Dan’s Taste of Summer Countdown: Chef Anthony Russo, Lugo Cucina

Chef Anthony Russo
Photo: Courtesy LDV Hospitality

Dan’s Papers’ newest Taste of Summer event, ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk, premieres on Saturday, July 30. It will be the largest oceanfront food and drink fest ever to hit Montauk. Lugo Cucina’s (LDV Hospitality) Chef Anthony Russo says that he’s looking forward to ClambakeMTK for “the opportunity to bring our food to another audience. Our restaurant is located right across from Madison Square Garden. If someone from the East End is coming in for a show, I would love for them to remember us and have a seat at our table.” Chef Russo should fit right into the Montauk summer scene, as he says, “I’m really into yoga. You wouldn’t tell from my size, but I’m actually quite limber.”

What fuels your creativity as a chef?
Just my natural love for food, to take it from an idea, to obtaining the ingredients, the whole cooking process and then the final result.

What local ingredients are you using right now?
Fava beans and, soon, zucchini flowers

What do you think of the Montauk Fishburger?
It’s a great project. Children of this generation are all used to processed foods. This program shows them from “dock to dish,” which is what we need more of.

What is your local beverage, or cocktail, of choice this season?
Our restaurant just created a great summer aperitif. We call it the Rossini. It’s a blend of Prosecco, strawberry purée and mint. Really quite refreshing!

Which of your dishes would you most like to serve to another chef?
My signature Crispy Pork Shank! It’s a three-pound pork shank cured overnight with sugar, salt, garlic, orange and rosemary. The next day we slow braise it in duck fat, let it sit overnight and then, to serve, we fry it to a crisp texture. It’s then served with sweet and hot vinegar peppers.

How has the gluten-free eating trend affected your menu?
It’s a fad that, unfortunately, has not gone away. If you choose to eat gluten-free, of course I will always try to accommodate you, but we are an Italian kitchen and pizza and pasta are what runs our business.

Please complete this sentence: My mother would not approve of my…
use of expletives, but she would approve of my making the best f***ing food I know how!

Please complete this sentence: I could survive on a desert island if I had:
I’ve been watching too much of Naked and Afraid, so I guess I would have to see what the elements gave me and then fend for myself, but a great ribeye and a bottle of Maker’s Mark wouldn’t be bad.\

Dan’s Taste of Summer kicks off with Dan’s GrillHampton hosted by Adam Richman on Friday, July 22, and continues on Saturday, July 23, with Dan’s Taste of Two Forks presented by Farrell Building Company hosted by Alex Guarnaschelli, both on the waterfront at Fairview Farm at Mecox in Bridgehampton. The oceanfront food and drink fest ClambakeMTK at Gurney’s Montauk hosted by Marc Murphy premieres on Saturday, July 30. Dan’s Harvest East End, the can’t-miss food and wine classic, hosted by Geoffrey Zakarian is Saturday, August 20, at McCall Vineyard and Ranch in Cutchogue. For tickets and more info on all Dan’s Taste of Summer events, visit DansTasteofSummer.com! A portion of this year’s ticket proceeds from GrillHampton and Taste of Two Forks will benefit All For The East End (AFTEE), a 501(c)(3) that showcases and provides support to the more than 1,000 charity organizations in the five East End towns. A portion of proceeds from Harvest East End benefits Long Island Farm Bureau and HRHCare.

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