Food on the eastern end of Long Island

astorWe have been out east for the majority of July and August.  There are many pros but when there are pros there are always a few cons.  The number one disappointment out here that I have never been able to understand is why the restaurant food is so bad.  Not only is the food mediocre but the management of most places is questionable as well.  I do realize that it is hard having a short term staff come in for only a few months at most or perhaps finding quality people but it still baffles me.

There is a new place out in Montauk we tried the other night because as much as I do love cooking it is nice to take a break now and then.  Arbor is the newest addition to Montauk taking over an old building and renovating it with a whole new look, menu and name.  The place is really beautiful.  They did a great job.  Really modern, great lighting, beautiful wood and lighting fixtures including a massive glass wine cellar.

breadWe sat outside and waited quite awhile for someone to come by and offer us a drink.  The waitstaff was all chatting in the restaurant.  The place wasn’t full yet.  We finally got some attention and were given a bread basket and olive oil.  A nice touch.

oystersI had a hard time with the menu.  We went with the salmon tartare (they were out of the tuna) and the oysters to start.  The salmon was meh.  The oysters were local which is always nice.

burrataThe burrata was laden with truffle oil and ground pistachios.  Super heavy.

fishOur main was the fish of the night and that was tasteless.  We couldn’t even eat it.  We left and went to the local ice cream haunt for dessert.

tomatoI just don’t get it.  Someone spent a lot of cash on renovating the restaurant.  The dishes are not inexpensive.  Don’t you want to build a loyal following?  Why is it so hard to make good food out here?  Look at these amazing tomatoes.  Why can’t people come up with seasonal meals with all this beautiful produce.  Why can’t the owners of these places go to the city and find people who are up and coming chefs and give them an opportunity to take over the place and shine for 3-4 months?  Have a rotating chef who is looking to make a name for themselves?

Bottom line, there are only a handful of places I enjoy out here.  Hampton Chutney, Clam Bar, La Fondita and a few things (hamburger and chicken wings) at Rowdy Hall…and of course Jacks coffee.  All of them are pretty down and dirty.  You know what you are getting, no surprises.

Good news is I really do enjoy cooking.

Comments (Archived):

  1. kirklove

    The Hamptons are not my jawn. Lili digs it though. So we go out a few times a season. This summer has been some of the lamest most mediocre dining I’ve ever experienced there.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It’s ridiculous when there is a huge amount of talent a few hours away

  2. Tracey Jackson

    I have to fess up I think this summer even Jack has dropped the ball out here. I used to make pilgrimages to Amagansett for it, now I’ve become addicted to SagTown. You left out the traffic!! Took me an a half hour to find a place to park yesterday for one stop.

    1. Gotham Gal

      yes…the traffic is insane!!!

  3. pointsnfigures

    No competition.

  4. awaldstein

    Odd as people carry their habits and pleasures and spending habits with them.I know that some of Lianna’s customers demanded that local places carry her beverages and they did.

  5. Laura Yecies

    I like Harvest on fort pond, Lunch/Lobster Roll for a simple lobster or steamers (and berry pie) and Felice’s for Fra Diavola. I guess my expectations out here are not too high – if I can get some good fish and a crisp sauvignon blanc i’m happy though we’re only here for a week.

    1. Gotham Gal

      I totally acknowledge that I am not an easy mouth to please.

      1. Laura Yecies

        So much for lowering expectations – just had a melt in your mouth delicious Fluke over zucchini in olive oil and garlic (instead of pasta) at Felice’s in Amagansett – highly recommend. Four of us had the fluke and loved it – simple preparation but they literally got the fish off the boat at 4 according to the waiter and it tasted that fresh, the others enjoyed the tasty (though less special) chicken parm, gnocchi a la vodka and chicken marsala. Service was reasonably quick compared to most places out here. Not creative or inventive but surprisingly good dinner for out here.