Race Lane (East Hampton, NY)

It’s been quite a snowy weekend out here in The Hamptons. Forecasts predicted only an inch or two of snow, but we ended up with almost eight! Sadly, we had to cancel our reservation to Race Lane last night, but were thankfully able to make it over there today. There was a local band playing live music in the dining room and the bar was hopping. We were starving and ready for some tasty eats by Chef Nimesh Maharjan, starting with a tender venison carpaccio with beets & horseradish and followed by Scottish salmon with cauliflower purée & sautéed kale. You know I had to order a double entree because every time I’m at Race Lane, I have to have the Old School Bolognese! It’s the perfect warm and cozy pasta on an ice cold winter day. I couldn’t finish the whole thing, so I happily had it packed up in a doggie bag for later. For dessert, we each had a sampling of the chocolate tart and hazelnut macarons. It is always wonderful to see Chef Nimesh — a huge thank you to him once again for a delicious meal! After we were full and happy, we got in the car and drove back to Manhattan. That two hour drive made me hungry, so the first thing I did when I got home was bust out the bolognese. Leftovers rock! 😉

Race Lane: 31 Race Lane, East Hampton, NY

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Housemade fruit punch

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Venison Carpaccio with beets, horseradish, apple and truffle oil

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Scottish Salmon, cauliflower purée, sautéed kale and caper raisin emulsion 

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Old School Bolognese with tagliatelle, fontina burro fusso and parmesan

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Chocolate Tart with fresh whipped cream and Hazelnut Macaron

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Live band night!

Race Lane (East Hampton, NY)

Table Talk with Chef Nimesh Maharjan

Current Gig
Executive Chef, Race Lane (East Hampton, NY)

About the Chef
Chef Nimesh Maharjan started off as a dishwasher at 29 Fair Bistro in Nantucket, Massachusetts, where he worked his way up the ranks and went on to become Sous Chef.  In 2009, Chef Todd English took over the restaurant, renamed it Figs at 29 Fair, and appointed Chef Nimesh as the Executive Chef. This was the turning point in his culinary career.  A few years later, a new opportunity arose in Long Island and Chef Nimesh moved to East Hampton to become Executive Chef at Race Lane, a creative American restaurant using fresh, local ingredients.

Race Lane: 31 Race Lane, East Hampton, NY

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Chef Nimesh Maharjan at Race Lane in East Hampton

Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in Kathmandu, Nepal. I moved to the US when I was 20 years old.

What did you enjoy eating most as a kid?
There was a lot of cooking in my home while I was growing up.  Watching my mom cook was one of the best things I’ve ever seen. She makes a fermented vegetable stew with soybean that I love. It takes a long time to prepare – a whole month just to ferment the vegetables! The flavor is so good. The memory of it stays with me for days. (Smiling)

At the moment, what is your favorite ingredient and what do you like to make with it?
It’s tough to pick just one. In the middle of summer, tomatoes are getting really ripe and corn is just perfect. I would choose these two ingredients at the moment because I use them a lot on my menu. I like simple cooking and enjoy using these ingredients to make tomato tarts and roasted corn succotash.

What kitchen items are important for a home cook to own?
Beside a sharp knife and good pots and pans, I would suggest having a Vitamix blender. In my kitchen, this is such an essential item.  I would be paralyzed without it! (Laughing)

If your food were music, what music style(s) would it be and why?
I would say soul music. Whatever I cook comes from the inner core of my heart and soul.

Where are your favorite places to travel for the cuisine?
There are lots of places – too many to mention!  I am definitely looking forward to my travels in France, Italy, and Spain. Their cuisines are extraordinary and I’m excited to experience real gastronomy where I will definitely have lots of great experiences to learn from.

If you had not gone to the culinary route, what would you have done instead?
If I wasn’t cooking, I am pretty sure I would be doing something related to soccer. I have always wanted to be a soccer player. (Smiling)

Which chef do you admire most right now?
That’s a tough question, as it’s hard to pick just one. I’ve learned a lot on my own, but there are a few chefs that I am really grateful to. One of them is Chef Charles Sallie, who is my guru, and without him I wouldn’t be cooking today.  Also, Chef Todd English and Chef Joe Brenner, who both believed in me and gave me the opportunity to run their restaurant, and Chef Pino Maffeo, who has been very influential in my life.  I have always admired Chef Thomas Keller, Chef Michel Roux, Jr., and Chef Marco Pierre White. Hopefully one day, I will have the chance to work in their kitchens!

When you get a chance to dine out, where do you like to go?
I don’t go out that much, but when I have free time on my day off and depending on who I am with, I will usually go for Sushi or Asian cuisine.

If you had to give up one of the five food groups (Bread & Potatoes, Milk & Dairy, Meat & Fish, Fat & Sugar, Fruits & Vegetables) and could not eat anything from that group for the rest of your life, which one would it be and why?
This is impossible to answer because each group is related to each other. This is hard to even think about right now! (Laughing) I will say Fat and Sugar because I can substitute those ingredients with something else. For the other groups, there really aren’t any good substitutions!

Table Talk with Chef Nimesh Maharjan

Race Lane (East Hampton, NY)

I’m thrilled to be back at Race Lane in East Hampton for another incredible meal. This time, we’re with my foodie bestie, SaraDish, and her husband & wine aficionado, Estevino. I ordered a few of the dishes that I loved from last time — the Montauk Pearl Oysters with blood orange granita, Old School Bolognese, and Black Truffle Risotto — and tried some new ones — Heirloom Tomato & Cherry Gazpacho and Sea Scallop with sea urchin cream. The sea scallop dish, which is not on the menu, was absolutely amazing! I could have eaten five more of them (I hope it is added to the menu :)).  It was so nice to get to a chance to see Chef Nimesh Maharjan again. He is unbelievably talented as a chef and such a genuinely nice person. I’m looking forward to seeing what exciting new dishes will be on Chef Nimesh’s menu in the fall when we return to the Hamptons!

Race Lane: 31 Race Lane, East Hampton, NY

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SEA SCALLOP (sea urchin cream)

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MONTAUK PEARL OYSTERS (cucumber mignonette, blood orange granita)

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HEIRLOOM TOMATO AND CHERRY GAZPACHO (salted almond, basil sorbet, cilantro)

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OLD SCHOOL BOLOGNESE (tagliatelle, fontina burro fusso, parmesan)

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BLACK TRUFFLE RISOTTO

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STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKE

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HAZELNUT MOUSSE

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TERRE NERE BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO

Race Lane (East Hampton, NY)

Race Lane (East Hampton, NY)

All day it was raining cats and dogs in the Hamptons (with severe flooding in some areas), but I was determined to make it to dinner at Race Lane in East Hampton. Boy, am I glad I did because it turned out to be one of the most memorable dining experiences ever, thanks to Executive Chef Nimesh Maharjan. The atmosphere inside the dining room was casual and cozy, and we were seated in a comfy corner booth. I knew it was going to be a great night when I saw my favorite Pinot Noir, Flowers, on the wine list. Naturally, I had to order it! The night got better and better with each dish that came out. We began our meal with a lovely Montauk pearl oyster — it had a sweet start (from the blood orange granita) and a tangy finish (thanks to the radish mignonette). Such a unique combination! One of the specials of the night was a roasted garlic soup with oven cured guanciale, toasted hazelnuts, chili oil, chive blossoms, and preserved lemon. I’ve never had a soup like it before — it had great textures and layers of flavor. We also ordered a few other specials (since they all sounded so good) — the chicken thigh confit (which was cooked for fourteen hours, making it incredibly tender and moist) and the black truffle risotto (creamy and decadent with a very generous portion of shaved black truffles). So far, everything was delightful.

Our next course consisted of homemade pastas — gnocchi with lobster, morels & truffle butter and “Old School Bolognese” (tagliatelle, fontina burro fusso, and parmesan).  You’d think we were in an Italian restaurant — these pastas were perfectly cooked al dente and full of flavor. My favorite was the bolognese (it was creamy, meaty, cheesy, and just perfect). We received a refreshing palate cleanser (with a kick!) before the fifth course came out. It was time for some meat: a grilled Berkshire pork chop with bacon scallion pancakes, cherry gastric & haricot vert and braised beef short ribs with whipped potatoes, baby carrots, beets & horseradish gremolata. Oh my goodness. The pork chop was the literally the best I’ve ever had — it was so insanely juicy! The short ribs were fatty and luscious, just how I like them. All of the accompaniments were very tasty and complemented the meats really well. Plus we had some lobster mac & cheese and parmesan truffle fries on the side, just in case there wasn’t enough food. (As if!) 😉

We were celebrating a family member’s birthday that night, and Chef Nimesh surprised us with the most delicious lemon cake — that he had baked himself that morning! What a thoughtful and generous gesture! I am normally not a cake eater, but I have to say that I really enjoyed this cake — it was incredibly moist and buttery. I also ordered the upside down apple pie with creme anglais and vanilla ice cream because I love apple pie. We had the great pleasure of meeting and chatting with Chef Nimesh — he came out to greet us when we first arrived and stopped by several times to introduce the courses and explain each dish. It was wonderful to get to know him and hear about his journey in the culinary world thus far. Chef Nimesh is incredibly talented and has a long, successful career ahead of him. His food is elegant, creative, and absolutely delicious — and I am his biggest fan after tonight’s dinner. Thank you so much, Chef, for making our experience at Race Lane an unforgettable one. We cannot wait to return next month!

Race Lane: 31 Race Lane, East Hampton, NY

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Thrilled to find Flowers, my favorite Pinot Noir, on the wine list!

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MONTAUK PEARL OYSTERS (radish mignonette, blood orange granita)

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ROASTED GARLIC SOUP (oven cured guanciale, toasted hazelnuts, preserved lemon, chive blossoms, chili oil)

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Black Truffle Risotto

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CHICKEN CONFIT (pickled beets, pickled ramps, pickled mushrooms, micro arugula)

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Chef Nimesh sent out two extra pieces of chicken confit to munch on!

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HOUSE ROLLED GNOCCHI (local lobster, morels, truffle butter, English peas, tarragon)

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OLD SCHOOL BOLOGNESE (tagliatelle, fontina burro fusso, parmesan)

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Refreshing palate cleanser (with a kick!)

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GRILLED BERKSHIRE PORK CHOP (bacon scallion pancake, haricot vert, cherry gastric)

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A slice of the grilled pork chop (so juicy!)

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BRAISED SHORT RIBS (whipped potatoes, baby carrots, beets, horseradish gremolata)

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Close up of the braised short rib

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Lobster Mac & Cheese

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Parmesan Truffle Fries

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Birthday cake baked by Chef Nimesh himself!

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Lemon cake with blueberries

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UPSIDE DOWN APPLE PIE (crème anglaise, vanilla ice cream)

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The dining room

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Race Lane (East Hampton, NY)