After time spent in the kitchens of such New York City hotspots as Locanda Verde and Café Boulud, culinary director Ron Rosselli is coming east to take over as culinary director at The Surf Lodge, a Montauk mainstay known as much for its upscale dining as waterfront location and not-to-be-missed summer concert lineup. Now overseeing the menu at the Jayma Cardoso hot spot, Rosselli is taking inspiration from Montauk in crafting entrees that are both light and summery as well as local as possible. “I wanted to give you a sense of place when you sat down for your meal,” says Rosselli. “Our ability to get things like Montauk pearl oysters that were just in the water that morning or local corn, tomatoes, and strawberries that were just picked that same day gives us an incredible opportunity with this menu.”
Citing locally available ingredients like fluke, sea bass, and Long Island duck, as well as microgreens, Rosselli wanted to create a menu that was “light and fresh” as well as offered international coastal flavors. “When I was researching for this menu, I was really inspired by my visit to the Montauk docks, Gosman’s Gourmet Fish Market, and Good Water Farms in East Hampton,” he says.
However, Rosselli’s Hamptons inspiration goes further back than when he got the Surf Lodge job. “One of my fondest memories is when I rented a house in Southampton with a bunch of other chefs I was friends with one summer,” he recalls. “We would take trips to the farms and markets together to pick out food to cook. Then, we would lock ourselves in the house all weekend blasting music, drinking beers, and experimenting with the local ingredients.”
Here, Rosselli shares some of his other favorite places around the Hamptons.
Cup of Joe: Left Hand Coffee in Montauk does a really great job.
Power Lunch: Everyone loves the dinner at The Crow’s Nest but I think the weekend brunch there is extremely underrated. Each dish is so flavorful, but the baked eggs is why I go back.
Cocktail Hour: The Montauket is a little off the beaten path but always has a great mixed crowd of locals and families. The sunset views there can’t be beat.
Retail Therapy: The Surf Bazaar at The Surf Lodge is a really cool shop. They don’t carry thousands of different shirts or dresses, but just two or three that you can’t leave without. They do a great job of curating the clothing there.
Field Trip: I learned a lot from my visit to the Montauk Lighthouse. The Oceans’ Institute identifies ecological issues, visits maritime whaling history and features new exhibits each year.
Date Night: I took my wife Tammy and our 12-month-old son to Duryea’s for some fresh seafood. I loved their lobster Cobb salad!
Hidden Gem: The energy at Gosman’s Dock was awesome. Great service and one of the best tuna melts I’ve ever had.