until we opened the pop-up, which we are opening because so many of our customers are currently living out East, and we want to be there to serve them,” a Carbone source said.
Of course, experienced New Yorkers like Carlos Carvajal know you can get anything delivered to the Hamptons — restaurant takeout included — if you have your order delivered to the Jitney instead of an apartment.
The Jitney, which still offers bus service to the Hamptons, delivers packages for between $35 and $55, depending on the size.
Carvajal, a lawyer in the city’s fashion and nightlife space, recently used the Jitney for a large order from Sarge’s Delicatessen & Diner on Manhattan’s Third Avenue to Southampton, where he’s been under quarantine with his wife and in-laws.
“Surprisingly, there are no Jewish delis in the Hamptons,” Carvajal said.
They ordered $250 worth of “the usual suspects” — pastrami, corned beef, matzo ball soup and knishes — and he picked it up three hours later. “It wasn’t piping hot, but it was really good and a great change of pace for out there.”
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