Summer scene: TR Restaurant & Bar
At a marina and next to a seafood shop, TR Restaurant & Bar has the right site. Tom Rutyna's fish house-plus is an ideal summer spot, removed from the traffic and ready for good times.
Chef-owner Rutyna, who starred at the Coast Grill in Southampton, knows what makes this type of eatery work. TR has an easygoing, casual style, with polished woodwork, evocative black-and-white photos of marine scenes, a sunny view. It's where you want to go for a relaxed evening after a day at the beach contemplating absolutely nothing. Rutyna gets your attention with tangy fish tacos filled with fried fluke, slathered with chipotle-spiked tartar sauce and finished with pineapple-mango salsa. His version of billi-bi, the creamy French soup of mussels, is premier cru; and the Manhattan-style "Hampton clam chowder" rivals it.
TR's wilted frisée salad with lardons gets an added boost from roasted Portobello mushrooms and a shallot vinaigrette. And the kitchen's full-flavored, very satisfying linguine with white clam sauce improves on the versions scattered among so many Italian restaurants in Nassau and Suffolk.
Fine wood-grilled swordfish arrives glistening from lemon juice and olive oil, accented with fresh thyme. The deftly grilled, crosshatched tuna also excels. And Rutyna prepares an outstanding, slightly smoky fire-roasted lobster.
The carnivorous can pick pan-roasted chicken, a wood-grilled T-bone steak, St. Louis-style ribs or a hefty burger.
For suitable finale, there's Key lime pie.
You'll find TR north of the Ponquogue Bridge and behind Tully's Seafood Market. TR Restaurant & Bar, 78 Foster Ave., Hampton Bays; 631-728-8700.