Monday, July 30, 2012
For a second year, I've gotten the opportunity to vacation in Montauk NY. It's part of "The Hamptons", which as most know, is generally regarded as a place for the wealthy, upper crust set to summer.
Although Montauk is not as exclusive as East Hampton, and at one time was thought to be for a more laid-back surfer crowd, it now tends to caterer to a trendier, affluent, mothers who look amazing in their swimwear, while holding toddlers, type inhabitants.
But what I can't handle in this type of environment is all the ridiculously expensive restaurants that specialize in scanty, pretentious, light and far too healthy cuisine!!!
I realize as a food blogger I should have been in my heaven, and I do believe if I didn't personally have to pay $50 for a meal that still leaves me wanting to go grab a slice or head to a diner to fill up on grease, I could have enjoyed the experience and presentation. I certainly loved the view and ambiance of The Crow's Nest. Well wait, let me not get ahead of myself.
The first night we dined at Ruschmeyer's (161 Second House Road). The grand opening of their lodgings and bar took place when we were in Montauk Memorial Weekend 2011. The restaurant at that time was either not yet serving dinner or completely booked, can't remember; I do remember having a complimentary continental breakfast in the brand new courtyard.
Here's the restaurant description:
King & Grove has teamed up with Phil Winser and Ben Towill, the duo behind Manhattan's The Fat Radish and Silkstone for the restaurant at Ruschmeyer's. Together they've created a menu that emphasizes Montauk's freshest seafood, paired with an extensive wine list curated by Ray Pirkle, featuring a diverse selection of biodynamic, sustainable, and organic wines. The main dining room offers fresh updates of oceanside favorites in a soaring mid-century modern A-Frame space.
|Rushmeyer's Tile Fish with Fennel Salad|
I cannot recall what else was on the menu at Rushmeyer's, it's not listed online. However, you know if hungry me chose this, then the other choices must have either been way too pricey (contained mussels or clams) or was even less food on the plate. (Portion size = 1 Tine / Taste= 2 Tines).
Why didn't I fill up on bread? These posh restaurants have done away with the bread basket, obviously bread is passé, full of gluten and way too homey. Instead we were presented with a few radishes sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil for a table offering.
I will say, the dessert was rich and delicious and well-proportioned.
|Rushmeyer's Chocolate Mousse with a layer of Caramel and topped with White Chocolate and Sea Salt $10 - 3 Tines|
We also loved Ruschmeyer's Movie Night! They showed the summer classic, Bill Murray in Meatballs. The nice size screen was put up in the grassy courtyard under the stars, with tables and chairs set up to encourage simultaneous screening and dining - Truly a film and food moment!
|Outdoor Seating at The Crow's Nest|
The next evening's dining experience took us to The Crow's Nest (4 Old West Lake Drive) where we not only were met by a fantastic sunset, but also by one of the best looking men on the planet, Paul Brooke Jr., part-time dreamy waiter, full-time talented photographer (click link), Foolish me, was standing there with my camera as he's talking photography, but couldn't work up the moxy to turn the camera on him!
The Crow's Nest is another lodging resort and restaurant. From what I understand, it's been a Montauk staple for 30 years or more, but it only really came on the scene last year after famed New York developer, restauranteur and hotel owner, Sean Macpherson took it over.
I suppose my appetite should have been satisfied by open air seating, views of boats on the marina and chic primitive decor. Truth be told, I was not unhappy with my meal, it's just that it didn't excite me.
|Whipped Ricotta w/ sage and orange zest on grilled crostini $14|
|Local Vegetable Curry w/ Coconut Milk, Brown Basmati Rice and Halibut or Tofu $24|
Was also pleased with my wine choice - Classic White - Wölffer Estate Long Island NY 2010 $12
Our 3rd and final night of dining brought us to the always much talked about Surf Lodge (183 Edgemere Street), another lodging/dining/nightspot. What I like best about it is the huge deck situated on the bay, where you can enjoy live music. But the music was cancelled the night we dined, due to rain storms, which stranded us inside Surf Lodge for hours, and really wasn't any fun. The big screen was playing Gidget Goes to Rome, which is a terribly poor cousin to Gidget Goes Hawaiian, which I adore; but shown without sound, it's all moot anyway.
The Surf Lodge had some difficulties during the year, in which it first had to pay $100,000 fine to cover 100 citations for town code violations, and then was sold to Montauk Properties, LLC - an investment company run by Michael Walrath (also a part owner in the yet-to-open Swallow East).
Under the new management the decor has changed a bit, but as we were unable to get a reservation at Surf Lodge (The new restaurant is called Byron) for dinner last May - I can't state a preference between new chef Chris Rendell and previous chef, Sam Talbot.
Again, when you look at the menu (click for Byron dinner menu) I'm sure you'll think it's a fine summer selection, with plenty to choose from; but nothing other than the $42 Rib Eye Steak particularly appealed to me. It was also extremely warm in the dining room, with the impeding storm approaching, they closed the outside seating.
We did each choose small plate dishes to sample:
|Byron Surf Lodge - Crab & Tomato Pasta $17 - 2 Tines|
|Byron Surf Lodge - Salt n Pepper Squid - 3 Tines|
|Byron Surf Lodge - Avocado & Seaweed Salad Green beans, Red Peppers, Sesame Seeds, Soy-Mirin Dressing $15 - Tine rating undecided|
1 Tine rating also given to my dessert, which earns 4 Tines for customer service, given it was a stranded by the storm, complimentary offering.
|Panna Cotta - $10 (comped)|
Everything being everything, I do love Montauk as a beach getaway!
I'm going to write a stellar review of the East Deck on Tripadvisor and will link to it here when it's done.
Click HERE to see shots I took of Surfers on the beach at Ditch Plains.
|* Excellent - 4 Tines
* Great - 3 Tines
* Good - 2 Tines
* Fair - 1 Tine
* Poor - Tarnished