East End Eats: Andrra Is Dreamy

The cooking is in the Mediterranean style with emphasis on seafood
Mediterranean-inspired seafood, a sleek and modern interior, and spectacular sunsets add up to fun at Andrra on Gann Road in East Hampton. Morgan McGivern Photo

   Andrra
39 Gann Road
East Hampton
329-3663
Dinner nightly
Lunch in summer

   The beautiful new restaurant at the end of Gann Road, most recently the Boathouse, and for many years Bostwick’s on the Harbor, is now Andrra, which means “dream,” and dreamy it is, beginning with the view. This particular spot on Three Mile Harbor doesn’t just have a simple, unobstructed water view; it presents a glorious panorama of boats, inlets, islands, and eddies, more like a delta, as one guest observed.
    Andrra has been renovated and opened by the brothers Sami and Noti Krasniqi with a business partner, Rich Silver. Sami Krasniqi is the executive chef and Bill Valentine, a longtime Hamptons chef, is the consulting chef. The space is sleek and modern with glossy white beadboard ceilings, deep slate blue walls and lots of mirrors to reflect the water view. A big outdoor lounge area greets you at the entrance. There are no bad seats at Andrra.
    I have been to Andrra several times since its recent opening and I have to admit this review is probably premature. So let’s cut them some slack for the few bumblings and fumblings we experienced.
    Each time I have been, the service — from the hostesses to the bartenders to the managers — has been friendly and welcoming. Tasim Kastrati, long ago the maitre d’ of Gordon’s in Amagansett, is at Andrra meeting and greeting and seating with a smile for everyone. The waiters, runners, and busboys, however, need a smidgen more training.
    Upon being seated you get some warm pita bread with a ramekin of garlicky herb butter and a dish of excellent marinated olives. For appetizers we tried the calamari fritti, crudo trio, baked clams, and cold soup of the day.
    The calamari fritti is worth the trip, super crunchy on the outside, still tender inside and served with a spicy harissa aioli. The crudo trio, while attractive, was most assuredly missing an ingredient or two. Fresh tuna, fluke, and salmon were served with a few drizzles of a spicy oil but nothing else, no citrus to give it zing or salt to give it umami. We each tasted a tiny bite and then my friend who ordered it sent it back to be substituted with the wedge salad.
    The wedge was a winner. Three small wedges of iceberg lettuce (so much more manageable than a huge quarter of a head), were dressed with a marvelous creamy gorgonzola dressing and sprinkled with garlic confit and cubes of crisped pancetta bacon. The baked clams were very good but a bit bready. The soup of the day was a thick puréed zucchini soup with a few chunks of lump crabmeat on top and some swirls of creme fraiche. The soup had a hint of curry and spice, very nicely balanced.
    For entrees we ordered the Canyons yellowfin tuna, branzino, ocean diver scallops, and Valentine’s soft-shell crabs. The tuna was cooked medium rare as ordered, and had a delicious lemony herbed sauce. It was served with Israeli couscous and vegetable tava, a mixture of peppers and squash, somewhat like ratatouille without the eggplant. The branzino was prepared the same way but was a bit underseasoned. My friend substituted the Tavarro mushrooms for the couscous, which were delicious and meaty and would be excellent with steak. The diver scallops were also very good, nicely caramelized on the outside and not overcooked.
    The soft-shell crabs were good, not great. They lacked the hoped-for crunch, but the cumin coriander butter sauce and coleslaw served with them were very good. We also got a side order of the Northeast Bay fries, which were superb, hand-cut fries with skin on, dusted with a bit of Old Bay seasoning and fried to perfection.
    The restaurant is big and it was packed on our most recent visit. Some dishes weren’t cleared, a soup spoon had to be requested, and the servers seemed a bit overwhelmed. But again, Andrra is a mere few weeks old. Prices are moderate to expensive and the menu is fairly short.
    The cooking is in the Mediterranean style with emphasis on seafood. There are a few mysterious items. I’m not sure what Toskan BBQ means, or Tavarro mushrooms. We did learn that ajvar, an offering on the Andrra mezze platter, is nicknamed “Serbian salsa,” a mixture of peppers, eggplant, garlic, and chilies.
    Prices are $8 to $20 for soups, salads, and starters, $9 to $80 for raw bar offerings (the tower of seafood carries the $80 price tag), $25 to $43 for entrees, and $9 for sides and desserts.
    All desserts are made in house, including the ice creams and sorbets. We tried the dulce de leche ice cream, the New York-style cheesecake, and baklava. The dulce de leche ice cream was very good, rich and caramely. The New York style cheesecake was not New York style at all. Rather than the tall white fluffy cheesecake with a whisper of a crumb crust that we associate with New York style, it was a thinner cheesecake with a thick graham cracker crust. It was excellent, however, full of vanilla bean seeds and a bit of citrus. The baklava, two dainty squares of it, was good, full of walnuts and pistachios, but I prefer it with crisper phyllo dough and a bit more drippy honey syrup. The humidity of the harbor will probably always wreak havoc on the crispness factor of any food served here. It was served with lovely, delicate threads of julienned candied orange peel and Chantilly cream, a nice touch.
    Over all, our experience at Andrra was great fun and some of the dishes I look forward to trying again. The few missteps and moderately faulted dishes can be tweaked, and time and training should help the staff. Until next time, I bid the boys of Andrra “Sretno!”


Comments

My experience was being ignored by the bartender for fifteen minutes. It was not until I asked another employee if I could speak to the manager, and the manager came over, that the bartender finally acknowledged our group. While explaining this to the manager, he repeated "that sucks" a few times.