Last Sunday I met my friend, Behind the Hedges Editor-in-Chief Laura Euler for a quick dinner at Arbor in Montauk.
Of course we sat outside. Of course we ordered some Mediterranean white bean hummus with toasted hazelnuts from the menu’s “For the Table” listings—for a dark wood table with brown paper placemats and white linen napkins, surrounded by comfy director’s chairs, that is. Love the little beach plum bushes right next to the tables. Soon the fruit will ripen and tempt diners to indulge…
One of Montauk’s slick new restaurants, Arbor offers a modern menu. Screened off from the outside world, the atmosphere is abuzz with the low rumble from the nearby train station.
The za’atar on our hummus chimed just the right note—served with salted toast, it really hit the spot. Our server Geda agreed. He’s originally from Ethiopia, so he has strong opinions about spice.
Of course one needs a beverage to wash down a generous portion of hummus garnished with roasted shishito peppers. Local choices include Montauk Brewing Company’s Montauk Wave Chaser IPA, Southampton Publick House’s Double White Ale and Montauk Summer Rosé, but every night is a “school night” for me, now that I’m writing my first cookbook. I stuck with glasses of water, which were all the more a “pure” choice because Arbor supports the Whole World Water Initiative, which brings clean and safe water to a billion people around the world. Laura found a cava brut from Segura Viudas listed as “A Steal” on the menu, which suited her nicely.
Geda suggested that we might like to try the Grilled Octopus Niçoise with its black olives, fingerling potatoes and French beans; or the Fisherman’s Platter, which is very popular, from the raw bar. But his description of the night’s Market Fish—local filleted fluke in a caper and lemon butter sauce “straight from Montauk’s best dragger”—enticed me, so I ordered that entrée, skipping over the apps. Loved it. Cheese on fish always makes me smile and the side of fingerling potatoes was done to perfection—a bit crispy on the outside, creamy within. And the “icing on the cake” was the colorful microgreens and caper peppers atop the layer of cheese.
Laura went in the direction of Italy by ordering the Truffata pizza, followed by a pretty tumbler of pink and purple-hued gelatos. The Triple Berry Gelato Cup gave the rare pause to our discussions of husbands, children and the need to ignore housework.
Somehow I had room for a Poached Pear, which was well executed. Just be sure that your server gives you a knife and fork for this dish—a teaspoon will not “cut it.”
We’d like to go back soon to try the Goodale goat cheese croquetas and the seafood pasta.