The casual, family-run restaurant squarely housed at the end of Main Street in Montauk operates to the beat of it’s own drum. With a Djembe in the window, live-music most evenings, and bartender Skylar Gardell that occasionally steps into the role of lead-guitarist, 668 The Gig Shack has established it’s own rhythm. And it works.
Consider a recent summer evening, when a patron at the bar found the Djembe in the window intriguing, and ends up jamming along with Mannie the Reggae musician for a spontaneous Sunday night dance party. Or when eldest son Arden Gardell reels in a fresh Mako or Tuna one morning, it will likely be on the menu that evening, grilled to perfection or seared in sesame seeds with roasted asparagus. Perhaps their father Dr. Lewis Gross, a holistic dentist in Manhattan, will bring in an abundance of micro-greens grown locally in their greenhouse to add atop the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake served with homemade dill tartar sauce.
A solid, wildly popular menu from the Chef and youngest son Gray Gardell is home to staple dishes like Montauk’s Original Blackened Local Fish “Montacos” and the House Cooked Lobster Roll in drawn butter served on a freshly baked croissant with homemade potato chips.
And then there is dessert, carefully crafted and baked with love by mom Tracey Gardell, which can be anything from addictive key-lime pie in a buttery graham cracker crust, sour cherry tart picked from their own cherry trees, or the famous red-velvet cake that has become a local obsession for anyone that has tasted it.
668 The Gig Shack was named for the original local phone exchange (668) and Gig Shack for the steady stream of musicians that have graced the sidewalk, side bar, picnic tables, or full-on concerts that consistently light up the restaurant. Servers, bartenders, kitchen staff and hostesses are charming, fun and function as a family. They maintain a balance of down-to-earth service and a professional approach to food and wine knowledge that heightens your overall dining experience. The mission of The Shack is to have a good time while simultaneously serving a quality product, creative and delicious cuisine cradled in superior service. There are constant improvisations, delights and challenges all restaurants must endure that 668 manages to churn into a fun, well-oiled machine. Guests are reluctant to dine anywhere else.
The Shack’s popularity seems to increase exponentially each season, managing to appeal to all demographics; families, hipsters, locals, couples and groups of friends that all find something to love. The food is the foundation, and inventive dishes like the Charred Lemon Caesar Salad with dill and croissant croutons, and the Seared Local Scallops served over a bed of baby arugula and avocado are delightful summer starters. 668’s roasted broccoli and toasted cumin carrots may sound simple and straightforward, yet they are the result of what appears to be a vegetable savant in the kitchen.
We love the mussels in any variation; with roasted corn, in a spicy Thai sauce of coconut milk or with white wine and a cilantro-herb butter all crowned with a toasted
French baguette.. The “Global Surf Cuisine” is a layered, eclectic mix of dishes like House Smoked Pulled Pork Empanadas in a caramelized Hawaiian-style BBQ sauce, Grilled Argentine Chorizo with melted Provolone and Chimmichurri, and Grilled Local Oysters with butter, basil and Parmigiana Gouda. Each meal has an earthy quality with subtle mixes of flavors.
The family’s love of travel is embedded Chef Gray’s dishes, such as the Italian flour in the homemade pastas inspired by a trip to the annual Truffle Festival in Italy. Thai influences from a winter spent in South East Asia, and French methods and textures are ever-evolving and dazzling both the kitchen and the patrons on a regular basis.
With a sleek and newly renovated bar, cozy indoor banquettes and tables, outdoor seating close to the music or street side for sunshine and people watching, 668 neatly offers a date, party, family, casual and classic brasserie atmosphere. A popular bar, carefully created wine-list chosen by Arden and handcrafted cocktails rounds out the experience, especially with the coming launch of Montauk Hard Label, a Montauk Whiskey in which Skylar is a partner in launching.
Something that will not change is the talent, experience and love of fun and food that the Gardell family brings to Montauk. New and old friends are always gathering at
The Shack for lunch in the sun, to have a cocktail, for a memorable dinner or to catch live music. It’s a happy mix of a polished experience in a freewheeling atmosphere. Gracing Main Street Montauk for over ten years, 668’s irresistible presence is still going strong.
782 Main Street, Montauk, NY 11954 | 631.668.2727