Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Day of Tasting through Montauk & the Hamptons

I was able to spend a lot of time on the east end of Long Island this summer, reminiscing about my childhood and checking out places new and old. Most of the trips involved overnight stays, but there was one where my friend Gail accompanied me for a marathon day of eating and drinking through Montauk and the Hamptons.

The first stop of the day was in Amagansett, at the Clam Bar. Since I can’t eat seafood I was forced to watch while Gail checked out the best of this infamous stop. Everything here comes in fresh from the docks every day and it looks amazing.

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She started with the Local Sea Scallops, a ceviche with a lemon-lime marinade she enjoyed. Next was the dish that made them famous – the Lobster Salad Roll. Gail agreed it was worth the hype, as was the Spicy Crab & Sweet Corn and the New England Clam Chowder, before she demonstrated how to eat steamers (see video above).

I was getting hungry watching the food, but there was plenty for me at Montauk’s Navy Beach, where I sipped La Tigressa (vodka, agave syrup, basil and watermelon) and nibbled on the incredible Yuman Ribs with chili and caramel. Gail went for the Local Ceviche plate, made with shrimp, scallops, fluke and octopus, while we both also tasted a fresh and fruity concoction called Marganegra, made with silver tequila, Crème Yvette, raspberries, blackberries and lime.

We had to go a bit further into the town of Montauk to South Edison, where they use fruits and vegetables to make cocktails. The Fresno Chili Martini is made with gin soaked chili peppers and the Pickled Martini uses smoked and pickled onions. There are also drinks made of garlic, asparagus, green beans, cherries and other produce.

The food isn’t only in the drinks at South Edison.  Gail had a tasty Local Baby Lettuce Salad with smoked golden trout and banana vinaigrette and I loved the Chicken and Waffles with honey butter.  It was true comfort food and quite different from anything on the menu at Sole East, where we went next.

This contemporary boutique resort has a bar restaurant with a small, but well thought menu. The drinks are named after the owners kids and are quite creative, especially the Samantha, a wonderful combination of jalapeño-infused Filandia, spiced pineapple and lime. 

As for the food at Sole East, the menu is small and very interesting. I really enjoyed the Parppadelle with Beef Brisket. 

There was no food at the Montauk Brewery, but the beer on tap is produced by three local men who started the company three years ago and now sell it to many east end restaurants. They deliver it using a beach cruiser to help do their part for the environment. Gail Liked the American Style ESP, a cross between pale ale and an IPA.

We left Montauk for Bridgehampton where we had a fantastic Italian feast at Osteria Salina. As full as we were, we tried to taste bites of everything and were glad that we did.

At Osteria Salina, a new addition to the area this year, they start you off with cucumbers marinated in olive oil and a bit of salt. We thought they went well with the drinks, a Prickly Pear Mojito and a Selena Sunrise, made with blood orange juice.

The food just kept coming and every dish was better than the last: Bucatina Con Sarde, with sardines, fennel and pine nuts; Mezza Rigatoni, pasta with eggplant, tomatoes and Buffalo mozzarella; Polpo Eolicno, charred octopus tenticles with fava beans and lemon oil; and Oven Roasted Chicken, in escarole and fagiolini.

The only thing better than the meal at Osteria Salina was the dessert. The homemade cannoli was light as a feather and the Peach Plum Tart was delicious.

It was rather late in the evening when we made it to the last restaurant, Plaza Café. The bartender was waiting for us with a Blueberry Mojito and a Watermelon Margarita, both extremely refreshing.  Gail liked the Fish Tacos, made with Mahi Mahi, and I was impressed with the Grilled Pizza with fig, prosciutto, baby arugula and balsamic syrup.

Needless to say, we didn’t eat for quite a while after this food-filled day. The season in the Hamptons is technically over, but that makes it one of my favorite times to visit. Take advantage of the lower rates and plan a trip out to Eastern Long Island this fall.   The Clam Bar is open until November; Sole East, Plaza Café and Osteria Salina are open year round. The Montauk Brewing Company is still open weekends. As for the rest, it’s never too early to plan for a trip next spring. 


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