Food The Chefs:

The Maidstone in East Hampton gets a fresh refresh!

As someone with a love for fresh, local, seasonal ingredients, it baffles me that more restaurants in the Hamptons do not capitalize on the many farms that congregate on the East End of Long Island. There is so much to savor in our immediate surroundings, from day boat scallops locally caught off our shores to vegetables that have just been plucked from the earth less than a mile away. The food found nearby doesn’t need much to shine. And yet, many restaurants in the area have a tendency to serve fare that is far heavier than what Mother Nature offers. All too often, these eateries either miss out on what we have in our own backyard or mask the vibrant produce with heavy sauces or overwrought preparations.

Enter the breath of fresh air (and fresh food!) created by Chef David Standridge of newly-renovated hotel The Maidstone. The Maidstone is a mainstay in East Hampton. It has been around for ages – built in 1740 – and was previously a bed & breakfast before being purchased and reimagined by Swedish hotelier Jenny Ljungberg in 2008. The property truly embodies Hamptons charm. It recently got a décor refresh by hospitality firm Partners and Alchemy, a co-owner of West Village restaurant Cafe Clover, plus a little love in the kitchen thanks to Chef David, also of Café Clover. The update served to lighten and brighten things up at Maidstone.

Chef David and I have known one another for about two years. We met literally days into his opening of Café Clover, where we created his famed white lentil risotto seen here on EyeSwoon. Now here we were again, only a short while after his taking the helm of the kitchen at The Maidstone, making another superb lentil dish together – scallops with turmeric lime butter, black lentils and ginger chives. The dish is super flavorful yet simple enough to let the beauty of each ingredient shine. AMEN, Chef, you are my Hamptons savior.

Not only did we have a ton of fun cooking together again, this time around on the Eastern End of New York, but I also got to learn something completely new during our time in the kitchen. That something was how to shuck a scallop. In all of its gooey, gory messiness, I LOVED pulling apart the ring of guts to reveal the pristine meat inside. I mean, I am not really sure how often I will get to do this in life, but I am excited to have gained the knowledge and experience!

Between the fresh, clean food and fresh, clean digs, you’ll want to check out The Maidstone. Go sample Chef David’s dishes and experience the beautiful, renovated lobby, complete with one room clad in soft pink and the other in a deep, rich turquoise.

In the meantime, read on for a little Q + A with Chef David and I as we talked favorite ingredients and cooking styles while eating scallops for breakfast at 10 a.m., sipping on both mimosas and rosé. (I’ll be honest – the mimosa was too orange for the photo, hence the switch to the pink-hued drink. It’s all about aesthetics and a controlled color palette, people!) Be sure to take a look at the story on MyDomaine as well.

My cooking sesh and scallop-and beverage-filled morning with Chef David may have been a bit fanciful, but it was also apropos. It took place right before David jetted off to Maine for the weekend for very well-deserved vacation – the first in two years, since opening Clover and The Maidstone!

The Maidstone

Chef David Standridge

Can you tell me about the dish we made together?
We made seared diver scallops with turmeric, lime butter, black lentils and ginger chive.

What is your ideal summer dessert?
The atmosphere in the Hamptons is very old school and rustic and I just want pie. It’s the first thing I decided to put on the dessert menu. I was like, “We’re going to have really good pies.” I just love a piece of peach pie.

What inspired the expansion to the Hamptons this summer?
I always thought it would be a good fit and then we just got the opportunity. I think the kind of food we do at Clover—health focus and a little lighter—lends itself well here. You’re only out here during the summer, which is why we wanted to go light anyway, so it was just a great perfect mix of concepts.

How does the menu at the Maidstone differ from the menu at Café Clover?
Originally I was thinking about what our clientele at Café Clover would want to eat while on vacation. So it’s kind of vacation food, but healthy-ish. I definitely took a different approach. Recently I went to California and I was looking at healthy restaurants. I couldn’t really find any—everything was kind of healthy, but no one was wearing it on their sleeves like, “I’m cooking healthy.” It was just healthy, from the garden, and very fresh. I wanted that feeling where everything was just really fresh—lots of vegetables, big salads, etc.

What would you say are the main tenets of flavor for a simple seafood?
I think you need acid, so definitely some brightness, and then just the freshest vegetables you can find is what you should serve with good seafood. That’s really the key. I think the mistake that people make is do too much. The whole mentality of “I have to do all this stuff to make it good,” when really it should be more like, how do you do the least amount possible to make it good? I always ask myself, what can I take away from that complicated composition and still have something great?

What are the essentials that everyone should have in their pantry?
Definitely kosher salt. When I shop, I always shop daily. My fridge is always empty until the moment I want to cook something, so I think in my pantry I always keep some nice oils—like the right fats to cook with. I always have cooking oil and olive oil.

What is your go-to meal that you make at home often?
Egg in a hole with parsley butter. Eggs are what I always have in my fridge. I always cook breakfast, that’s my one meal that I cook every day. And so eggs get transformed into a late midnight snack regularly.

What’s next for you, Chef?


Roasted Diver Scallop with Tumeric Lime Butter and Black Lentils

Chef David Standrige


makes 6 scallops 

  • 6 scallops, preferably live and in the shell
  • 3 tablespoons butter, unsalted
  • 3 tablespoons virgin coconut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
  • 1 tablespoon chopped nori
  • 1 tablespoon lime zest
  • 1 cup dried black lentils cooked in salted water
  • 2 teaspoons chopped herbs (tarragon, chives, dill, parsley)

The Prep

  1. For the turmeric lime butter, soften the butter and the coconut oil and mix in the ginger, lime zest, turmeric powder and nori. Mix well and then chill overnight.
  2. Shuck the scallops by running a knife along the inside of the flat part of the shell, opening the scallop and pulling the gills and liver off of the scallop. Then slide the knife under the scallop to release from the shell. Remove the side mussel from the scallop.
  3. Boil the curved sides of the shells in water with a lot of vinegar and salt. Cool, scrub, clean, wash, and sanitize.
  4. Warm the lentils in a little olive oil and add the chopped herbs.
  5. Season the scallops with salt and pepper.
  6. In a medium saucepan over high heat, sear the scallops in grapeseed oil. When well colored on one side, reduce heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons of the turmeric lime butter.
  7. Spoon the foaming butter over the uncooked side of the scallops until cooked to medium rare.
  8. Place a little of the lentils in each of the shells and place a scallop on top. Spoon a little of the butter mixture over each scallop and serve with a wedge of lime.
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