My sister and I jumped on the train from Southampton to Montauk on a recent Friday, ready to enjoy delicious food and Montauk vibes at The Backyard Restaurant at Solé East.
Solé East has two locations, one on Second House Road and one on South Emerson Avenue—across the street from the beach. Arriving at The End almost an hour before our reservation, we took our time heading to the restaurant, which is located at the Second House Road location.
Upon entering the Solé East hotel, we walked through the lobby and were immediately ushered into a tranquil backyard. This restaurant is aptly named. Flowers and lush grass greet you, and a quaint stone path guides guests toward the restaurant in the back. The peaceful space stands in stark contrast to reports of the raucous party scene that Montauk has become.
My sister and I were shown to our outdoor table, located underneath the kind of tree that is ideal for a tree house. The space was perfectly outfitted with small lights. Our server immediately greeted us, offering his recommendations of the clams casino and tuna tartare as an appetizer; and the gnocchi with fresh lobster as an entrée.
More on the food in a minute. This was a Friday night, and we appropriately started with the drinks. Solé East has a full bar, with a wide selection of spirits, a curated cocktail list, and beer and wine. I started with the Jalisco Watermelon cocktail, a combination of Herradura tequila, watermelon, lime and sugar, with a spicy rim. The cocktail was at once refreshing, but also had a nice bite to it. The perfect drink to prepare my palate for the scrumptious food ahead.
We started off with the two recommended appetizers. I’ve enjoyed many a clam in my life—I’m a big fan of this shellfish in any context—and was excited to try the Backyard’s iteration of clams casino. Solé East did not disappoint. The dish included jalapeno, basil and bacon butter, making for a delicious combination that only needed a squirt of lemon to finish it. As I’m not a huge fan of stuffing, I was happy to find that the breadcrumbs were not a major ingredient. They didn’t overwhelm the clams. And the jalapeno was not too spicy.
My sister went with the tuna tartare, served with cucumber and lemon juice. The bottom layer was comprised of a chilled rice-like combo, making for a nice complement to the chunks of tuna on the top. The dish comes with lightly baked chips on the side.
At this point, the sun had gone down, and we remarked at how pleasant the night felt. The restaurant maintained a serene, relaxing atmosphere which, coupled with the string of lights overhead and the music, made for the perfect way to start a night.
Our entrées soon arrived. My sister took the server’s recommendation of the gnocchi with fresh lobster, cherry tomatoes and tarragon. I went with the seared yellowfin tuna, which was served with black sticky rice, edamame cucumber hummus and a carrot ginger coulis. Though I initially thought I’d be partial to the gnocchi, and my eyes grew wide once I spotted all of the chunks of lobster—this is a lobster dish with pasta, not the other way around—I ended up enjoying my tuna more. The slice of fish was perfectly seared, and the homemade edamame cucumber hummus was a a flavorful side that enhanced the freshness of the tuna.
Though we were stuffed, we couldn’t pass up sharing some tiramisu. Like the food that came before it, the dish didn’t disappoint.
After dessert, we meandered back into the bar, where we ordered two more cocktails and continued our night chatting by a fire pit on another part of Solé East’s property. With summer winding down, I’ll raise a glass to more lovely outdoor nights like this!
The Backyard Restaurant at Solé East, 90 Second House Road. 631-668-9739, soleeast.com.