Restaurant Review: Westlake Fish House

Restaurant Review: Westlake Fish House

Tucked away in the Westlake Marina is restaurant gem Westlake Fish House. Inside, the dining room walls are painted nautical white and blue. The tabletops are a beautifully distressed copper. The aesthetic is “refined rustic”—but not pretentious. Anything but that. In a way, the décor mimics the menu, which doesn’t mess with the star of the show: fresh seafood.

The local fluke ceviche has been called “perfect.” You know you’re eating fish, but the flavor isn’t fish-y. There’s just the right amount of heat from the scallions and red onion, while the citrus lime flavor doesn’t overpower the sweetness of the fluke.

A perfect counterpoint to the ceviche is the fried broccoli. The tempura-battered florets are accompanied by a sweet and spicy chili sauce that pairs well with the muted taste of the vegetable. Round out the first course with Montauk Pearls, oysters on the half shell of the local variety: “a nice, fresh taste of the bay in bivalve form.”

Fried broccoli with sweet and sour dipping sauce. Photo: Emily Smith Gilbert

If you like beer, order a pint of crisp Shipyard Monkey Fist IPA or a SweetWater 420 Extra Pale Ale: mild, lightly bitter, “a very drinkable summer beer.”

Or…you could listen to Ira, a server now in his fourth summer working at Westlake, who recommends the Bermuda Triangle cocktail. It’s a dangerous (but delicious!) drink: 18 ounces, three Diplomático rums (anejo, plato reserve and exclusive reserve) infused with sugar cane, pineapple, orange, and banana liquor, and served in a humongous glass.

Bermuda Triangle. Photo: Emily Smith Gilbert

Bermuda Triangle. Photo: Emily Smith Gilbert

“All you need are two,” Ira says, “but drink one and you’ll be well on your way.” Where to? Someplace delightful, of course.

The relaxed feelings engendered by all that rum are enhanced by the live music. Get a table on the porch and enjoy the sea breeze while a band plays tunes from the gravel patio featuring comfy chairs, as well as ring toss and a corn hole setup.

Westlake is known for its sushi, and for good reason. Made from off-the-boat, directly-to-the-kitchen fish, it doesn’t get any better. Try the spicy tuna roll, a classic, certainly, but a roll that can easily be ruined by too much mayonnaise. Not at Westlake. “I thought I’d had a good spicy tuna roll, but this—this is amazing,” was overheard from diners at a nearby table. The preparation puts the fish front and center. Rather than tasting spicy mayo, you get hit with the briny fish essence of the tuna first, and the heat from the mayo follows, mixing with the sweet sushi rice. Other recommended rolls are Rough Riders (shrimp tempura, cucumber, spicy lobster salad, seared tuna) and yellowtail.

Or try the lobster roll—the one that comes in a bun. “I’ve never seen one get sent back,” Ira says. It’s served unadorned: lobster salad, potato roll, lightly dressed arugula on the side. The first clue that the roll is exceptional is the presence of diced bell pepper, red onions and fresh-chopped dill. The pepper adds a great crunchy texture, while the onions breathe dimension into the lobster. The sharpness of the arugula cuts the richness of the shellfish nicely. It’s easy to see why this dish never gets sent back.

For dessert, get the lemon curd with blueberries and whipped cream in a crispy filo pastry shell that cracks when you push your fork through it. The creamy lemon curd pools with the fresh whipped cream, and the sweet blueberries are a wonderful complement to the tartness of the custard. A perfect finish to a delicious dinner.

Lemon curd and blueberries with whip cream. Photo: Emily Smith Gilbert

Lemon curd and blueberries with whip cream. Photo: Emily Smith Gilbert

You can sample delicious food from Westlake Fish House at Dan’s ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk on July 30. Of the event, Westlake Chef Larry Kolar says he’s most looking forward to “seeing how other local chefs are using local ingredients.” So are we!

Westlake Fish House, 352 Westlake Drive, Montauk. 631-668-FISH (3474) westlakefishhouse.com

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