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By Samantha Yanks | August 11, 2016 | Food & Drink
Greg Grossman and Julian Niccolini.
As those in the Hamptons for the summer say so long to a city favorite, Oreya chef Greg Grossman and The Four Seasons owner Julian Niccolini sat down with Hamptons editor in chief Samantha Yanks to talk about tonight’s tribute dinner (Thursday, August 11, 6-11 p.m.; Oreya, 281 County Road 39A, Southampton, 500-9055).
SAMANTHA YANKS: Tell me a little bit about you and Julian coming up with the idea for The Four Seasons tribute here.
GREG GROSSMAN: I can’t take credit entirely, it was actually the work of our partner Paul Michael and Joanna Fisher, who was a longtime patron of The Four Seasons. After the closing, she was distraught and decided she had to relive the experience with all her friends out in the Hamptons. I would say it was the hardest reservation this summer, we closed books [in] two weeks and sold out in a matter of days via word-of-mouth. Everything came via referral, no online or cold calls at all.
SY: Give us a little taste what we should expect on the menu this evening.
GG: I won’t give it all away, but there’s going to be four dishes that are being served that are savory, two desserts, and then, of course, the famous cotton candy is going to be aplenty.
JULIAN NICCOLINI: I’m sure you get some violets, too.
GG: Yes, I’ve got a large box of candied violets.
JN: It’s probably the most expensive item on the menu, because they’re really candied violets from France.
SY: Tell us a bit about how you’ve curated the wine list and the sommelier. What should we expect to be drinking?
GG: It’s our wine list, from Oreya, it’s a very eclectic mix—geared toward the Hamptons clientele. Heavy champagne and rosé selection, which you’re familiar with.
SY: I do like that.
GG: We’re going to be doing a signature cocktail as well, which everyone will get a chance to taste. It’s made with Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque, a very expensive bottle of champagne and the cocktail is a very simple and light play on an aperol spritz. Its infused with rose petals, a little bit of rosewater. And we may garnish it with candied violets as well.
SY: So how do you expect the flow of the evening to be? Seated dinner and then developing into more of a casual party?
GG: We start seating at 7 p.m. and it’s focused indoors, but now with so many reservations we’ll be forced to seat outside as well.
SY: You have a beautiful evening.
GG: Otherwise we’ll have a great bar crowd while everyone waits for their midnight dinner table.
Plates from The Four Seasons.
SY: Julian, a large part of closing The Four Seasons was this auction that was for the whole world to see.
JN: We couldn’t believe it ourselves. It was sad in a way, but the auction house, they did a beautiful catalogue. We had Alan Richman, Graydon Carter, they wrote beautiful pieces.
For the new space, we found an incredible location between 48th and 49th street on Park Avenue. It has a beautiful restaurant, a beautiful bar, and two other restaurants outside where you can have lunch and dinner, weather permitting. The architect is really incredible. We don’t want to bring anything from the old space into the new space. The only thing we’re bringing is the sign and the entrance. This is going to be entirely fresh and new.
GG: And Julian, of course.
JN: The most incredible part is the exciting, incredibly talented people, but everything is going to be totally new. It’s a lot of excitement. The restaurant has been there since 1959, but it was the people that made the restaurant happen.