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Dining in Montauk 2012

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.

Which is fine, I certainly don't mind the fact that I was eating breakfast on the beach not two feet from John Slattery (Mad Men). Or that we observed a Cosmo photo shoot. And I chatted with a couple of the hip, "Sex in the City" moms, and, to my surprise, they were quite congenial.

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
Now, I ask you to please look at this entree and tell me if you'd be satisfied. Particularly after a day of swimming, yoga and walking on the beach.
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!

Ruschmeyer's on Urbanspoon

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
 The hint of sage and orange zest was far too faint for my palate - 2 Tines.

Local Vegetable Curry w/ Coconut Milk, Brown Basmati Rice and Halibut or Tofu $24

I really can't explain why I get uptight when everything on the menu (click for Crow's Nest Menu) seems diet like to me. It particularly irks me when I'm on vacation.  But I do know I have a dysfunctional relationship with food - and I like it that way.  But, judging this dish on its own merit, I have to say the curry, coconut milk sauce was flavorful without being overly spiced and the pieces of Halibut were firm and generous. - 4 Tines. 

Was also pleased with my wine choice - Classic White - Wölffer Estate Long Island NY 2010 $12

Crows Nest Inn on Urbanspoon

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
We also had the Rosemary-garlic Fried Potatoes $6, which tasted like plain fried potatoes. Expressing my disappointment to the waitress, she explained the potatoes are cooked in an essence of rosemary/garlic olive oil - 1 Tine.

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)
The flan tasted like unflavored gelatin, the supposedly lemon cookies resembled those crisps you give to babies while they're teething.

The Surf Lodge on Urbanspoon

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.

Tine Ratings:
* Excellent - 4 Tines
* Great - 3 Tines
* Good - 2 Tines
* Fair - 1 Tine
* Poor - Tarnished

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About This Blog

is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?
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