Friday, May 23, 2014

A 2-Step Plan to Montauk: Montauk Brewing Company and Swallow East, Montauk, NY

By now you know how us Bergers prefer to have more than just one stop on a dining adventure.  A recent trip to Montauk was no different.  Step 1 - Brewery. Step 2 - Dinner. Try it, you'll like it.

Step 1: Montauk Brewing Company
Before dinner, it was beer time.  Montauk Brewing Company is a 2-year old brewery founded by three local guys who according to their website are "lifelong the no frills good life."   Pull up to their tasting room/house and you can feel the vibe right away.  Seating options include picnic tables outside and bar stools inside.  (Note to parents: the brewery is directly across from a playground so there's even a chance that some kids could hang on the playground while you hang at those picnic tables.)

JB and I split a tasting of 4 samples for $8.  Our favorite was the Arrowead Red Irish Ale.  This went down easy, that half pint was gone before we knew it.  I started to rethink this splitting thing.  The IPA was OK, still good, but miles away from the Arrowhead.  JB liked the Stout.  And we both loved the collectible 5oz. glass that comes with each tasting.  We may have taken more than one home.

Bonus: You don't have go all the way to Montauk to try to these brews.  They are selling in grocery stores and restaurants all across Long Island.  See their website to grab some for yourself.

62 South Erie Avenue
Montauk, NY

Step 2: Swallow East
Those of you who have seen the list, know that Swallow East was on it.  I wasn't going to Montauk and not crossing this off.  All that I really knew about Swallow East was that it was a small plates style restaurant and that it was a must go.  I trusted my sources and they turned out to be spot on.

The restaurant sits in a marina just before Gosman's Dock.  You don't even realize what a pretty spot it is until you get inside.  We parked ourselves next to the windows about 5 feet from deep water in the very bright and sunny whitewashed dining room.  They also dedicate a lot of space for the bar scene.  I'd like to come back on a busy Saturday in summer sans kids and imbibe on their deck.  But this was an eating visit, although I did have two glasses of rose to help pretend like it was summer.

The menu was daunting, really everything looked delicious.  And as we sat and saw other people's food come out, we kept noting "oh that would have been a good choice."  With the help of our waitress we settled of some of our favorites and some of hers.

First Sharing Course:
- Lobster Roll: Nothing beats fresh Montauk lobster (well maybe Maine lobster, but that's another story).  This celery-free (Yeah!) light mayo concoction hit the spot.  I'd recommend a double order and perhaps a little extra butter.
- Shrimp Tacos: Swallow East offers 5 different kinds of tacos - shrimp, fish, chicken, veggie and clam.  It was the tomato, red onion and chipotle mayo that pulled us in.  Two to an order made for easy sharing, a tiny bit dry, but still very good.

Second Sharing Course:
- Shrimp with Grits: Our favorite course by far.  Shrimp, chorizo, tomato and grits -- just as good as any I've had in New Orleans.
- Orzo Mac & Cheese: The biggest disappointment dish came in a mini Le Creuset-like vessel which gave us high hopes.  I did like it but JB could not stand the asiago parmesan cream sauce that covered the orzo, peas and bacon.  Oh well.  A restaurant can have one miss.

Boys Course:
- Sliders and Fries: Yeah we did the double order here.  These fries should be at the top of any best fries list in the Hamptons.

- Key Lime Pie: I couldn't resist my favorite dessert of all time.  I have to say that their version was pretty decent.  Not Key-West transporting but for Montauk, definitely a keeper.

474 W. Lake Drive
Montauk, NY

Have any other 2-step plans for us?  Tell us your faves and we'll go. You can even come, too.

Until our next Berger,

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