East End Eats: Tutto e Dopo Showdown
Tutto Il Giorno
16 Main Street, Sag Harbor
Dopo La Spiaggia
6 Bay Street, Sag Harbor
It’s the rigatoni rumble! Bucatini blitzkrieg! Fettuccini fisticuffs! Has anyone else noticed the situational irony of Tutto Il Giorno opening mere steps (275 to be exact, we counted) from Dopo La Spiaggia in Sag Harbor? It almost seems, dare I say, spiteful. The menus are almost identical.
Rather than review the new Tutto, which is in the old Muse in the Harbor location on Main Street, a friend who works within the empire suggested we get identical dishes from both restaurants and have a blind tasting at home. Genius idea.
Personally, I love both Dopo La Spiaggia and Tutto Il Giorno. Dopo has two locations, one on Bay Street in Sag Harbor, and one on Race Lane in East Hampton. Tutto has three locations — in Southampton, Tribeca, and now Sag Harbor. The Dopo in Sag Harbor is charming and cozy with a view of the water. The new Tutto is simply beautiful. It is big and airy and white with lots of windows, two outdoor lounging/dining areas, and it is melded together with Urban Zen, Donna Karan’s store of clothing, jewelry, and housewares. Ms. Karan’s daughter, Gabby De Felice is the owner of the Tuttos.
We ordered tuna tartare, burrata, pane carasau (paper thin, crisp cracker bread from Sardinia), clams and linguine, chicken “under a brick,” sautéed spinach, and tiramisu.
For the last couple of weeks, I have popped into both locations, sipped on an Aperol spritz, and attempted to elicit an opinion or information from the bartenders. Damn their discretion! They smile and say it’s all okay. The bartender at Tutto described the business breakup between chef/owner of Dopo, Maurizio Marfoglia, and Ms. De Felice as a happy divorce. When I pressed harder (Socratic irony, feigning ignorance like a regular Sacha Baron Cohen character) about identical menus two blocks apart, I got more smiles. Aperol spritz at Dopo: $16. Aperol spritz at Tutto: $18.
The blind tasting judges were Claude, Chris (a.k.a. Datenight), Ellen, and their lovely daughter, Lulu.
We began with the tuna tartare. The Tutto tuna was citrusy and a bit spicy, with two thin slices of toasted bread, some avocado, cucumber slices, and some lightly dressed lettuce leaves. The Dopo tuna was presented on cucumber slices, with a scattering of kalamata olives, avocado, and micro greens. The Tutto version had good flavor but some of the tuna bits were quite sinewy. Dopo’s was pure clean freshness. Winner: Dopo.
Next were the pane carasau and burrata. The pieces of pane carasau from Dopo were more broken up and had more rosemary on them. Chris liked this one better than Tutto’s. Both cracker breads are grilled and brushed with olive oil, rosemary, and flaky sea salt. Winner: Dopo.
The burrata from Dopo was also slightly creamier, the Tutto version was a bit firm, a negligible difference, as both were delicious and fresh. Winner: Dopo.
The sliced cherry tomatoes with basil chiffonade served with Dopo’s burrata were bland and unseasoned. The Tutto version had daintily quartered, multicolored tomatoes that really tasted like tomatoes. Winner: Tutto.
The chicken under a brick dishes were significantly different from each other. The Dopo version was a breast with the wing attached, nicely seasoned with crisped skin, on a bed of spinach with a delicious sauce that had capers and olives in it. Lulu liked this version the best. The Tutto chicken was a whole poussin split in half and served with fingerling potatoes, string beans, carrots, and strips of preserved lemon rind. We all agreed that we like having the dark meat option, and we all agreed that both dishes were excellent. Winner: This was a tie.
Next were the clams and linguine, or trenette in the Dopo version. The clams in the Tutto version were small but tasty and briny. The linguine was cooked al dente. We all agreed this was the most flavorful. The Dopo dish had lots of little Manila clams, which are totes adorbs but don’t have a lot of flavor. Ellen, who was the chef at Silver Palate for years and lived in the Italian part of Switzerland for many years, wasn’t wild about either pasta dish. They lacked garlic, and gutsy, briny flavor. Winner: Tutto.
The sautéed spinach from Dopo had no detectible seasoning, while the spinach from Tutto was tender, tasty, and lightly salted. Winner: Tutto.
Last but not least was the tiramisu. The version from Tutto was a pretty presentation with an assortment of berries scattered about and some little chocolate nibs. However, it tasted of little more than “whipped cream and angel food cake” according to Lulu, the budding pastry chef. Datenight declared it “East Hampton tiramisu: well dressed and fluffy, but no soul.” Ouch. I think he just likes to be quoted. The Dopo tiramisu was just as it should be, clearly tasting of espresso-soaked lady fingers, a little bit boozy, with the proper ratio of cake to whipped mascarpone/whipped cream. Winner: Dopo.
The prices at both restaurants are similarly expensive, the Tutto in Southampton being the most expensive. Our takeout from Tutto was $171. It was $153 from Dopo. I did notice that we were overcharged for the spinach from Tutto. The menu says $11, and we were charged $17. The prices at Tutto in Sag Harbor are $12 to $25 for starters, $24 to $28 for pastas, $32 to $39 for mains, $11 for sides, the dessert was $17. Prices at Dopo in Sag Harbor are $17 to $24 for starters, $25 to $28 for pastas, $33 to $40 for mains, $14 for sides, and the tiramisu was $15.
So Tutto won for three dishes, one was a tie, and Dopo won for four dishes. Ergo, the winner, by a thin filini: Dopo La Spiaggia. Complimenti, sei il vincitore!