Back in the Swing

Monday, August 20, 2018

Bavarian food might not have been the best fit for Montauk’s surf vibe, so we said farewell to Zum Schneider this summer, and in its place is an outpost of the more fitting French oyster bar and small plate concept Sel Rrose, which has its year-round home on the Lower East Side. “The owner, Kristen Vincent, fell in love with the location and the people in Montauk and felt this was a perfect fit for us,” says Drew Cheben, Sel Rrose’s director of operations. “This is the kind of place where you can come in and have a cocktail with a lobster roll or oysters, or just pop by on your way to dinner. We want it to be social with no pressure to order anything specific.”

Hudson Blue, another seafood concept, opened in the Bridgehampton space formerly occupied by Mexican spot Mercado. “This serves an ocean resort community better,” says restaurateur Marcel Link, who is offering Dungeness, blue and soft-shell crabs along with local scallops, sea bass and a range of oysters.

Don’t worry, your craving for cumin, cilantro and chiles won’t go unsated. The owners of Nick & Toni’s will be unveiling the long awaited Coche Comedor at 74 Montauk Highway in Amagansett in October. “We think there is a void in ethnic cuisine, and Mexican is a favorite of ours,” says Mark Smith, one of the owners. “It will be the big sibling to La Fondita next door. We will have a wood-burning rotisserie, whole fish and ceviches, and some of the vegetables will be grown in Nick and Toni’s garden. This is regional Mexican with a modern twist, along with a full bar. We will leave the tacos to La Fondita.”

The Maidstone Hotel has a new culinary team. Ian Lowell, formerly the sous chef at Surf Lodge, will be executive chef and work along with John Sagadraca, who spent about ten years working with Daniel Boulud before becoming executive chef at Colonie in Brooklyn.

Harbor Bistro is taking its show on the road. The popular Three Mile Harbor waterfront spot has expanded to a food truck called the Bistro Mobile Kitchen that brings such dishes as Mongolian BBQ ribs, tuna tostados and hibachi salmon to private parties and events.

Sotto Sopra, the popular trattoria in Amagansett, has added family-style dishes to its offerings. Sunday through Thursday, large shareable plates, including calamari salad, pasta with shrimp or Bolognese sauce, seafood stew or skirt steak, are all available, along with the regular a la carte menu.

Fans of the boozy brunch should check out Maison Vivienne, which opened this season in Southampton. Each Saturday and Sunday there is a fashion show accompanied by house and electro music.

There’s news further on an island West as well. Cédric Vongerichten will open his long-awaited French Indonesian restaurant Wayan at 20 Spring Street in September. Those who loved his Indochine will find some differences. “We will have a lot of sharing dishes and satays and many sambal sauces, and we will focus on seasonal and local ingredients,” explains Cedric, who is the son of Jean-Georges and served as chef at Perry Street from its opening.

Jonathan Benno, who worked at both French Laundry and Daniel before becoming chef at Lincoln, has opened a new place in NoMad’s Evelyn Hotel called Leonelli Taberna. “When the location in the Evelyn Hotel came up, it afforded me a unique opportunity to take everything I’ve done throughout my career and showcase it all in one place with the three concepts—Leonelli Taberna, Leonelli Focacceria, and Benno,” he explains. “These are also the most personal projects to date for me.” The first two, a casual Roman-inspired room and a bakery, opened in July; the more upscale Benno is due in early fall.

The much loved British concept Burger & Lobster has expanded into brunch items, adding such dishes as lobster Benedict and bourbon-infused brioche french toast to its Flatiron restaurant. Says Burger & Lobster USA CEO Vladimir Borodin, “Brunch is a big part of New York City’s dining landscape; it’s something New Yorkers embrace, and we decided we wanted to as well, even though it’s not a meal period that we as a company have addressed before.”

No doubt inspired by that success, Steak & Lobster is scheduled to open at 129 West 29th in September. It will feature various versions of surf and grass-fed, hormone-free turf in a range of spice rubs and marinades, prepared by Japanese chef Masato Okamoto.


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