Waterfront Wonder: Montauk’s Navy Beach

Franklin Ferguson, General Manager of Navy Beach in Montauk
Franklin Ferguson, General Manager of Navy Beach in Montauk, Photo: James Katsipis

“Navy Beach is a special spot with brilliant views,” says Franklin Ferguson, general manager of Navy Beach in Montauk. “It reminds me of some of my favorite places in the world, but has it’s own charm that only Montauk can provide.” Once occupied by the U.S. Navy, the waterfront spot boasts some of the best sunset views, making it the perfect spot to grab a drink after a day at the beach. Here, Ferguson dishes about his favorite menu items, what makes Navy Beach so special.

What are you most looking forward to about being part of Dan’s Taste of Summer this year?
Seeing old friends from other restaurants. During the high season, we generally don’t often get a chance to see one another because we’re working at our respective restaurants.

One food or dish that everyone should try at least once in life:
Calves brain in sage and brown butter at Da Silvano.

What is the best pairing of food and Long Island beer? Long Island wine?
Beer: a great ceviche with local shellfish; Wine: Montauk Pearl oysters with a light crisp white.

If you were to eat at your restaurant as a guest, what would you order?
Our salmon tartare and our tilefish.

Describe the adrenaline of working in a Hamptons kitchen.
You’re working in a fast-paced environment surrounded by great talent, but it’s almost always hot and humid.

What drew you to work on the East End?
Navy Beach is a special spot with brilliant views. It reminds me of some of my favorite places in the world, but has it’s own charm that only Montauk can provide.

If we looked inside your refrigerator right now, what would we find?
Wine, La Tur [cheese] and some protein in a brine.

The perfect drink for a summer night:
Rosé, rosé, rosé.

Food that defines summer on the East End:
Smoked meats.

If you had two forks in your hands right now, what would you like to stick them in?
My wife’s risotto.

Favorite East End-inspired meal?
Lobster on the grill.

What is your favorite local ingredient?
Balsam farms heirloom tomatoes.

When you hear the phrase “local,” what comes to mind?
The mushroom guy.

What is your favorite aspect of being part of the culinary culture on the East End?
The people I get to work with at Navy Beach. [They are] some of the best operators I’ve worked with in my career.

Where do you find inspiration, inside and outside the kitchen?
Everywhere. Every day, something sparks an idea of a technique I would like to try out on a new product or a flavor combination I hadn’t imagined before.

If you were to pack a meal for the beach, what are three things you’d bring?
Wood, meat and root vegetables (I’m counting that as one), and screw-cap wine.

A great meal begins with…
A smile from my wife and son.

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton on July 17, and continues on July 18, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, both at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton. Dan’s Harvest East End, the food and wine classic, rounds out the trio of events on August 22 in Cutchogue. For more info on all three events, including tickets and VIP packages, visit DansTaste.com.

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