Sweet’tauk’s Facebook page has a unique twist on the “When life gives you lemons…” saying.
“When life gives you Summer, sip Sweet’tauk.”
I’ve long been sold on heading to Montauk for the perfect daycation escape, especially on a Wednesday when the traffic is somewhat manageable. I set out last week to sample the ultimate summer partnership—and a small slice of Americana—Sweet’tauk lemonade and a lobster roll from the Red Hook Lobster Pound. The two became roommates in the Etna Street storefront this past May.
I walked into the casual eatery on a perfect summer day, happy to see picnic tables out front and a staff member painting signs for an actual, soon-to-be-completed lemonade stand out back. This is Sweet’tauk’s first storefront, but its third summer on the East End. Owner Deborah Aiza makes all the lemonade, which is naturally sweetened with agave, herself. Varieties include the standard “oh my meyer,” made with Meyer lemons; as well as unique combos like “raspberry hibiscus” and “strawberry mint.” All Sweet ‘tauk lemonades are refreshing, a difficult balance to achieve when so many other lemonade varieties are overrun with too-sugary aftertastes. They range in sweetness factor, with something like the “blueberry lavender” coming up on the high end and the “watermelon cucumber,” my favorite, slightly more tart. Coming soon—late summer flavors include a Peach Thai Basil and a Cantaloupe Verbena.
My watermelon cucumber was best served with a lobster roll. Or several.
I’d been itching to try a roll from the Red Hook Lobster Pound ever since it was rated the No. 1 food truck in the country by The Daily Meal last spring. The award was bestowed just months after Superstorm Sandy hit, annihilating the now-reopened truck as it sat in its namesake Red Hook, Brooklyn location.
A fan of the street meat, my previous truck tasting high clocked in at No. 13—I’ve sampled the pulled pork waffle from Waffles & Dinges. Though I love all things Southern, on a hot summer day, a lobster roll is just the ticket.
Red Hook serves lobster rolls every-which style: Get ‘em the Maine way—topped with a touch of homemade mayo; Connecticut style—hot and buttery; or Tuscan style—tossed in a basil vinaigrette. For the especially health-conscious, there’s also the option of a “Bikini roll” where the lobster is served with your choice of mayo or basil vinaigrette on a bed of bib lettuce.
Red Hook sources its meat from Maine lobster fisheries, all of which have been certified as a sustainable fishery by the Marine Stewardship Council, and the reason is obvious—there’s simply no need to douse the crustacean with anything but a touch of *insert preferred method of enjoying lobster here.*
The Maine roll was a classic as they come. The lightly buttered (on the outside, giving the sandwich a nice structure) NE hot dog bun is a nice complement to the hunks of lobster nestled inside on a lettuce leaf. With a lemon-based mayo and minced celery, the true flavor of the savory meat is comes out.
This was my first foray into a Tuscan Style lobster roll, and the result was a satisfying blend very fitting for the anti-mayo sect. Again, the meat is just lightly tossed in the basil vinaigrette, giving the lobster a fresh bite that makes you question if “Brooklyn, Maine”—as in the outdoor sign “The Best Lobster Roll South of Brooklyn, Me.”— is a state in the Mediterranean.
In addition to the lobster rolls, we sampled the shrimp roll, the “off the hook dog” and the lobster mac & cheese. The dog, made with all-natural Berkshire pork and bacon, received rave reviews from my dining partner-in-crime, but I found the combo a little too sausage-esq for my taste. Lobster mac & cheese is the way to go for those days when the ocean breeze is just a little too chilling. Made with four cheeses and plenty of lobster meat, it hits the spot without being overly filling.
All sandwiches are served with North Fork Potato Chips and a Brooklyn Brine Classic Dill Pickle. The chips are always a favorite, but the pickle… Sweet, with a nice bite to it.
The storefront is also the first place to serve scoops of Joe & Liza’s ice cream, outside of its Bay Burger (Sag Harbor) home base. I opted to end my meal with one of Sweet’tauk’s icy treats instead—Deborah makes a variety of ice pops in unique flavors, which include “Rhubarb Creamsicle,” “Yellow Watermelon Basil” and “Bee Naked Blueberries.” My fennel and grapefruit creation had a little bit of spice. The perfect beach-cap to allow me to finish my daycation with a walk to a slice of Montauk sand.