240 Fort Pond Rd, Montauk
(631) 238-5430


Ambiance: Elaborate East End Eating

Arbor in Montauk kicked off in late May, a little more than a week before Memorial Day. Although it was still ironing out some kinks when I visited, Arbor has a lot going for it, including a gifted French chef, some Mediterranean-skewed dishes and a bright, airy, sunken dining room with wrap-around half walls that allow gentle tropical breezes to flow over guests.

Though this hip newcomer is a standard issue Montauk restaurant in many ways, it’s a handsome upscale spot serving sophisticated, pricey dishes that are cooked with a knowing hand and meticulously presented. The gifted executive chef is Pierre Sudre from southern France. After his culinary education in France and stints in its Languedoc-Roussillon region, he was a chef in Sofitel hotel kitchens in Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

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Cucumber and watermelon salad, Goodale feta, seabean and raita dressing

Starting off, the crusty chunks of bread here are among the best around, but if you want a second basket, you’ll probably have to ask for it. Although there is no appetizer section on the menu, a spectacular salad of kale, quinoa, pickled radishes, cauliflower and almonds shot through with roasted garlic dressing ($12) is recommended. So are the small plates that can be shared by two diners as a starter. The gambas (three grilled shrimp skewers, $16) with anis flambé are lovely and briny in equal measure. Even better are the three soft lamb short ribs ($14) that can be sucked off the bones.

For entrées, the roasted chicken ($28) is tender, juicy and extracts more flavor than seems possible from a familiar dish (it’s also one of only two entrées that cost less than $30). The rare-cooked Crescent duck snuggles up to maple glazed turnips and cauliflower purée ($31). And the market fish of the day was a dense and meaty black sea bass ($37).

In addition to 12 beers on tap and 6 bottles, wines are available by the glass, flight and bottle ranging $45-560. The four desserts ($11)—lemon panna cotta, chocolate tart, profiterole sundae and the usual ice creams and ices—are just a half step above run of the mill. Yet the ingredients are fresh and distinctive, and portions are sufficient without being too large.

richard jay scholem

Richard Jay Scholem practically invented the Long Island restaurant culture through 800+ reviews of the region's eateries both on radio and in print over the last 30 years. He is a former New York Times Long Island Section restaurant reviewer, has contributed to the Great Restaurants of...magazines and Bon Vivant, authored a book, aired reviews on WGSM and WCTO radio stations, served on the board of countless community and food and beverage organizations, and received many accolades for his journalism in both print and broadcast media. He is currently available for restaurant consultation. Reach him at (631) 271-3227.