Gosman’s has long been synonymous with Montauk. I ventured out to the main restaurant as a kid a few times—the deliciously illegal task of throwing French fries at seagulls never seemed to lose its appeal—but I had not sampled the notoriously fresh, local fare since new chef Matt Nelson took over last year.
Nostalgic memories of Gosman’s include tantalizing tastes of lobster and the typical fries-pasta-rice option, but Nelson has amped up the menu so each main dish has its own distinct flavor, appropriately paired with side items. General Manager Mike Gosman raved about the transition, as Gosman’s stays true to its roots—fresh fare, with a focus on seafood, served with unreal harborside views—while continuously striving to improve the menu.
My parents and I sat at Topside, a quieter section of Gosman’s, at which French fry wielding children are not allowed. The peaceful experience was amplified by the surreal moon, which was a bright orange when we took our seats on the upstairs deck. Four-top tables are strategically placed along the perimeter, affording everyone open-air, harbor views.
After taking in the setting, I turned to the drink menu, pleased to see that Gosman’s keeps it local with Montauk Brewing Co.’s Driftwood Ale on tap. My dad and I started with the hoppy concoction, and my mom went with the Wölffer rosé. For hot days, Gosman’s also has a full bar with an impressive selection of cocktails and frozen drinks.
Gosman’s menu includes a variety of staples from the land and sea, with ample local fish. I started off with an appetizer from the daily specials menu, the Lobster Caprese Salad. With heirloom tomatoes—red and green—fresh mozzarella, aged balsamic drizzle, lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil and basil, the salad would have rivaled any caprese salad on its own. But the addition of the slow-poached lobster, nestled on a thick slice of tomato, put it over the top.
My mom went with the pancetta wrapped sea scallops, which come with cannellini and roasted tomato salad, aged balsamic and baby arugula. Much to our pleasure, the balsamic was not overdone, adding just the right amount of flavor. The subtle pancetta wrap infused each scallop with that coveted bacon-esque taste. We popped the scallops into our mouths like candy.
My dad started with the wasabi and panko-crusted tuna appetizer, which is served with an avocado vinaigrette, wakame salad and crispy edamame. The perfectly seared dish delighted him, but the Asian-influences were a little too much for me.
For a unique take, my mom’s entreé—grilled yellowfin tuna with eggplant caponata, lemon mascarpone orzo and mint salmoriglio—boasted Sicilian sweet and sour influences. A nice surprise to the more ubiquitous soy sauce-infused tuna.
At this point, I noticed the bread basket—bread chips are served with a white bean purée. Though I enjoyed this twist on the restaurant staple, don’t fill up! Gosman’s dishes are substantial.
My seafood fra diavolo, with that coveted mixture of fresh lobster, shrimp, scallops, clams and mussels, was served over linguine with Gosman’s spicy marinara. With wide eyes, my mom immediately commented that everything is left whole, making this a fish dish with pasta, much preferred to the other way around. My favorite offering was the inclusion of an entire lobster tail, appropriately doused in the not-too-spicy marinara.
Dad went with something off the specials menu, pan-seared local tilefish, which comes with basmati rice almandine, mango chutney with haricot verts in coconut lime broth. The delicate fish was lightly tossed in the broth, and the Caribbean flavors of coconut and lime made this the perfect complement to the soft nighttime breeze.
On a lime kick, we had to order the key lime pie for dessert, which had my dad raving was the best slice he’s had north of Key West. Sufficiently full, we left as a commercial fishing boat motored in. Perhaps carrying dinner for our next visit? I was inclined to walk right back upstairs…
Gosman’s Topside, West Lake Drive, Montauk Harbor, gosmans.com, 631-668-2549.