A recent conversation with a friend from Florida revealed that the southernmost borough of New York has a disproportionate number of beach bars compared to New York proper.
Jealous, I had to make the trip to The Sloppy Tuna, the only beachfront restaurant, bar and club in Montauk. As their Facebook page frequently advertises, “I Got 99 Problems, But a Beach Ain’t One.”
My siblings and I arrived on a cloudy Friday. It wasn’t exactly prime weather to enjoy The Tuna’s sweeping ocean views, but we barely noticed. The vibe inside the “come as you are” establishment allows you to feel like you’re about to jump into the surf, regardless of what’s going on outside.
GM Abby Monahan revealed that The Sloppy Tuna has debuted a new menu this August. Though The Tuna has garnered a reputation as the late-night preference of the East End’s party sect, the food is also the perfect complement to the sandy paradise that beckons just outside the windows. We grabbed a seat in the upstairs part, which, with comfy aqua green booths, tables and its own bar, is distinguishable from the downstairs bar scene of The Tuna Can.
Though the weather did nothing to damper our good spirits, we still decided to indulge in Sloppy’s signature, liquid variety—appropriately dubbed “Slopology”—to further amp up our mood.
My brother and sister split the fruity chum bucket, a mixture of juices with splashes of Malibu; and I went with The Montick, made with Absolute Cilantro, house lemonade, a splash of soda and lime. The concoction had a kick, which went perfectly with our fish taco appetizers. We chose mahi as our filling. Other options include chicken, steak and shrimp.
(On a side note, if someone wants to explain why the word “Montick” has become a trending topic as of late, please email [email protected])
But I digress… The appetizer was exactly what you want from a beachfront dining experience—fresh fish enhanced by a smattering of Mexican flavors. All tacos are served with homemade pico de gallo, guacamole and tortilla chips. With ample cilantro and a lime wedge accompanying each, the dish scored big points.
For the main course, The Tuna has a variety of selections from the land and sea, most of which, in keeping with the casual ambience, are sandwiches and salads that easily crossover between lunch and dinner. On weekends, The Tuna adds brunch. The menu includes eggs every-which-way, in addition to some of their more popular sandwiches.
We hit the trifecta of land, sea and…underground, as we went with the Signature Tuna Steak sandwich, pulled pork and veggie wrap.
How could you not try a meal as eponymous as the Signature Tuna Steak Sandwich? Seared Ahi tuna is served on toasted ciabatta with baby arugula and fried onions, finished with sriracha aioli. The sandwich was substantial, as a sizable piece of tuna was housed between the freshest buns. The sriracha aioli jazzed it up without being overwhelmingly spicy.
My brother, who beelined to Montauk after leaving Richmond, VA earlier that morning, declared that the pulled pork was well up to his Southern standards. The tangy BBQ is served on potato slider buns. Giving it a more beachy flavor was the house-made pineapple coleslaw.
For the veggie wrap, homemade black bean and corn salsa is served in a spinach wrap with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, guacamole, shredded carrot and pepper jack cheese. The veggie wrap has a lot of flavors going on, but they all come together nicely for the health conscious Montauker. Decidedly absent is any dressing—a plus in my book, as they often overwhelm the freshness of the veggies. Instead, the salsa and guac provide just the right amount of glue to hold the whole sandwich together.
The wrap is the perfect antidote to what we tried next—dessert. Because how could you not have ice cream when you’re on the beach? We went with vanilla ice cream sandwiched between two chocolate chip cookies. Divine.
Though stuffed, we still managed to wander downstairs into the Tuna Can, where the Friday night festivities were just getting started…
The Sloppy Tuna, 148 S. Emerson Avenue, Montauk. 631-647-8000, thesloppytuna.com.