Is there anything better than opening a restaurant by the beach? Chef Todd Mitgang of Montauk’s South Edison knows that he’s living the dream. His favorite aspect of being a part of the East End’s culinary culture is “being challenged and inspired with what swims in and grows on the East End.” Check out his creations at Dan’s Taste of Two Forks on Saturday, July 18. Until then, read on for a tasty sampling of what he believes it means to eat local:
What are you most looking forward to about being part of Dan’s Taste of Summer this year?
We had a lot of fun last year. It will be great to see and chat with other chefs working on the East End again this year.
One food everyone should try at least once:
Local, in-season soft-shell crabs.
What is the best pairing of food and Long Island beer? Long Island wine?
Blue Point Toasted Lager and a raw bar, yes please! Especially Montauk Pearl Oysters. Wölffer Cabernet Franc with South Edison’s tuna entree. Seared tuna with harissa spiked cauliflower puree.
If you were to eat at your restaurant as a guest, what would you order?
Tuna BLT chalupa and our plancha grilled fluke with jalapeño puree and roasted maitake mushrooms.
What drew you to work on the East End?
My partner Steven Kristel called me with an opportunity, and our vision to open up South Edison coincided. That, and running a restaurant a block from the beach, ha.
The perfect drink for a summer night:
A Meyer Lemon Margarita from South Edison
Food that defines summer on the East End:
Montauk Pearl oysters, a clambake, chowder, heirloom tomatoes from the local farms…
If you had two forks in your hands right now, what would you like to stick them in?
A softshell crab and jumbo asparagus
Favorite East End-inspired meal?
An individual clambake like the one we do at South Edison
What is your favorite local ingredient?
Amber Waves Farms Heirloom Tomatoes
What is your favorite aspect of being part of the culinary culture on the East End?
Being challenged and inspired with what swims in and grows on the East End.
When does “local” mean to you?
Balsam Farms, Amber Waves Farms, Little Anthony, Gosman’s
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration talking to my vendors, shopping at the farmers market, and by eating out.
If you were to pack a meal for the beach, what are three things you’d bring?
Duryea’s lobster roll, a bottle of Wölffer rosé and a corkscrew, of course.
A great meal always begins with…
Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton on Friday, July 17, and continues on Saturday, July 18, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, both at Sayre Park, 156 Snake Hollow Road, Bridgehampton. Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, rounds out the trio of events on August 22 in Cutchogue. For more information on all three events, including tickets and VIP packages, visit DansTasteofSummer.com.
South Edison, 17 South Edison Street, Montauk, 631-668-4200, southedison.com.