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The sesame pepper seared tuna entree at Coast Grill
The view of the Cowfish from the water
The pleasing plating of the crab and hearts of palm at Beacon
Gurney’s vegan chocolate mousse garnished with citrus
Dine on the sand at Navy Beach.
Though the Hamptons is surrounded by water, only a handful of restaurants actually offer dinner with a panoramic view. Here are five seaside eateries that are easy on the eyes and pleasing to the palate.
Cristina Cuomo and Beth Landman | Photo: Courtesy Images | June 26, 2013
Waterfront dining in Southampton is virtually impossible unless you get a permit to have a beach barbecue or drive on the beach with a picnic basket in tow. Luckily, there’s one restaurant where you can dine and catch a waterside sunset: The Coast Grill (1109 Noyac Road, 631.283.2277, thecoastgrill.com), a best-kept secret worth revealing.
Nestled on Wooley Pond and the Peconic Bay and adjacent to the Peconic Marina, The Coast Grill serves up some of the freshest seafood in the Hamptons. Peconic Pride oysters, served with a tangy mignonette, get a rousing kick when paired with Coast’s frozen coconut mint mojito (is there a more delectable aphrodisiac than rum with oysters?). Meanwhile, the restaurant’s rotating fresh fish selections—ranging from halibut to sea bass—and local vegetables (which chef-owner Brian Cheewing and his wife and co-owner Stacey Phillips go to great lengths to ensure are the freshest around) attract crowds night after night, as do signature dishes like pan-seared tuna served cold with soba noodles and Thai-spiced mussels in a red coconut curry fumé.
Even North Fork foodies have gotten wind of Coast’s raw bar and nightly food and drink specials—including a daily happy hour from 5 to 6pm that includes a $27 prix fixe menu from Thursday to Sunday, and Monday’s Lobster Night, with a two-course lobster dinner for just $35—and are happily making the pilgrimage.
The bar at Coast Grill is a scene all its own. Resident bartender Mark Carlson has seen more than his share of boaters and boozers in his four years, and finds that, even in Southampton, the rye-based Manhattan is the drink of choice, and is often served with polenta-fried Buffalo-style rock shrimp laced with chives and served with a lip-smackingly good blue cheese dipping sauce.
Coast’s desserts also don’t disappoint. The sharable CG salty caramel ice cream sundae (with warm caramel sauce and chopped candied walnuts) and the mixed seasonal berries with fresh whipped cream make for a happy culinary ending.
Dave Hersh sits back like a captain in command as he rides the boat that takes diners between his original island-inspired restaurant, Rumba, and his newer spot, Cowfish (a reference to a meat-and-seafood hybrid, not the bovine-faced aquatic creature).
Leave the reggae and rum punch behind as you enter the Nantucket vibe of Cowfish (258 E. Montauk Highway, Hampton Bays, 631.594.3868, cowfishrestaurant.com), with its green lawn and large picture windows that frame the Shinnecock Canal. The food is surprisingly ambitious. The North Fork Salad is a mashup of Brussels sprout leaves, dried berries, Manchego cheese, macadamia nuts and sugared bacon. Scallops are prepared in a white wine reduction with corn, basil and prosciutto, and served over jasmine rice. And mahi-mahi is cumin-encrusted and dressed with tasso hollandaise and chipotle oil. Save room for the iron skillet cookie—vanilla ice cream melted over warm chocolate-chip cookie dough.
Cowfish now offers a Monday night “Lobster on the Lawn,” which features surf and turf, a grand buffet and live music, all for $50 per person. “It’s all blues and views,” says Hersh.
Perched a flight above the Sag Harbor Cove, Beacon (8 W. Water St., Sag Harbor, 631.725.7088, beaconsagharbor.com) has been a favorite for sunset watchers since it opened 15 years ago. Even on a rainy night, this eatery’s bird’s-eye view is awe-inspiring. Owned by David Loewenberg, whose empire includes Red Bar, Little Red, Fresno and The Bell & Anchor, Beacon’s menu runs the gamut from local catch encased in fish tacos to grilled Prime New York strip.
Start with tuna tartare (a Beacon signature since day one) spiked with whole grain mustard and curry paste, or maybe a chopped salad of romaine and radicchio with a Thai twist, thanks to crispy shrimp and a peanut-ginger dressing.
For an entree, choose from among pan-seared black bass that tastes as if it was caught just hours earlier; grilled salmon accompanied by forbidden black rice that adds a delightful textural and visual contrast; and pork chop Milanese, a luxurious dish elevated with oven-roasted tomatoes, caramelized onion, Parmigiano-Reggiano and a creamy truffle vinaigrette.
Beacon has a no-reservations policy, so there’s often a wait, but diners don’t seem to mind grabbing a drink (particularly a Rubyrita, made with fresh blood orange juice) while they wait, taking in the scenery.
Gurney’s Sea Grille
There’s no better sea vista than the one afforded by Gurney’s (290 Old Montauk Highway, 631.668.2345, gurneysinn.com). The legendary resort and spa opened in Montauk back in the 1920s, and recently underwent a massive face-lift, including an outdoor area called the “Sea Deck” that’s been redone in mahogany with chic new furnishings.
The restaurant, which sits oceanfront, has also kept up with the times cuisinewise: Executive Sous Chef Michael Oransky studied at the Kushi Institute to learn how to prepare macrobiotic dishes and add healthy options to the menu. Now, in addition to longtime favorites like roasted Long Island duck, bouillabaisse and succulent lobster salad (which arrives spilling over a large ripe tomato), there’s a quinoa salad and soba noodle stir-fry.
Sunset is always a great time to dine on the water, so the restaurant makes the most of it by offering a $28 prix fixe from 5:30 to 7:30pm. There’s also a new outdoor area for drinks called the Moët & Chandon Aqua Lounge, complete with a fire pit and, of course, an ocean breeze.
Dinner is served literally on the beach at this popular spot overlooking Montauk’s Fort Pond Bay. Picnic tables and lounge chairs with blue and white umbrellas sit in the sand with a view of the harbor that was once home to naval ships. Inside, Navy Beach (16 Navy Road, 631.668.6868, navybeach.com) is crisp and nautical with shadow boxes containing vintage bathing suits and swim caps from the ’50s. But don’t worry—even indoors, you won’t miss the water: Windows are panoramic.
Try the superlative Navy burger topped with bacon-onion marmalade, cheddar cheese and housemade pickles, or the buttermilk fried chicken. If Montauk screams “seafood” to you, check out the calamari salad with endive, frisée and chili-garlic sauce, the daily whole fish or the new lobster and clambake served in a shiny silver bucket.
If gin and tonic is your libation of choice, shimmy over to the antique bar that whips up three versions of the cocktail. Apart from the classic, there’s a cucumber rendition made with Hendrick’s, tonic and celery bitters, as well as a grapefruit interpretation mixing Oxley gin with tonic and grapefruit bitters.
The weekend of July 13-14, Navy Beach will host a two-day beach-and-boat celebration in honor of Bastille Day.