Duryea’s Lobster Deck is exactly what it advertises—loads of lobster available on a bright, white deck. And it’s much more. Just last month, Duryea’s launched a new oyster bar and a private dining area. The additional dining is located just above the main lobster deck and can accommodate up to 30 for a sit-down event and more party people for a cocktail event. The new oyster bar, located adjacent to the fish market at Duryea’s, offers a menu of Montauk Pearl, Orient Point, Blue Point and Kumamoto oysters by the dozen, Champagne and other wines. Now you can grab a snack and a drink while waiting for your table on the deck. Convenient. Duryea’s does not take reservations, and as it’s a “fish market,” patrons fill out an order sheet, place the order and pay for it. Servers deliver the order’s items as they’re ready.
I like the simplicity of this operation—and the simplicity of the menu. I also like the idea of having to get up and walk to receive a new round of drinks—it tests your land legs for balance. Another test might be taking a walk on the long pier adjacent to the deck. It’s very inviting, we were surprised that there were no boats moored there the night we visited.
Taking in sweeping views of Fort Pond Bay and an incredible sunset, my husband and I were primed to enjoy Duryea’s signature Lobster Cobb Salad, as word of it had reached us in Sag Harbor Village. Manager Hugo Ferretti seated us at stools facing the water. This naturally made us thirsty for some local beverages. Wölffer Estate Vineyard’s ciders were onsite, but this particular scene cried out for Montauk Brewing Company beer—okay, we cried out for it—Wave Chaser IPA for Husband and their Summer Ale for moi. Ah. We lapped as the water did at the shore.
The market fish that evening was a sizable tilefish with asparagus and pepper, but when our server Patricia informed us (in her dulcet Argentinian tones) that the Lobster Cobb Salad can serve four, we decided to just pair that with a couple apps—the Baked Cherry Stone Clams and roasted cauliflower with a tahini-inflected dipping sauce. We were fools to think we might have room left for a Banana Split Sundae. Five clams stuffed with chopped clam meat, bread crumbs and parsley and a netted lemon half on a wooden plate met with Husband’s comment “Oh! That’s a cut above!” while I was still squeezing lemon juice onto my first over-stuffed shell.
With our large and hearty napkins in place, we found the Lobster Cobb to be just the right size—massive. And it had a pleasantly primitive aspect, served as it is in a mango wood hand-carved bowl with wooden spoons. I was later delighted to find these bowls and a selection of Brooklyn Buttery’s compound butters for sale in Duryea’s market area—great gifts.
Possibly even mayo-phobes would love this lobster salad. Most of its creaminess comes from its buttermilk dressing—buttermilk combined with tarragon vinegar, lemon juice, oil and fresh tarragon and other seasonings. It was apparent that executive chef Pierre Sudre has the good sense to merely turn up the natural salty-brininess of the lobster meat a notch. This nest of shredded decapod topped a mix of bacon bits, whole butter lettuce leaves, sliced cheddar cheese, cherry tomatoes, avocado and a perfectly cooked, chopped egg. Now that I’m in the midst of writing my first cookbook, I have tremendous respect for the preparation of a perfect egg—tender but solid, not a speck of green. I got the scoop from the kitchen: “large quantity of boiling water, 2 soup spoons of white vinegar. Gently drop the egg in the boiling water for 9 minutes. Strain and cool down quickly under running cold water.” Pure genius slash expert know-how. (I’d been doing 10 minutes with a tablespoon of baking soda in the water.) The cauliflower was also just as it should be—crisp-tender with a bit of caramelization.
In addition to the natural light show in the sky, there was a floor show of sorts—while we ate, a horde of barefoot children scurried and skittered over the shore’s rocks and old pilings like so many designer-clad crabs. This casual dining setting on the water is an all–ages affair. In fact, if you’re a very small fry, you can purchase some new, cotton pajamas in the gift shop area. Do bring a jacket for when the sun has gone down. We were in and out in record time, so the cooling breezes were no problem. I hope they blow us back to Duryea’s soon.
Duryea’s Lobster Deck, 65 Tuthill Road, Montauk, 631-668-2410, duryealobsters.com. Open through Columbus Day weekend, weather permitting.