(This article first appeared in the August 9, 2017 issue of The Independent Newspaper)
It’s another warm, summer night as the sun begins to set over Lake Montauk. Coast Kitchen at Montauk Yacht Club is surprisingly quiet at 6 PM on a Friday, but with the crowded streets in town it’s a welcome change of atmosphere. As I sit in the white wicker chair overlooking the pool and deck area, I inhale the salty air flowing from the outside — indicative of The End.
Before beginning a long-awaited evening of fresh catches I order a Rosie from the cocktail menu — cucumber vodka, watermelon, Aperol, crisp white wine, and fresh mint, each sip lingering on my palate like dew on fresh morning grass.
First course, the seafood platter. A salty spread of Blue Point oysters, Little Neck clams, peel and eat shrimp, one pound of king crab claws, with horseradish mignonette, onions pickled in red wine vinegar, cocktail sauce, and lemon on the side. As I learned the proper way to eat a crab claw (break it apart like a wish bone, dip and eat), my mouth filled with freshness. The shrimp was thick and meaty, likely one of the thickest shrimps I had eaten on Long Island, as I dipped it in the delectably spicy horseradish sauce.
Up next was the Montauk cioppino — clams, shrimp, squid, market fish, and mussels all swimming in a light tomato broth, drizzled with garlic aioli. Minus the market fish, which was underwhelming, the tastes and textures of this dish was exquisitely executed. Unlike the seafood platter, the shrimp in this dish were smaller to better scoop up. The broth opened up the flavors individually while seamlessly blending them together. A touch of the aioli sauce completed each spoonful with a hint of garlic. Save the bread for last, as dipping does wonders after it’s had the chance to soak in each ingredient.
Finally, the four-pound lobster with drawn butter and lemon. Cut, dip, drizzle, repeat. On the sides, a cauliflower-creamed spinach, roasted cremini mushrooms, and parmesan mashed potatoes, all three served in cast iron pots, ideal for sharing. Guests would be remiss to leave out the parmesan potatoes as part of their order. With crunchy fries on top, each mouthwatering forkful is in anticipation of the next.
No meal would be complete without dessert. A chocolate croissant bread pudding is served in a cast iron pot with dark chocolate pearls on top, whipped cream, and salted caramel ice cream. In addition, a key lime pie with a raspberry puree, whipped cream, lime garnish, and raspberry sorbet on the side is a wonderful choice. The sorbet is a welcome tie-in to the lime richness of the pie and the overall plate, an ideal end to a satisfying meal.
A consistent piece throughout the dishes were florals, edible of course. Whether you decide to eat them or simply admire their colorful beauty (I admit, I tried a few), it’s a unique touch to the restaurant.
As the restaurant began to fill up a bit more it still retained an undisturbed essence, which can likely be attributed to its off-the-main-road location.
With a menu featuring a variety of items, not just the seafood I eagerly devoured, Montauk Yacht Club’s Coast Kitchen will be serving their summer menu through the end of September.
Coast Kitchen is located at 32 Star Island Road. Call 631-668-3100 for reservations.