CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: With Ricky Lauren for her cover shoot at her breathtaking home in Montauk. Karen Mulligan, Jillian Demling, and me at their party to celebrate the private dining room at Byron at The Surf Lodge. At the Montauk Yacht Club, sharing a laugh with Libby Langdon; she has the most infectious energy. My husband, David, and me with our daughter, Sadie, watching the Grucci Fireworks at the Southampton Fresh Air Home’s 25th annual American Picnic.
Every season there are a handful of new restaurants where it becomes impossible to get a reservation. This summer, not one, but two became immediate additions to my speed dial—and both are in Montauk. The Crow’s Nest and Byron at The Surf Lodge have a great vibe and the right people, are frighteningly difficult places at which to score tables, and, yes, offer amazing food.
Dinner at The Crow’s Nest starts with Rachelle Hruska and Sean MacPherson swirling about the restaurant. Wait staff in white overalls and the menu, jotted on a piece of brown construction paper, initially give you the sense that they can’t possibly take food seriously here, but just the opposite is true. The ingredients are as local as local gets—littleneck clams, heirloom-tomato spaghetti, fresh-caught Montauk fluke with fingerling potatoes. The fried, stuffed squash blossoms are another must-order—addictive and totally irresistible.
When my pals Jillian Demling and Karen Mulligan, the duo behind the line Pret-à-Surf, sent out a charming invitation to a cocktail party celebrating Byron’s new “private room” on the water at The Surf Lodge, I slipped on a Rebecca Taylor dress and headed to The End. What I didn’t realize was just how insider VIP this soirée was going to be. The newly opened Aussie-inspired restaurant, envisioned by Melbourne-born chef Chris Rendell, is fabulous. The salt-and-pepper squid with chili jam is sensational, and the fish is a traditional local catch—with a kick. Brian McGrory, Highlands Restaurant Group’s co-owner, served a tray of the most delicious lobster rolls I have ever eaten.
Maybe it’s the proximity to the water and being surrounded by salty air and saltier personalities, but Montauk is really hitting the right notes for me right now. You must visit this little slice of heaven.
PS: For this and a variety of other East End happenings, log on to hamptons-magazine.com/calendar.
Follow me on Twitter at @samanthayanks
PHOTOGRAPHY BY CARTER BERG (LAUREN); PATRICKMCMULLAN/PATRICKMCMULLAN.COM (YANKS FAMILY)