Food Seen: La Fondita’s Chef, Montauk Dining & More

La Fondita Chef Juan Geronimo
La Fondita Chef Juan Geronimo
Courtesy La Fondita

Learn a bit more about Chef de Cuisine Juan Geronimo of Amagansett Mexican staple La Fondita, and see what else is happening in the Hamptons food scene.

Chef Highlight: Juan Geronimo, La Fondita

La Fondita Chef de Cuisine Juan Geronimo’s authentic Mexican food is reminiscent of the cuisine of his native Acapulco. He credits a youth spent in the family’s kitchen, where his mother and grandmother were always cooking, and frequent excursions to the markets, as the inspirations for his career. Prior to La Fondita in Amagansett, Geronimo sharpened his skills in the notable kitchens of East Hampton’s Nick & Toni’s and Rowdy Hall, as well as at East Hampton Point and La Placita in Holivera, CA. He notes that the dishes he loves and grew up eating, which now populate the La Fondita menu, are “foods of celebration,” and daily homemade specials—which might include chili rellenos, barbacoa, tacos al pastor, mole and tamales—are some of his favorites to craft. Joan Reminick of Newsday once said of La Fondita, “If you’re craving authentic Mexican food on a beautiful summer day, the search ends here.” Geronimo, an avid soccer fan, resides in East Hampton with his wife and son.

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Last time Food Seen covered the Montauk restaurant scene, many of the following eateries weren’t open. For farm-to-table bites by the sea, visit La Fin. The St. Barth’s-esque waterfront restaurant partners with 20 local farms to bring their diners the freshest ingredients. Think sustainably caught fish and responsibly sourced meats. From fresh pressed juices, vegan and gluten-free options and a raw bar, there’s something for all diets.

At Ruschmeyers, come for the skirt steak, stay for the DJ. Bring a crew down for wood burning oven pizza, espresso martinis and great after-hours entertainment.

Poolside DJs and cocktails are a must on the weekends at the Backyard Restaurant at Solé East. Visit during Sunday brunch and try “the hangover”—prepared with short rib hash, fried eggs, spicy avocado and tomatillo salsa.

John’s Drive-In has been serving hand-pressed burgers and homemade ice cream since 1967. Wonder what’s kept them in business for so long? It probably has something to do with the nostalgic and comforting feeling one gets walking into the retro shop, or it could be because they serve one of the tastiest burgers on the East End. They also offer fried chicken buckets, malted shakes, hot dogs and the option to build your own sundae. Yum!

Drop anchor at Navy Beach this summer. Located on a private beach overlooking Fort Pond Bay and Gardiners Island, it’s the perfect spot to catch a sunset from their picnic tables. Navy Beach delivers with menu highlights like tuna crudo, crispy calamari salad, soy-glazed halibut and local swordfish.

Duryea’s is another great spot to soak in the sun and dine al fresco with a breathtaking view of Fort Pond Bay. Shellfish fans will love their seafood towers, complete with snow crab claws, lobster, local oysters, shrimp and more. Their lobster roll is consistently ranked as one of the best Long Island has to offer.

Over in Amagansett, Organic Krush is introducing organic, gluten-free lobster rolls for a limited time only. Starting the first weekend in August and every weekend through Labor Day weekend, lobster lovers can purchase fresh lobster rolls made with locally caught Long Island lobster and prepared simply and deliciously with lemon juice, parsley, celery, chili powder and a touch of vegenaise mayo, all atop a lightly buttered gluten-free roll. The lobster rolls will be available at all Organic Krush locations on Saturdays and Sundays. They’re priced at $25 and come with a fresh side salad. Orders can be placed through the Organic Krush app or by phone and are available for pick-up and delivery; lobster roll catering is available, too.

East Hampton’s Fresno has a few summer specials that are sure to be popular: four special entrees. There’s a grilled rack of lamb with crushed rainbow potatoes, grilled asparagus and a bordelaise sauce for $52; a surf and turf dinner with grilled filet mignon, head-on prawn, a potato pancake and sautéed spinach for $62; a chicken Milanese with a slow-roasted tomato sauce, mixed greens and goat cheese for $39; and a grilled swordfish with roasted confetti potatoes, wild mushrooms, sautéed fiddlehead fern and black truffle butter for $42.

In case you missed the memo, Water Mill’s Calissa has an impressive music lineup this summer in collaboration with BCL Entertainment. Dubbed “Calissa Sounds,” look for Questlove on August 13, Rev. Run X Ruckus on August 20, DJ Cassidy on August 27 and St. Lucia and RAC performing a collaborative DJ set together for the first time ever on September 3 to finish the season’s slate. It’ll be like you’re in Mykonos!

Bits & Bites:

K Pasa in Sag Harbor offers breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and an all-day menu available from noon to 9 p.m. … Shippy’s Pumpernickels in Southampton has a $22 complete dinner Monday through Thursday and a prime rib dinner every Sunday for $25. … Le Chef in Southampton is celebrating 41 years!

The artist-designed table tops at Coche Comedor
The artist-designed table tops at Coche ComedorCourtesy Coche Comedor

Did You Know:

Nick & Toni’s first opened on August 3, 1988, so happy 33rd birthday to them! … All of the table tops at Coche Comedor were hand painted by local artists led by Toni Ross, including Christopher French, Sabra Elliot, Oscar Molina, Don Christensen, Almond Zigmund, Bastienne Schmidt and Steve Miller. … Dan’s GrillHampton and Taste of Two Forks tickets are being offered at a special discounted price for a limited time only! Visit DansTaste.com to learn more.

Fun Food Facts: Looking ahead, August 8 is National Zucchini Day; August 14 is National Creamsicle Day, and August 18 is National East Outside Day!

Quote of the Week: “A restaurant is a fantasy—a kind of living fantasy in which diners are the most important members of the cast.” ~ Warner LeRoy, creator of Tavern on the Green

Got a restaurant news item or tip? Email us at [email protected]!

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