East by Northeast (ENE), located in the Stone Lion Inn, is a quick walk from downtown Montauk. Its sister restaurants, Harvest on the Hudson and Half Moon in Dobbs Ferry, are a bit more of a walk, but another sister, Harvest on Fort Pond in Montauk —on South Emery Street—is also just a short walk away.
ENE is spacious inside and out and features real candles, loads of dark hardwood and metal details, as well as tasteful, earthy ceramic serving ware. Its look is what I would call “Samurai-worthy.”
Executive chef Jeremy Blutstein offers a wide range of precise dishes within the spectrum of gourmet pan-Asian cuisine, including a rich smattering of gluten-free and vegan options. He relies on many local ingredients, including Montauk pearl oysters and other seafood, Balsam Farms produce and Aquebogue’s Crescent Duck. The wine list has some local names too, like Wölffer Estate Vineyard and Macari Vineyards. My husband and I were pleased to spot a Fingers Lakes fave—Dr. Konstantin Frank’s dry riesling. Also pleasing to a samurai—ENE offers a nice range of sake by the bottle. (Who knew that there was any other way to order sake?)
Husband saw the “Perfect Manhattan” on the cocktail menu and took the bait like a great striped bass (though he was wearing plaid at the time): Rittenhouse Rye, Carpano Antica Vermouth, brandied cherries “but not too sweet. It is a good Manhattan. That’s right.”
We had just walked to ENE from a Nancy Atlas Project concert at Surf Lodge. Bassist Brett King raved about ENE’s Long Island duck tacos with Chinese black vinegar caramel and suggested that Husband try them, so he did. He found them to be “unexpectedly rich, their sweet and salty sauce makes them a real flavor bomb. My only complaint is that now I need wipes.” He always needs wipes, dear readers.
I thought about trying some of the sakes but I had an early morning meeting so I started off with the seaweed salad, which was very fresh and lively. We shared an order of the crispy (batterless!) organic cauliflower with Thai vinaigrette, which was mild and rich. It was served artfully spilling from a white cardboard take-out carton—a carton that we emptied completely.
I also ordered ENE’s signature Crazy Tuna roll to give it a try. Husband grumpily stated, “I don’t wanna eat sushi!” But after one taste the rest of the plate was cleared in about a minute. The very thin jalapeño pepper slices on top were just the right touch to set off the flavors of the tuna and avocado. It was a really well-balanced flavor combination and the small, sticky rolls allowed me to show off my chopsticks chops.
Husband was tempted by one of the evening’s specials—a ribeye finished with Wölffer vinegar. But he quite liked his Grilled Block Island Swordfish with its charred Balsam Farms eggplant and cipollini onions in green curry. He described the eggplant as “pleasantly bitter.” At our friendly server Kristin’s suggestion, Husband sipped a glass of Super-Tuscan Chianti with his fish.
My Montauk Lobster Somen Noodle Bowl came in a gloriously wild presentation. The whole was earthly and, of course, rich. Chef Blutstein included plenty of tender lobster chunks in a tight school, North Fork oyster mushrooms, celeriac and radishes, topped with micro greens. Balsam Farms garlic chives informed the tasty broth. Don’t get distracted by the bounty—slurp the thin noodles down first thing, before they become overcooked at table. I couldn’t quite finish it all, but it was delightful to try to do so.
East by Northeast, 51 Edgemere Street, Montauk, 631-668-2872, harvest2000.com