The view is striking, especially at sunset. The dramatic dark wood, sunken dining room and curvy banquettes make everyone feel like a V.I.P. The top-notch cuisine and menu that is right on target is what continues to stoke East by Northeast’s (ENE’s) popularity since they opened their doors. Planted on Fort Pond just a dinghy ride away from its sister restaurant, Harvest, ENE is Asian inspired with a strong emphasis on quality meat and seafood.
The originally family style ENE transitioned into individual portions and placed Executive Chef John Weston, the Harvest chef of 14 years, at the helm, bringing a distinct style and philosophy to dining. Running some of the best kitchens on the East End for nearly twenty years, Weston has been grooming future chefs to run their own successful establishments. Weston’s dedication and modesty are evident; his energy devoted to excellence is demonstrated each evening.
Rewarded by his work and passionate about setting the right tone, Weston creates a friendly, warm and knowledgeable atmosphere. Front of the house Manager Walter Tarone complements the mission, and can be seen darting through the dining room with grace and ease, checking on tables, opening wine, recommending entrees and greeting guests. Tarone manages to maintain the relaxing Zen Vibe with machine-like efficiency.
Each dish delights the eyes and stomach. Dainty Peking Duck Tacos with dollops of bright green guacamole, golden Coconut Shrimp with a burst of sweet chili sauce, and crispy Vegetable Spring Rolls painted with a fiery Chinese mustard sauce are ample. A tuna tartare appetizer of tuna shaved paper thin is buttery and sweet. Steak is at the forefront, ENE offers Filet, New York Strip, Skirt Steak and the celebrated Japanese Hot Rock, with raw filet beef cooked over a warm stone at your table.
Our favorite was the Panko Crusted Tuna, with a rich and crispy coating seared rare in the center, paired with steamed coconut rice and vibrant julienne vegetables. The Shrimp, Clams and Mussels entrée was a champion seafood trio bathed in a lemongrass, garlic white wine broth atop fat Udon noodles. Homemade Banana Crème Pie was a sweet finish; a foundation of caramelized Banana, toppled with freshly whipped crème and cool blueberries is light and lush in texture.
The Stone Lion Inn that houses East by North East is slated for complete renovations by next season, and ENE is in talks of adding sushi to the menu and expanding their space to include an outdoor deck. An enchanting summer destination to watch the sunset with a chilled glass of Chardonnay and fresh seafood or a cozy winter spot for a rich Cabernet and steak, ENE’s strong identity and welcoming vibe is pervasive. A beautiful space for any event, ENE is open all year with the exception of a few weeks in February. Trendy places cropping up all over Montauk can only hope to achieve similar success and consistency; ENE is already dialed in.