I’ve coined a new term: Daycation—The act of escaping reality for just a few hours. That’s exactly what a Wednesday in Montauk is like. The 40-minute ride from Southampton is devoid of the typical eastbound bumper-to-bumper. The air, the sand, the breeze, the parking situation—it’s all different on The End.
We arrived in Montauk at 5 p.m., giving us ample time to enjoy the hamlet before our Gurney’s Oceanfront Lobster Bake obligation. A beach stroll with some refreshments from the popular Montauk Ice Co. food truck was in order before hitting The Surf Lodge to catch a few songs and a sunset with the Nancy Atlas Band. Dan’s writer Dan Koontz was on keyboard, and does he know how to jam…
You know life is good when you complain about leaving The Surf Lodge to go to a lobster bake. But regrets were soon forgotten, absorbed by “ohhs” and “ahhs” at the thought of mimicking a wedding reception underway at the famed Inn. Girl talk is best served on a cliff with an ocean view.
Steff and I had to wait a bit for our outdoor table, but a wait at Gurney’s isn’t your typical crammed-in-a-singular-vestibule experience. Full of character, the Inn is blissfully chock full of interesting nooks and crannies. We settled on an outdoor spot overlooking the ocean, mesmerized by the perfect barrel of each wave, before wandering back into the inside bar. Bartender Kenny told us that years ago, a Dan’s Papers writer went on a mission to find the best mojito in Montauk, and he eventually settled on the one Kenny created.
The minty drink is one to be tried at a later date, as we were soon shown to our table. Gurney’s extensive list of local wine called, and we both chose the Lieb Cellars Pinot Blanc. Few wines go better with seafood. We both agreed that the wait was well worth it, as the view from Gurney’s outdoor deck never gets old.
The lobster bake is set up buffet-style with plenty of options, even for a land lubber. I approached the lobster chef—I’m not sure if that’s his official title—as he plucked one from its temporary seaweed bed, expertly cutting the claws and tail to allow for easy access to the savory meat. I then perused the other offerings, piling my plate with mussels, salad, corn-on-the-cob and red potatoes.
Comfortably seated with my lobster in the foreground and the ocean just beyond, I approached something bordering on sheer delight. I cracked into the lobster and ate it as it should be eaten—with my hands. With just a hint of butter, all it needed was a little lemon to achieve lobster perfection. The white wine and garlic mussels, too, received rave reviews, though the corn was a little too buttery for my taste.
Spotting swordfish amongst the buffet “extras,” Steff decided to forgo the lobster and enjoyed a plate of the savory, steak-like fish along with a heaping of mixed greens and a few chilled shrimp with cocktail sauce. The grilled swordfish was not overdone, as it often is elsewhere, and was so flavorful that just a squeeze of lemon did the trick. The mesclun greens were fresh and delicately dressed in vinaigrette and the in-shell shrimp were crisp and firm. Remarking that her plate was “the perfect summer dinner,” she nonetheless couldn’t resist a taste of my lobster claw. Wide eyes said it all.
Everything tastes better outdoors—and better still when it’s seafood in a fishing village. Throw in ocean views, a glass of crisp white wine and Calypso on the steel drums and it’s hard to beat a Lobster Bake at Gurney’s. We’ll be making this a Wednesday night tradition!
For more info, visit gurneysinn.com.