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Jun 19, 2008 08:16 AM

Clam Shacks, Montauk, LI

Hi People. Heading out to Montauk tomorrow, haven't been in years. Any picks for best clam roll, steamers, lobster, etc out there? Prefer down and dirty to fancy shmancy. Any other "don't miss" advice would be welcome.

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  1. Lobster Roll, 1980 Montauk HW, Amagansett AKA "Lunch" between Amag & Montauk; always crowded, Known for Lobster Rolls, Nu?


    INSTEAD: try Duryea's Lobster Deck


    2 Replies
    1. re: toby1355

      Gosman's has one great thing on their menu: the stuffed mushrooms which each have a whole shrimp or two, giant hunks of lobster, maybe a scallop or whatever. Anyway whenever I'm forced to go there I make a meal out of that appetizer. Sitting at the bar watching the ships come in makes it a pretty nice experience. Not that I don't have other places I like better in general: The Dock, Westlake, O'Murphys, Montaukett, etc I've mentioned them all too many times.
      PS I don't see too many steamers or clam rolls out there. Tuna, flounder/fluke and lobster are your best bet, if you want really fresh.

      1. re: toby1355

        For down and dirty (not to mention much better than average food) try Cyril's just beyond "Lunch" - on the left heading toward Montauk. Definitely not fancy schmancy. I always focus on the mussels.

      2. stay away from gosman's, all of their restaurants. their food is just not good. definitely hit up duryea's on fort pond and get the lobster roll (my favorite out east) and their crabcakes. their pies always look good too but i never get them. it's byob.

        i also really like clam shack (across from lunch's) and cyril's. lunch's i find to be so so. you can check out the surf lodge (on fort pond) where the food is delicious but it's pretty fancy.

        my personal recommendation though is to go to the hideaway. it's a mexican restaurant hidden in the diamond cove marina (look for the red chili pepper on the sign) on west lake drive. it is by far the best mexican you will have had in a long time. margarita's are nice and strong, the fish tacos are unbelievable, the sopes are great and the tamales are delicious. the bbq ribs are also terrific.


        6 Replies
        1. re: jon

          Any feedback regarding St.Peter's Catch ???? I ate there last winter and enjoyed the food but a lot can change in a year plus I haven't heard about them since

          1. re: jon

            thanks for the great recs. i'll definitely be checking out the hideaway.

            1. re: jon

              was our bad lobster roll at duryea's a fluke? it was served on a very chewy, borderline stale sesame-seeded roll, with lots of mayo and tons of dill. it was quite light on the actual lobster meat. while the rolls at the shack and at lunch are enough for two people to share, this version was a skimpy meal even for one. as our other food was likewise blah, it seemed to me that the attraction there is first and foremost the location with food running a distant second (sadly, the case with many places out there).

              1. re: wleatherette

                Just went there recently and I have to agree, I wasn't very happy with the lobster roll (I got the plate version, which was probably just as skimpy as yours, and not very filling, I left hungry and I don't have a big stomach usually). I think the place is overpriced for what you get, even without having to pay for table service. But the setting has a nice casual seaside vibe and a gorgeous view on a nice day. In theory, I like the concept of this place, no frills waterside dining with straight from the boat simple seafood eats, but I wish the food prep was a little better.

                although its not a clam shack I really liked La Fondita, an authentic Mexican takeout joint in Amagansett with good prices and some of the best shrimp tacos I've tried.

                I also liked lunch at Montauket, a casual bar setting with another gorgeous view and friendly service and tasty seafood.

                1. re: jeanki

                  not sure but everytime i've gone there the lobster roll has been great (personally i like the semolina roll it comes on). we usually get one to share and either their little neck clams or mussels and bring a bottle of wine. you really can't beat the setting and the food.

                  on a side note, i'd stay away from the second house tavern on second house road. it just opened and seems to be trying to do the local food thing but the food was just not good and service was terrible. clam chowder was awful and the mussel appetizer was eh. the fried calamari, however, was fantastic.

                  1. re: jon

                    The locals don't seem to like Second House Tavern much, I hear it is very expensive and all a la carte, which is not their thing. The chef is from up island and I don't think he knows much about Montauk in general. Haven't heard anything positive.

            2. another voice on avoiding Gosman's, beyond horrible food, but it does have a great view.

              Cyrils has great soft shells (usually sold out they are so popular). On some nights you can not get near the place because of the crowds when cars park 1/4 mile away and walk. If you are 20's and single go there. Lunch is much more tame but not very beachy since you overlook route 27

              Lunch is also pretty good. lobster rolls and fried stuff.

              1. I was in Montauk last year, and ate at Gosman's our first night there. We ate outside and loved the view of the boats coming in & out of the harbor. Food was fine, maybe we just got lucky. Or it's hard to screw up a lobster & fresh tuna.

                1 Reply
                1. re: Snorkelvik

                  I got tuna there recently and it was like a dog chewed on it before they gave it to me!

                2. Long time lurker, first time poster here. It's about time that I registered but what made me do so was the strong anti-Gosman's sentiment in this thread.

                  I wholeheartedly agree that the main restaurant there is awful, however the smaller, less fancy restaurant called Inlet (not to be confused with the non-Gosman's inlet across the water) is consistently good. I've eaten there two times so far this season and countless times in past seasons. It is not a destination restaurant but we often end up there if there is too long a wait at other restaurants (usually Westlake).

                  Having said all that, Inlet is not "down and dirty" so I don't think its what you're looking for.

                  Somebody asked about St. Peters before. It is still open. Gene, the owner, is a really nice guy and it turns out that he and I actually went to the same high school. If you go, ask to try the Marlin dip. I rarely ever get the prepared food there, but it is where I go to get fish to grill.

                  A little off topic, but there is no other Montauk thread. I tried one of the 2-3 new restaurants, Second House Tavern. Everything was good except for the vegetarian dish. They have less of a focus on fresh fish than other restaurants out there. I got a burger and it was quite good.

                  Fishbar, formerly After Fishing Bar and Grill (located out by the airport) changed ownership (and maybe names too). I ate there two weekends ago. Its not worth going to. I still long for After Fishing - it was my secret spot that was never crowded, but I guess that is why they closed.

                  I also tried out Bird on the Roof for the first time this season. I think that it used to be better, but it could have been a fluke as it was probably one of the first busy weekends this year.

                  One last thing, Surfside, located on Old Montauk Highway before town, is no longer serving their Sunday Brunch Buffet. That used to be a weekly staple for us.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: frankster

                    I miss After Fishing too, I can't believe the chef left to become a landscaper! The newest owners are keeping the Fishbar name as far as I know.
                    Good to know about Second House Tavern, I heard it was more of a steakhouse, what is that the third one that opened in the last year?

                    1. re: coll

                      I would agree that it is more of a steakhouse. Of the four main dishes at our table, two were fish (and one of those was fish and chips). It was good, but a bit fancier than typical Montauk fare. My burger was a tiny bit on the rare side, but I still devoured it. Also had the mussels appetizer. I think that the mussels themselves were of a higher quality than other places out there, but the sauce wasn't wonderful. Its a good restaurant overall, but something that I think would fit better in the Hamptons as opposed to Montauk. They focus less on the fresh seafood than other places out there.

                      As for After Fishing - I know that the chef (I think his name was Paul) left to live full time in Mexico, but I didn't realize that it was to become a landscaper.

                      What have you heard about Runaways? I know one of the owners has ties to Blue Parrot in Amagansett which I like.

                      1. re: frankster

                        That's right Paul! His initial plan when he left was to do some landscaping work locally but I can picture him down in Mexico cooking up some fish fresh right off the boat. He once told me he used to trade the off shore Russian guys drinks for fresh tuna when they'd stop by to visit.

                        Runaways just popped up one day, I'll have to stop by and scope it out. Haven't heard a thing! (I feel like it is more of a bar?)

                        1. re: coll

                          Paul Roman is alive and well and still a chef. He does private catering, beach parties, and is involved with other restaurants in E. Hampton. He has not moved to Mexico full time but does drive down in the winters with his partner, Marilyn, who is the landscaper, in Brooklyn, Manhattan and Montauk. Hope this quells any rumors otherwise stated. Thank you for the nice words about the former After Fishing Bar & Grill. The food was GREAT and we miss it too.

                    2. re: frankster

                      Hey frankster, I wondering what you didn't like about your recent experience at fishbar, in Montauk........

                      1. re: lovestoeat1

                        To be honest, for the sake of simplicity, I wrote that I had eaten there two weekends ago, when it was actually my parents who ate there and then reported back to me. I have only eaten at Fishbar once, when it first opened and I don't remember anything except that it wasn't worth returning to.

                        I tried two more restaurants out there with the past couple of weekends - The Hideway and The Point. I enjoyed both of them, let me know if anybody wants more detail.

                        I went to the East Hampton farmers' market last Friday and plan to return tomorrow. To my surprise, the produce prices were not outrageous. One thing that was incredible were the blueberries. They were definitely the best that I've had in a while. If anybody is interested, I can try to describe the stand that I got them from.

                        1. re: frankster

                          I'm in Montauk every weekend and here are my restaurant picks. Harvest on Fort Pond- food is delicious, the restaurant claims it's family style but it really depends on what you order. Mannucci's has good Italian food- Nick's restaurant on the beach is great for lunch- love the tuna wraps and seafood salad is heavenly. O' Murphy's has the best mussels and burgers. In East Hampton I've dined at Rowdy Hall- good for burgers and Harbor Bistro-dined there last week with a few friends and must say I was surprised. We were all raving about our food

                          1. re: girlonthejob

                            not a fan of rowdy hall (although it's never that crowded). have to say that we tried duryea's again and it was not that good. lobster salad platter was so small for $20 it was probably enough to fit on a tiny slider bun and the steamers were funky smelling service was terrible. not sure if it was because it was july 4th weekend or what. as much as gosman's is bashed (and i do so too), i just tried the grilled lobster with grilled corn and it was delicious.

                          2. re: frankster

                            Best farm stand is Vicky's Veggies in Amagansett, prices are reasonable and she stocks it fresh daily. I agree that Gosmans isn't great and the seagulls are borderline violent if you sit on the deck. LUNCH is overpriced. Wish there was a place to get really good whole belly fried clams instead of frozen clam strips that you get most places.

                            1. re: bonacbub

                              You are so right about the seagulls, they are the most insane birds I've ever run into. Right out of Alfred Hitchcock! I always sit at the bar and get my fresh air through the windows, they haven't invaded there yet.