July 28, 2011
There is no shortage of fresh seafood when it comes to dining out in the Hamptons. Over the last few years raw bars, sushi and ceviche have become increasingly popular on menus across the East End. Here are my recommendations for the season.
Newcomer Nobu at Capri—a collaboration between restaurateur Richie Notar, Chef Nobu Matsuhisa and hoteliers David Edelstein, Jackie Mansfield, and Steven Kamali—has been packed since it opened in late May. The menu offers some of Matsuhisa’s signature Nobu menu items as well as some crafted specially for the new location.
At its new One Ocean Road location, Almond offers a raw bar tower selection of oysters, littleneck clams, shrimp, lobster, scallop crudo, curried mussel cocktail and octopus.
Phao, sister restaurant to the ever-popular Sen, added a selection of sushi rolls to its Thai menu due to a growing demand from guests. The sushi menu includes the signature Phao rollmade with eel and avocado topped with fresh slices of mango and served with ginger-mango sauce.
From East Hampton to Montauk
East Hampton’s Turtle Crossing recently added a lighter touch to its new menu with a local seafood ceviche with avocado citrus cilantro and ricotta crostini. Banzai Burger, a new sushi and burger joint located on the stretch between Amagansett and Montauk, serves up fresh sushi made by Chef Isao Yoshimura, who catches much of the fish himself for daily specials including local fluke and black sea bass. The ceviche craze took flight in Montauk last season when Navy Beach opened with a halibut ceviche and scallop tiradito on its menu. This year it includes a tuna sashimi salad as well as salmon tartare. East by Northeast now offers a salmon ceviche in addition to its raw bar tower selections. Both the raw and baked oysters are popular at the Montauk Yacht Club’s Gulf Coast Kitchen, which also serves ceviche made with the catch of the day. South Edison Chef Todd Mitgang, who hails from Crave Ceviche Bar and Kittichai in Manhattan, serves up a large selection of shellfish at the raw bar, as well as a fluke sashimi served with chili jam, kaffir lime leaf and micro cilantro.
July 23, 2011
Colin Appiah holding U'luvka vodka
With two British chefs manning the kitchen at the revamped Ruschmeyer’s, it’s no wonder that fellow Brit Colin Appiah was tapped to lend a hand behind the hotspot’s bar. This summer Appiah has been bopping between his U.K. home and the Montauk hotel to assist with the restaurant’s cocktail program and shill samples of U’luvka, an ultra-premium sipping vodka for which Appiah is a brand ambassador.
|The Electric Eel cocktail|
Once the preferred vodka of the Royal Polish Court, U’luvka is taking Montauk by storm with its award-winning blend of wheat, rye and barley. And while sipping vodkas aren’t as much of a trend in Montauk as they are in Poland, party-goers at Ruschmeyer’s can’t seem to get enough of U’luvka.
Appiah describes the fans of the spirit as “anyone that appreciates the finer things in life [and] wants to stand out from the norm.” Even the bottle itself is raising the bar, literally and figuratively, with its crooked teardrop-shape and lanky neck. “People working at bars and restaurants find it really easy to work with because it swings like a pendulum,” said Appiah.
What Appiah does with what’s inside the bottle is what really has Montauk buzzing, though. At the moment, two of his most popular cocktails at Ruschmeyer’s are the Bellafonte Margarita and The Electric Eel. Taking its name from the hotel’s retro-themed discoteque, The Electric Eel is Appiah’s favorite libation and is made with sage, pineapple, fresh lime and, of course, U’luvka. Head to Ruschmeyer’s and taste Appiah’s citrus-infused concotion for a little liquid courage before hitting the dance floor. 161 Second House Road, Montauk, 668-2877
July 23, 2011
This smooth cocktail was a winner at the 2011 BB&T Charleston Wine and Food Festival. Belgium-born mixologist Boris Van Dyck concocted the Ginger Apple Mojito using Ron Abuelo Añejo, an aged rum with notes of toasted coconut, mocha and vanilla.
Ginger Apple Mojito
2 tsp. brown sugar, divided
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
10 mint leaves
1 1/2 ounces Ron Abuelo Añejo rum
3 ounces spiced apple cider
1 1/2 ounces ginger beer
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Muddle one teaspoon of brown sugar with lime juice and mint in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, rum, and cider and shake vigorously before adding ginger beer. To serve, rim a highball glass with lime juice, remaining brown sugar and nutmeg. Add mixture to the glass and garnish with an apple peel twirl and a mint sprig.
JRN Wines and Spirits, 74 Montauk Hwy., East Hampton, 324-1230
July 21, 2011
Slings hail from the days of flips and toddies and usually start with a base of gin, citrus and sugar or sweet liqueur. This fizzy Martin Miller’s Gin masterpiece is perfect for sipping on a crisp summer night.
Stork Club Sling
2 ounces Martin Miller’s Westbourne Gin
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1/2 ounce Benedictine
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1 egg white
1/4 ounce Cherry Heering liqueur
Mix together gin, simple syrup, Benedictine and lemon juice and whip in egg white. Pour into a fizz glass and top with soda water and Cherry Heering.
Atlantic Wines and Liquor, 517 Montauk Hwy., Amagansett, 264-6330
July 20, 2011
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)