Restaurant Review: The Montauk

Story and photos by Rachel Verbits, July 2017 Issue.

For most Valley residents, the secret to surviving Arizona’s sweltering summers is carefully timing cool jaunts out of town. And we couldn’t agree more. However, our expertise in the way of food and beverage has proved that there’s another way to skip town that’s particularly pleasant this time of year and it’s a little concept we like to refer to as destination dining.

For this issue we set our sails for The Hamptons, sort of. Our trip took us to a little piece of paradise that’s located right in the heart of downtown Scottsdale: The Montauk.

The Endless Summer.

Located at the southwest corner of Scottsdale Road and Stetson Drive, you’ll find the brainchild of the owners of the Original ChopShop Co. But what makes a dining experience at The Montauk unique – especially this time of year – is that the menu selections and the aesthetics and the vibe will actually transport you to the sandy beaches of the East Coast.

Inspired by the famous beach town, The Montauk invites diners into a laidback environment, complete with twinkling lights and ivy adorning the building’s exterior and region-specific decor set against the rich wooden touches and light wicker furniture on the inside.

Similarly, The Montauk’s menu offers a number of appetizers and entrees that pay homage to some of the most popular East Coast classics. Specialty cocktails,

such as the Rosé Sangria and Watermelon Mule, are reminiscent of summers down by the shore and are the perfect seasonal sips no matter what’s on your trip itinerary.

Fittingly enough, The Endless Summer caught my eye. With rosé champagne, Veev Acai, muddled strawberry and orange peel blended together, this naturally sweet and bubbly drink is so good it might just leave you wishing summer was truly endless – even in Arizona.

Visit The Montauk for happy hour (weekdays, 3-6 p.m.), and you’ll find refreshing drink specials as well as deeply discounted shared plates to pass around the table – which was exactly what I was there to do.

The shared plates menu offers a myriad of fun and familiar New American favorites, most with a unique twist.

Deviled Eggs and Crispy Rock Shrimp.

The crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside fried chicken sliders came topped with jicama slaw that provided a sweet crunch to the trio of bites. Our order of deviled eggs with bacon truffle oil were creamy and flavorful, and proved to be a perfect selection for sharing (six half eggs per order). However, it was the crispy rock shrimp with sweet aji amarillo chili sauce that deserves a trophy in our completely professional opinion. The plump shrimp are tossed in a spicy/sweet sauce that creates a mouthwatering combination, and despite the healthy portion, one order simply is not enough. These are a must try!

Still searching for the dish to transport me to the Hamptons, my final selection from the starter menu was the clam chowder. And this piping hot bowl of  New England-style homemade chowder –  loaded with veggies, potatoes and a serious amount of the star of the show (clams, of course) – was it!

While the shared plates provide more than enough food for a satisfying visit, the rest of the menu is definitely deserving of some attention, too. From fish and chips and grilled kebabs to the prime rib sandwich and mac ‘n’ cheese with Kobe beef hot dog crumbs, the tantalizing choices had me wishing I was at a summer picnic potluck so I could try a little of everything. One dish, however, saved me from my indecisiveness and called out to me: The lobster roll.

Clam Chowder and Kale Salad and Lobster Roll.

When it comes to the king of crustaceans, The Montauk offers the famous lobster roll two ways, warm and cold. Opting for Connecticut style, I ordered mine warm. The roll, while petite, boasted huge chunks of buttery lobster topped with potato chip crumbs for a crunchy component, which melted my taste buds along with the subtle brown butter aioli immediately. Taking the detail to the next level, fresh lemon and additional melted butter were provided on the side, so I had the option to customize the dish to my liking.

The lobster roll, as well as the rest of the entrees, comes with your choice of a few carefully crafted side dishes, including the house potato chips or crispy Brussels sprouts. I ordered the kale salad, which perfectly complimented my lobster roll and was nearly a meal all on its own (if you’re interested, it’s available as a main dish). With generous amounts of almonds, currants, bacon and Parmesan, and tossed with lemon vinaigrette, this salad was packed with the trifecta of nutty, sweet and tangy flavors.

However, if you’re looking for an option that’s a little heartier than seafood or salad, the ribeye tacos are a good way to go, as it would be an understatement to say steak is plentiful in this dish. As just one example of the subtle Southwest influences at The Montauk, our tacos boasted ribeye that had been cooked to a perfect medium and came topped with guacamole, lime radish slaw, queso fresco and grilled onion.

But never mind the Southwest, we’re on vacation. And if you’re the type of traveler who still enjoys sending postcards of your travels home via snail mail, you’re in luck! When your check arrives, look for the “Greetings from The Montauk” postcard. Fill it out before you leave and the restaurant will mail it ”home” for you, free of charge.

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