Southampton's little/red thinks big
Little/red thinks big.
Hereditarily lowercase and slashed, little/red is kin to red/bar brasserie, the Southampton standby. And the new eatery from owners David Loewenberg and Kirk Basnight adds its own accent marks.
Keeping with the flush theme, the mahogany-topped bar glistens in red, and the banquettes beckon in burgundy. Textured walls have an oyster hue. The two-tier dining room balances a vintage-style clock and mirror with abstract oils; the cozy quarters inside with the roomier patio area a hiccup away from Agawam Park. They also do takeout, so your picnic is assured, too.
Abrams' lustrous, local fluke crudo with a citrus-and-shaved fennel salad refreshes your appetite. Likewise, his buoyant tomato-red gazpacho flecked with kernels of corn. Shaved celeriac, cured olives, pine nuts and mixed greens finish the crisp calamari salad. A puck of glistening tuna tartare arrives with an herb salad, cucumber relish and a ginger vinaigrette. Ripe heirloom tomatoes with shavings of ricotta salata benefit from basil-infused oil and a balsamic-vinegar reduction. Enjoy the juicy, grilled hanger steak with garlic butter, plus a curious union of mashed potatoes and Camembert; and the juicier cheeseburger with fries. Herbaceous, roasted chicken: mandatory. Beer-battered cod stars in the fish and chips, ready for a dip in lemon-tarragon aioli. Linguine with cockles in white wine-lemon-garlic sauce also shines. The lemon tart with berries; strawberry shortcake with tarragon biscuit and whipped crème fraîche; and dark chocolate marquise with candied hazelnuts -- all big hits.
Grilled-cheese sandwich with Brie, roasted duck, braised cabbage and an overdose of Dijon mustard -- a monsieur, croaked. Satisfactory sauteed monkfish and steamed mussels; so-so frisée and blue-cheese Caesar salads; acceptable little/red velvet cake; and a vanilla panna cotta that trails the local blueberry jam around it.
THE BOTTOM LINE