You can usually determine the kind of dining experience you’re about to have based on the number of people at the restaurant and the lack of available seating. Such is the case at Bostwick's Chowder House. This East Hampton spot is casual, from the food to the patrons, but it’s all about unpretentious food that’s impeccably prepared. As a result, there’s often a wait, but it’s always worth it.
Bostwick's was busy when we visited for lunch, but with a stacked local seafood menu at very reasonable prices, we knew what we were in for. Once we were ready to be seated, we could sit outside and soak up the sun's warm rays or sit inside in the humble dining room. But no matter where you settle, you get to experience the magic as well as the hustle and bustle of the restaurant. Despite how popular and busy this place gets, it has some of the friendliest staff and servers in town.
The rough and ready roadside spot offers a menu of traditional American seafood favorites. Everything from chowders, bisque, fried clams, and oysters to fish and chips, local flounder, and lobster rolls. But we had our eye on the New England clam chowder, which was dense, meaty, and packed with first-class ingredients. Next up was the generous lobster roll, which was bursting with fresh meat nestled in a hot dog bun barely able to hold the contents. We opted for the hot buttered roll, which was served with creamy coleslaw and perfectly good fries. After all, at Bostwick’s, the seafood does all the heavy lifting.
The crispy fries felt like a nod to how great the fried seafood menu would be, so we made sure that an order of piping hot fried oysters and fish and chips were dropped off at our table. The oysters were served with a vibrant remoulade that added brightness to the fried morsels, while the fish and chips arrived flakey, deliciously salty, and with a generous portion of tartar sauce. Determined to get our greens in for the day, we opted for a mixed greens salad and added a sauteed crab cake, which was moist and perfectly seasoned. And while some of the salad remained on the plate at the end of the meal, the entirety of that crab cake was devoured.
Fair warning: don’t expect to be impressed by the presentation of the food at Bostwick’s, but the taste and quantity more than satisfied us that day. While the dessert menu boasted some soft serve ice creams, milkshakes, and a key lime pie, we were unimpressed and grabbed a quick to-go shake for the ride home. It was quite anticlimactic compared to the food menu, as soft serve just can’t quite live up to fresh flakey fish and crispy oysters.
Ultimately, Bostwick’s Chowder House is a must-visit. The locally sourced seafood is prepared with love, and the entire experience is a joy. Just make sure to arrive hungry.