Saturday, August 21, 2010

Montauk It's Not The Hamptons

There is a life style that some of us crazy, busy, working people still crave on our weekends.  A quiet, on the DL, what I like to call 5 Star rugged, kind of place.  Welcome to Montauk.  Yes it’s far and yes its ok if you don’t want to travel “out there.”  We aren’t looking for lots of cars, or stores, or traffic or dressing up to run to Citarella’s.  We have 25-year old Land Cruisers (although the Jags, Porsches and Mercedes seem to be multiplying) and a Volkswagen bus or two, pink taxis and our pharmacy is more like a 5 and dime than the first floor of Saks. Montauk has been labeled “ The end “ but I seem to prefer “ The beginning “.

So if you want to check it out, here are a few great places but please, calm down before you travel east of Hither Hills, Montauk is a mind-set and it is chill.

Start your day at the Montauk Bake shop (rivals any bakery in the city), just sit and watch as the people walk by- some just waking up and some just coming off the beach after a long night. If you are looking for what is making Montauk explode there is no better place to start then Joni’s where the breakfast / lunch is second to none, all healthy and on any given day you will be sitting next to Julianne Moore and Paul Simon.

After consuming your breakfast its time for the beach and here is where the town starts to shine since getting to the beach and parking is so easy (other then Ditch Plains where they are still handing out $125.00 parking tickets – Insiders tip: if you want to spend the day at ditch and watch the surfers see the manager at the East Deck motel and she will gladly take $15.00 from you and let you park there). Every other beach is easy access on and off- not a hassle to be had.

So you have chilled on the beach and now you are wondering where you are going for dinner. This is not the town your parents remember anymore. Montauk has now become the new “ it “ place for foodies with a wide variety of new owners (mostly the boys from the Meatpacking district) and new restaurants that are starting to draw a lot of praise and attention. Below are just some of the spots that are changing the Montauk landscape.

Best Sunset spots:

Navy Beach: for hanging, laying on big beds and martinis (stay for dinner at the bar and have the Wedge salad, a burger (the burger is fantastic) and parmesan fries).  This is best shared by two. And make sure you get there early since it is quite the happening place.

Duryea’s: for steamers and lobster (BYOB and openers) and an amazing view of the bay.

The Inlet by the airport (yes, Montauk does have an airport) roof deck with views of the Water and Gosman’s.  Sushi is just ok but it’s all about the cocktails.

East by Northeast:  good for drinks and apps only and a fantastic view of the water

Dinner:  There are so many amazing restaurants with such a variety of things to eat its difficult to explain but here goes…

Dave’s Grill:  the mussels are off the chain.  Everything there is good but expensive.  It’s a great night out and you’ll pay for it.  (Reservations can be tricky since they are on a same day basis)

South Edison:  Fun mix menu.  The spicy tuna chulupa is a must have and the corn soup presentation is like nothing I’ve ever seen.  The menu is eclectic and the chef is a young guy from NYC that has had experience in some good places and it tastes it.  Home made sorbet including fresh peach and ginger (a personal favorite).  Sit family style without reservations, meet great people and get ready to talk loud!

Harvest:  Single best, roasted chicken I’ve ever had. It is just perfection with garlic mashed potatoes and veggies.  It’s a pretty restaurant, very comfortable warm friendly people and family style dining to boot

Clam and Chowder house:  This is as local as it gets but some people will tell you that the sushi (right off the boat) is as good as any they have had and the food is outstanding. The bar scene is fun with great views of the marina. If your stress level here is still high it could be time for a major life-change.

The Hideaway: Not easy to find but people swear the best fish tacos on the planet and well worth the trip just for the scene itself and when there is a full moon out against the water its amazing.

Night Life:

Sole East:  Early hangout (pre dinner) stay for dinner, restaurant is beautiful, limited menu all fresh for the day food (a very South beach kind of mood has taken over Sole East with the kids from the city laying on the day beds and on Saturday nights around 7:30 you can hear Rufus Wainright, Pete Yorn and Norah Jones just playing free shows there unannounced all sponsored by Bing with free cocktails)

Surf Lodge:  late night, dancing, live music, fire pit, young crowd (place gets unbelievably crowded so get there early and hang out on the deck with everybody overlooking the bay and take the whole scene in)

Memory Motel (The place the Rolling Stones made famous) Late, late night, who knows…

Nicks on the beach: shorts and flip-flops required.  On the beach, bring a sweatshirt and just listen to the live music and the kick back atmosphere.

Montauk Yacht Club: weekends at the Yacht club have become quite the scene with live music on Saturday afternoons and a really good lunch menu. Dinner at the new Robin Haas restaurant and the late night gatherings there have even made page 6 on a number of occasions.

For those of you who aren’t into the beach during the day there are a lot of other things to do around town. Rent bikes, head out to the lighthouse loop. So amazing and beautiful.

Ride horses on the beach from Deep Hollow Stables, hike the cliffs at Shadmoor State park. Hula-hoop at Love Yoga (quite the workout) next to Joni’s.  Buy fresh local produce, olive oil and bread on Thursdays in the town circle by the gazebo.  Buy a CD at the Bakery of the boys that work there (its pretty good actually).

Most of all remember this is NOT THE HAMPTON’S.  Please be chill, be respectful, be quiet, no need for your Porsche or Bentley, leave the Jimmy Choo’s back in East Hampton and slip on your Havaiana’s.
Thanks Steven Pfeffer who I like to call Mr. Montauk for this guest post.
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