Undoubtedly one of the most entertaining conversations I’ve had all summer was with Chef Arie Pavlou, and his lovely wife Liz, of Bistro Été in Water Mill. Warm and open, I could sense their passion for what they do immediately. Liz met Arie when she went back to school for hotel management and he was teaching one of her classes. (Cue the hot for teacher jokes here.) Born in Cyprus, Arie is as determined as he is laid back. He grew up in a house where you never knew who you would be sharing the dinner table with. His father made a habit of bringing home lost tourists and cooking for them. He learned from an early age how to make everyone feel at home.
Arie grew up in a tiny mountain town called Vavla with a sicilian mother and Cypriot father. He learned as a child to hunt, fish, and gather from the land. Combine that experience with his classical training at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, and you truly have the best of both worlds. Arie first apprenticed with a Two Michelin Star chef in the south of France, Philippe Da Silva, and attributes that to being key to his mastery of french techniques. He later moved to New York and worked in world renowned restaurants such as Le Cirque 2000.
Last year, Arie and Liz opened Bistro Été just for the summer. But when they saw how well received it was, and how they connected with their customers, they started the search for a full time spot. Arie says, “Lots of restaurants are commercial, it’s very personal for us.” Liz followed up telling me most of their customers stand up and give them hugs before they leave. Lucky for us, they found a spot, and now the ‘summer bistro’ will be open all four seasons.
Know for ‘truffle-izing’ everything, Arie tells me one of his first jobs was cleaning truffles. “They came in cases as big as me,” and he would clean them with a nail brush. Every 50 or so, he would pop one in his mouth, referring to them as Bon Bons (until he got caught by the chef). That’s my kind of candy. He gets his truffles now from the “Truffle Lady,” they come from Italy and he hand picks every one. Known for their famous truffle martini, which is garnished with a generous amount of truffles, he says it eats like a meal. He’s come up with a Caesar martini for this season, they describe as a Willy Wonka style drink. It’s not on the menu yet, but you can ask for it. It’s like a turned up dirty martini. Here’s a sneak peek, along with the handwritten recipe:
Arie and Liz are the perfect combination of professional and fun. It’s as if they’re welcoming you into their home. I promise you’ll want to hug them on the way out, even if it’s just to thank them for the truffles.
Bistro Été 760 Montauk Highway, Water Mill