New In Montauk: Sweet, Southern, and Tacos

A few more choices out east
The owners of La Brisa in Montauk: From left, Jack Luber, Dieter Wiechmann, Luis Anguilar, the chef, and Dario Wolos. Janis Hewitt Photos

   Those looking for a quick bite or a sweet treat now have a few more choices out east in Montauk, including two offering Mexican favorites. 
    Since Nicole and Matthew Meehan opened Gringo’s Burrito Grill earlier this spring, there’s been a steady stream of customers walking in and out, fat burritos and plates of tacos in hand. Both have worked in other food-related businesses, but always wanted to own a place of their own and thought Montauk could use a build-your-own burrito, taco, salad, and burrito bowl spot.
    Gringo’s is on the east end of Montauk’s Main Street in the barnlike building that housed an ice cream shop last summer. A counter protected by Plexiglas has all the fixings — sliced chicken, pork, shredded cheeses, steak, and house-made salsas. The vegetarian options are endless. “You see it and you build it,” said Ms. Meehan.
    There are tables and chairs in an upstairs loft area and on a patio out back, and there’s a kids menu. The grill is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
    A little farther west on the plaza in the center of the hamlet is La Brisa, a Mexican restaurant operated by a New York City team that also runs the Mexican eatery Tacombi at Fonda Nolita on Elizabeth Street as well as a fleet of food vans and carts. The Montauk restaurant, in the curved space that was La Bodega last year, is owned by Jack Luber, Dieter Wiechmann, and Dario Wolos, who is from Mexico.
    The space is filled with white picnic tables meant to encourage family style dining, said Mr. Wolos, the group’s spokesperson. The kitchen has been opened up so diners can watch their meals being made. La Brisa makes a variety of salsas, including dried chili de arbol salsa and a chipotle hibiscus flower salsa that will be sold commercially.
    In the center of the kitchen is a tortilla-making machine that is a sort-of throwback to Mr. Wolos’s roots in the food business. Growing up in Mexico, Mr. Wolos ate many a tortilla, most made by his mother. Later, he bought a Volkswagen van and sold his own homemade tortillas out of the open roof, and eventually he brought that van to the United States and put it in the middle of Tacombi, encouraged in the venture by a Montauker who wintered in Mexico.
    Mr. Wolos said he’d like to reach the point where he can supply tortillas to other eateries. Real Mexican tacos, he said, are very different from what Americans may be used to eating. At his restaurants “we try to stay true to the food and make everything from scratch.”
    He and his partners have already formed a business alliance with Gosman’s Fish Market and are using fish straight off local boats for their fish dishes that include seared Veracruzana fish, crispy fish, and, of course, fish tacos. “What’s cool is we are getting awesome fish out here,” Mr. Wolos said.
    Also on the menu is a Mexican mescal, which, according to tradition, should be downed before a meal, Mr. Wolos said, then sipped to signify the meal’s end. Although there are other drinks like beer and sangria on the menu, the bar itself is gone.
    Add these new spots to the dockside restaurant the Hideaway and the takeout joint El Vaquero downtown, and those with a taste for Mexican cuisine have plenty of choices in Montauk this summer.
    Down by the harbor in Montauk, Jason Ulmas has opened Lucky J’s in the small dockside food joint that for many years was Pier One. Now brightly painted with bistro tables inside, the menu is varied but includes a number of Southern dishes like chicken and waffles, collard greens, fried pickle chips, fried green tomatoes, and a Grandma Andy, which is — are you ready for this — Nutella, peanut butter, honey, and bananas. Yum.
    Mr. Ulmas, the executive chef at two restaurants in Texas, originally planned to open a food truck in Montauk, but found that was not as easy as he thought it would be, so he leased the small restaurant instead.
    Also new in Montauk this season is Buddha Berry on South Euclid Avenue, owned by Nancy Passaretti, who said she traveled the country to find the healthiest frozen yogurts available. There are 12 self-serve yogurts that change daily, acai bowls, smoothies, Greek yogurt with no sugar or fat, sorbets, frozen treats, and 60 toppings that patrons select from large jars propped on a wall, some healthy like granola and others not so healthy but oh so good.
    Each day Buddha Berry will offer three sandwiches, a healthy wrap, and a chopped salad.
    The yogurt shop has been painted a smooth orange color and has mosaic-tiled bistro tables and chairs. A yogi, Ms. Passaretti focuses on what’s good for you. “I’ve found that all yogurts are not the same,” she said, and stressed that everything she offers is fresh. “Every berry in this place is treated like a baby,” she said. “You’ll never find a piece of wilted fruit here.”