Montauk Restaurant Review: Byron

Byron is the restaurant contained within Montauk’s pop culture hub, The Surf Lodge on Fort Pond. According to their website (surflodge.com), “Australian Executive Chef Chris Rendell offers a simple, clean, fresh, local and organic market-driven menu with a focus on daily caught seafood… Byron was inspired by the culture and lifestyle of Byron Bay, one of Australia’s most authentic surf towns… paying tribute to some of the most spectacular beaches, sunsets and coastline which reminds us of the beauty of Montauk!” Sounds good.

On the night we dined there, the sound and enthusiasm of the Nancy Atlas Project projected from the outer deck to where we were seated (just off the dining room) and all across Fort Pond. It was a fun atmosphere. The look of the dining areas is pared-down and cozy. Kitchen towels serve as napkins and the ceiling lights’ shades are wicker. Hostesses are decked out in floral sundresses, while servers wear neat shirts and swim trunks or neon skirts. Many young families were among the revelers seated at white picnic table-like set-ups.

Seating is up-close and personal around the edge of the deck. We heard our nearest diner’s every opinion on Byron’s menu, New York restaurants, her job at Whitehall in New York, Harry Potter and American Spirit cigarettes, as well as her insightful summation, “Life is so important to me.”

We were new to Byron, but met some old friends on the wine list—a Herman J. Weiner Riesling and some Wölffer wines—but I opted for a Montauk Storm of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, fresh ginger, homemade ginger beer and a lime wedge. It had a little bite to it—like if gingerbread men gave hickies.

My husband ordered his standard Gin Martini straight up. Served with three large olives, he pronounced it “good.”

I started with a ripe and nicely balanced sweet/salty Watermelon Salad that featured lemon-marinated feta, basil seeds and Good Water Farm greens.

Our bubbly server had the trilly voice of actress Leslie Mann and a great attitude. She was fast and efficient.

Husband considered the coconut crab soup of soba noodles, Thai basil, bean sprouts and crispy shallots but instead went with the Avocado and Seaweed Salad to start. He found its avocado dressing “luscious,” but overall this mix of green beans, piquillo peppers, sesame seeds mellow, rather bland.

I went with the Byron Lobster Roll as my entrée. It’s served on a squishy, split roll with a pickle spear and a side of French fries. Pretty standard fare. The lobster salad had a mild onion flavor note, it worked. The ketchup was just right—Sir Kensington’s.

The burger special called but Husband chose to have the Black Pepper Crusted Chilled Tuna with red onion-Worcestershire dressing and smashed avocado salad. His request for a suggested wine pairing for his tuna was met with an absolutely sincere recommendation of Sancerre. To which he said, “Absolutely!”

He found this entrée also overly mild.

Nonetheless, when our server picked up our dinner plates, she said,

“My dad would say that you’re in the clean plate club.”

I immediately liked her dad and thought about putting something in her tip for the guy.

Dessert options included a lemon custard pie, a dark chocolate brownie, ricotta cheesecake, sorbets and ice creams but we’d had enough for one evening.

We moved closer to the live music and enjoyed the cool night air.

Byron, The Surf Lodge, 183 Edgemere Street, Montauk, 631-483-5037, surflodge.com

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