Rushing to Ruschmeyer’s
July 20, 2011 | East End Eats
Ben Towill and Phil Winser; a fresh razor clam dish
The dining scene in Montauk has expanded quite a bit since we moved here in late 2009 to begin working on the space that has since become Navy Beach. Last year I spent a good amount of time at Crow’s Nest, eating whatever Chef Jeff (Schwarz) would put on my plate. This year the addition of my good friend Ben Pundole’s reincarnation of Ruschmeyer’s has given me yet another new venue to choose from this summer.
Pundole, together with the Surf Lodge’s Rob McKinley, and the guys—Ben Towill and Phil Winser—who founded Silkstone and run the Fat Radish on the Lower East Side, has succeeded in creating an atmosphere that truly feels like a hip, artsy adult camp. From McKinley’s quirky-chic Jacques Cousteau décor elements to the rotating list of activities—bingo, drum circles, Madewell "Crafternoons"—the mood is anything but serious. That said the philosophy behind the food, beverage and hospitality is not something that any of the partners take lightly.
After sitting down with Towill and executive chef Greg McCarty (Nobu 57, Dune, Beach Street Sandwiches) to discuss the philosophy behind the food and beverage elements of the project, it was easy to see why the group works so well together—and how they were able to bring the project to fruition so quickly by Memorial Day weekend.
Towill explained that the philosophy that Silkstone brought to the table is about creating simple, honest cooking and seamless service with integrity that makes people want to come back and become regulars. Towill and McCarty both stressed that they were not trying to do anything too “cheffy” and that the quality of the local products—from fish to honey to baby carrots—is meant to stand out. McCarty believes that a lot of the food out there these days is “needlessly cluttered,” and that in order for the dishes to come out tasting like what you might eat at home (though elevated to another level) “the seasoning levels have to be perfect.” I’m not sure that we all eat like these guys do at home, but that’s not to say that we shouldn’t. If only we all knew how!
It was quite evident that Towill, Winser and McCarty share a passion for quality and attention to detail that would compliment the drive and love for hospitality that I know Pundole has cultivated through the last decade or so working for Ian Schrager and Morgans Hotel Group. It is nice to have a new destination in the neighborhood, and the fact that the people behind it are all really nice and intelligent doesn’t hurt either.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ADRIAN GAUT (FOOD); JOE TERMINI (TOWILL)