Chef Shaun Hergatt has arrived at The Surf Lodge—and he’s not here to party. This Michelin-starred and James Beard Award-nominated chef, himself an Australia native, brings a new culinary gravitas to the ever-popular Montauk destination.
Hergatt was the force behind SHO Shaun Hergatt, the New York City restaurant that opened in 2009, received two Michelin stars, and landed him a Best New Chef award from New York Magazine. Imported out East, Hergatt’s sensibility treads the delicate line between simple, casual cuisine and complex, thoughtful flavor.
On a recent night, I had dinner under twinkling Edison bulbs. I arrived on taco night, so the menu wasn’t the full menu. What regular diners will find, though, is a dedicated raw bar, featuring oysters on the half shell; local fluke crudo with yuzu, jalapeño, and cilantro; a yellowfin tuna poké with a sesame-soy dressing and wasabi roe; and a massive seafood tower boasting the riches of the sea. Appetizers embrace healthfulness. Consider a take on hummus, for instance: sundried tomatoes, grilled pita, seasonal vegetables, and olives. Yes, there is the requisite nod to burrata, but there is also a substantial appetizer of grilled shrimp, served with avocado, cucumber, and pea tendrils.
On the entrée side, there are pan-seared diver scallops with saffron cous-cous and a truffle-mushroom ravioli. Vegetarians can opt, too, for a cauliflower steak, roasted and then smothered with a coconut green curry and served over quinoa.
An appeal to one’s lesser angels may land one in different territory, and by that I mean ribeye territory. Hergatt’s version is served bone-in, a hulking grilled piece of meat, basted with rosemary and served with pearl onions, romesco sauce, and French fries. Make it a surf-and-turf kind of evening by adding on the Asian-inflected whole lobster, which arrives bathed in red chili, coconut milk, and basil.