541 East Lake Drive, Montauk, Long Island
about $200 for five, with several drinks, without tip
The weather in Montauk was tentative the entire weekend we were there. The sun came out during our breakfasts and then hide while we got ready for the beach, only to come out again when we walked on the sand. Luckily for us, it never rained during the day and we were able to sunbathe, get in the water and drink cold beers on the beach.
When we walked in Inlet Seafood Restaurant, we were two people less in our group and another two were heading back to the city. It was a gray Sunday afternoon and the restaurant was pretty tame; people must have left Montauk early to beat the slow traffic. We were seated on the deck outside with a view of its namesake, a narrow strip of land jutting from where the boats were docked. The restaurant is owned by local fishermen who also work at the next door packing facility. From there, the catch is brought to Hunts Point in the Bronx and sold. For us who don’t wake up before the sun rises, some of the goods are cooked at the restaurant.
After I confirmed that there was at least one Asian person behind the sushi counter, I ordered the octopus sashimi with ponzu sauce with my ceviche wonton “sandwich.” I also ordered six pieces of sashimi from their daily catch selection: tuna, salmon and porgy. The fish wasn’t sublime, but they were as fresh as any affordable sashimi pieces in Manhattan.
My companions’ meals were so much better. A cioppino was a bowl of happiness with white fish, clams, mussels and squid in a saffron broth flavored with a little spice. A grilled tomato bread was included for dipping. Another had a well-prepared roasted monkfish. The bowl of mussels with fresh herbs was also satisfying especially with an order of the extra bread. A Cajun-style fluke taco was served in the hard shell kind and disappointed my friend, but the burrito sure made up for it–it was the size of my arm served with chunky guacamole. A salad of beautiful heirloom tomatoes had the perfect summer touch of soft stalks and leaves.
The weather may have been tentative, but there was nothing on the Inlet Seafood Restaurant menu that was.