Keeping It Fresh at Ruschmeyer’s

A goal of using as much as possible “from right here in our backyard,”
Ruschmeyer’s has added flavor in the form of a new kitchen team, including, from left, Carlos Quirarte, Brian Loiacono, the executive chef, and Matt Kliegman. Melia Marden is not pictured. Carrie Ann Salvi

   A new chef group at Ruschmeyer’s in Montauk is gearing up for a two-year collaboration with a goal of using as much as possible “from right here in our backyard,” said Matt Kliegman, part of the team from the Smile in Manhattan that King and Grove Hotels has hired to operate the restaurant along with the executive chef, Brian Loiacono.
    “Soft-shell crabs are on the menu now, for about another two weeks,” Mr. Kliegman said Sunday. The chefs also source tilefish and swordfish from the docks in Montauk, working closely with Asa Gosman, who was at the restaurant that day. Ruschmeyer’s is getting produce from Balsam Farms in Amagansett.
    Joining Mr. Kliegman from the Smile are Carlos Quirarte and Melia Marden, a young chef who he said has a prodigy-like talent for executing good food in a high-volume environment.
    Proudly showing off items from the Ruschmeyer’s menu, Mr. Kliegman explained how the fluke escabeche, on seven-grain bread from Blue Duck bakery, is topped with lettuce, making it a nice neat way to eat the sumptuous finger food.
    The yellowfin tuna poke is one of Mr. Quirarte’s favorites. He gave props to Mr. Loiacono for the perfect blend of sesame, soy, coriander, and seaweed. Mr. Kliegman said that Mr. Loiacono grew up fishing on frequent camping trips to Hither Hills. “He gets it when it comes to the East End,” he said, adding that the chef has recently returned from Verona, Italy, with new ideas for delicious wood-fired pizzas, including one with white clams, chili, parsley, mascarpone and Parmesan cheeses, and fresh herbs.
    Almost all of the beers on tap are from Long Island, including one from the Montauk Brewery, and the wine list includes many biodynamic, sustainable, and organic wines. Colin Asare-Appiah, the mixologist in residence, created the cocktail menu and said Sunday that he will be adding more and more ingredients from the kitchen to this season’s signature cocktail, the Moscato Crush, among them juicy rhubarb, ginger, and lemongrass. He’ll also be making his own bitters.
    The restaurant welcomes families with open arms, and on Sunday there was a picnic table full of kids, with mocktails, pizza, and minted sugar snap peas. The hotel will offer a number of family-oriented evenings this summer including movie nights and comedy nights, with soy crayons for coloring. Reggae music will be on tap every Sunday afternoon.
    The restaurant’s management is also big on charitable ventures. On Sunday, Mike D from the Beastie Boys was there with his Rockaway Lunch Truck, which he runs in partnership with Robert McKinley, the restaurant’s creative director. Its mission is to “fill plates and build spirits” for residents of Rockaways neighborhoods devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Waves for Water, a nonprofit that works to get clean water to communities without it, served as the umbrella organization for the benefit, but proceeds supported the truck and its work.
    The afternoon included a dunk tank, into which Mike D was willing to take a splash for his charity. The lunch truck, staffed with many top chefs and volunteers, began as a group effort to offer a depressed community hope through the warm gesture of a hot meal.
    Even so many months after Hurricane Sandy, “Warm food is still necessary,” Mike D said.
    “Chefs come to us,” said Sam Talbot, formerly of the Surf Lodge, who is involved in the effort. The benefit also brought D.J. Stretch Armstrong, who volunteered to spin for the crowd and for Mike D, who took the microphone for a half-hour set.