Montauk Restaurant Review: Summers Selections at Sloppy Tuna

I’ve long thought that Montauk Wednesdays are the East End’s best-kept secret; the Sloppy Tuna’s food may now take that honor.

Sloppy Tuna has long been established as a go-to bar for the partying set, with such promotions as Wipeout Wednesdays (think: world-famous goldfish races), Ladies Night on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and a number of weekend parties and guest DJs. But it was something of a surprise to discover that those looking for a beachfront lunch or dinner experience, complete with expansive views of thewater, will also leave very satisfied.

The food is perfectly “beachy,” simply prepared with fresh ingredients. I arrived at the oceanfront Montauk restaurant on a recent Wednesday, after enjoying an early evening Nancy Atlas concert, complete with Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers on drums.

My party grabbed a corner table on the deck. Though the evening had turned gray, preventing us from taking advantage of what would have been a glorious sunset, I still enjoyed mixing dining with the sound of ocean waves and the thick smell of salt air—a benefit of gray days, in my opinion.

As seemed appropriate, my sister and I started our meal with a round of drinks, detailed on a section of the menu titled “Slopology.” My sister went with a sweet concoction called “The Chum Bucket” and I opted for the restaurant’s version of the margarita, “The Tunarita,” which takes the margarita up a notch with VeeV Açaí Spirit.

Drinks secured, we next ordered appetizers, opting for the Montauk Ceviche and theFrito Misto, at the suggestion of our sever Emma.

The Montauk Ceviche is made with local-caught fluke, fresh lime, avocado, cilantro and red onion, served with blue corn chips. Solid pieces of fluke were partnered with chunks of avocado, making for the perfect pairing with the blue chips.

Calamari, much like bacon, is not something I like to admit that I like. But the Sloppy Tuna’s version of frito misto is lightly fried local calamari with zucchini and shishito peppers, served with two sauces—lemon aioli and marinara. The lemon aioli was a little too thick for me, but I enjoyed the marinara sauce, which was a tomato-based sauce perfect for the lightly breaded calamari.

For entrées, I went with the TST Tuna Salad—sesame seared tuna with hummus, arugula, celery and balsamic dressing. I’m a fan of anything with hummus, and the dish didn’t disappoint. As I quickly realized is the prevailing philosophy at The Sloppy Tuna, the salad didn’t have a lot of added spices. Instead, the chef let the natural flavors of the tuna come through, with just a hint of Asian influences. A thick border of hummus surrounded the entire salad, providing ample opportunities for dipping. Fittingly, the restaurant gets this namesake dish right.

My sister opted for the Watermelon Shrimp, a mixture of local shrimp served with fresh watermelon, feta, mint, balsamic vinegar and red onion. The shrimp was warm, allowing the feta to melt a bit. The watermelon gave the dish a sweet-and-savory taste, wholly infused with the subtle flavor of the mint. The citrus blended well with the shrimp, which was clearly freshly caught, and then prepared to enhance that freshness.

Full, but not overly so (definitely a compliment), we were treated to dessert. The chef surprised us with a dish not yet on the menu—an assortment of fruit, including watermelon, blueberries, mangoes, grilled pineapple and a few sliced of avocado, drizzled with a goat cheese and honey purée. The result was heavenly. A dish light enough that you don’t feel like you’ll have to be rolled out of the restaurant, but sweet enough to qualify as a dessert.

I can only hope it has made it onto the menu by the Wednesday I return…

The Sloppy Tuna is located at 148 S Emerson Ave, Montauk. 631-647-8000. thesloppytuna.com

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