Off the highway and down a desolate dirt road in the posh hamlet of Montauk is where you’ll find new restaurant, Navy Beach. A massive make-over reveals a smart-chic beachy restaurant with 200 ft of sand and serene views at its door step. A large bar anchors the dining room with white-washed panelling and exposed brick walls. The decor consists of nautical memorabilia, glossy photographs of swimsuit models, and wall mounted boxes housing vintage 1950′s style bathing suits and caps. Chef Paul La Bue is at the helm navigating a seasonal coastal favorite menu with an emphasis on local seafood. I was cordially invited by new owners Franklin Ferguson, Frank Davis and his wife Kristina, to the friends and family launch, which was filled with locals feeling excited and relieved that Navy Beach had graced their community. Apparently, the predecessor Sunset Saloon, hadn’t been anything special for the last couple of years.
My catch was The Navy Burger, an 8oz. meaty monstrosity constructed with a special hand ground beef blend from Cromer’s Market in Sag Harbor. The chef’s secret is a smokey sweet bacon marmalade which was generously slathered over the top of the patty. I was escorted to my beach-side perch along the far wall passing plenty of vino soaked patrons as they took advantage of the laid back vacay life style. The fire lights that were buried in the sand outside my window beautifully flickered as I struggled to see the menu. A happy haze came over me as I gained my thoughts and realized, ” I’m on the beach in Montauk, New York……not St. Barths or Anguilla! ” The server took my order as I settled in with a trio of blue points and a cold beverage to satisfy my sea-air propelled hunger. The oysters were meaty and smooth, with a hint of sweet-a perfect burger prelude.The burger arrived glistening with fatty goodness as loads of thick gooey bacon marmalade cascaded on to the plate. The first bite was a party of flavor in my mouth, from the smokey sweetness of the marmalade, to the velvety creaminess of the cheese. The bun was a faux-Spotted Pig style grillade version, light and toasty and melt in your mouth. As I wiped the last thumb full of marmalade off my plate,I answered the waiter’s question “How was everything?? ” …without saying a word! In addition to the burger the menu also features, Halibut Ceviche;Asian Chicken Salad with honey-miso dressing,Lobster Pot Pie and Pan-Roasted Filet with Lobster Tempura. The host and staff of Navy Beach made this moment memorable and definitely one I want to repeat.