What to Eat in Montauk This Summer

Last weekend marked our first trip of the season out to our favorite summer spot — Montauk, the no-longer-sleepy fishing village on the eastern tip of Long Island. We were treated to perfect weather and amazing food, dropping in on old favorites and checking out some new additions to the neighborhood. Here is a run down of some of the best things we ate all weekend:

Soft Shell Crab Tacos at La Brisa

The guys fromTacombi at Fonda Nolita in NYC have set up shop in Montauk for the summer with their new Mexican taqueria, La Brisa — in the space that formerly housed one-season wonder La Bodega, and for many years before that, a Greek diner. Tacos take over the menu here, and of all the varieties we tried — crispy fluke,  grilled chicken, juicy pork, chorizo & eggs — the soft shell crab was hands down the best. Be sure to slather them with the restaurant’s two types of homemade sauces, spicy chipotle and tangy hibiscus. We expect their Caribbean green picnic tables to be packed all summer long with happy diners sipping icy rum-spiked horchatas and Lupita Mexican sodas. To top it off, service is swift — a manager quickly refilled my husband’s mezcal that our toddler had knocked over while reaching for a chip.

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Watermelon Cucumber Lemonade at Sweet ‘tauk

With a stylish new shop in the center of town and a colorful roster of flavors on display, Sweet ‘tauk is another new spot worth stopping into. It was a tough choice deciding between “oh my meyer,” pink rhubarb with vanilla bean and watermelon cucumber — but the latter ultimately won out. Sweet ‘tauk’s lemonade isn’t too sweet at all. Instead it’s light, balanced and refreshing, perfect on a hot beachy day.

 What to Eat in Montauk This Summer

Porgy a la Plancha at South Edison

South Edison never disappoints, with an always-reliable selection of oysters and the best raw bar in town. Their porgy a la plancha is a vision on a plate prepared with maitake mushroom, corn purée, jalapeño and micro ruby radish. Other standouts included olive oil braised baby octopus tacos and fluke sashimi with plum chili jam and smoked seat salt. To drink, my Montauk Mojito with mint and berry puree went down just a little too easy. The check arrives in a cute red tin surrounded by fresh saltwater taffy — which somehow helps to soften the blow.

 What to Eat in Montauk This Summer

Whole Local Fluke at Crow’s Nest

The whole local fluke with pebble fingerlings and arugula is the glaringly obvious entrée choice at this gorgeous lakeside restaurant. Even the oddly delicious amuse bouche –- halved radishes with salty tapenade -– was a treat here. Our black bass crudo with grapefruit, chili and sea salt proved not as exciting as it sounds, but the fantastic grilled octopus with salsa verde warranted a second round, after our son devoured the first dish himself and then enthusiastically declared “More octo!”

 What to Eat in Montauk This Summer

Connecticut Lobster Roll at Red Hook Lobster Pound

Since I’d just eaten their Connecticut roll the previous weekend at their SmorgasBar outpost, I actually opted for the Tuscan roll on this visit — cold lobster dressed in basil vinaigrette. Interesting, but I ended up eyeing my husband’s hot buttery Connecticut roll the entire time, wishing it were mine. Red Hook Lobster shares a space with Sweet Tauk and Joe & Liza’s small batch ice cream (which we didn’t get to sample, but will definitely next time.)

 What to Eat in Montauk This Summer

Getting there:
LIRR to the end of the line, 3 hours from NYC

La Brisa
Address: 752 Montauk Highway
Phone:(631) 668-3883

Sweet ‘tauk
Address: 34 S. Etna Avenue
Phone: (631) 668-5683

South Edison
Address: 17 South Edison Street
Phone: (631) 668-4200

Crow’s Nest
Address: 4 Old West Lake Drive
Phone: (631) 668-2077

Red Hook Lobster Pound (Montauk)
Address: 34 S. Etna Avenue
Phone: (631) 668-5683

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