Montauk restaurant Crow's Nest impresses with Chef John Yashinowsky, renovations
August 26, 2015 By PETER M. GIANOTTI
John Yashinowsky cooks the last good meal on Long Island.
He's doing it at the Crow's Nest, just west of the Montauk Lighthouse. Yashinowsky started his career there as a dishwasher decades ago. This year, he returned as executive chef. In between, he was a private chef, plus chef-owner of the departed Caswell's in Montauk and chef at Fresno in East Hampton, earning two 2-star ratings in Newsday.
The Crow's Nest has undergone a stunning makeover in recent years, with major renovations in the dining room, the hotel, and the style. The cloudy fish tank with it's lonely little shark is long gone. And the restaurant now is a magnet, for its sunset views, lively social scene, and very good food.
Yashinowsky's standouts include tagliatelle with blue crab claw meat, lemon, olive oil and a rush of Calabrian chilies. It's spicy, subtle, and very satisfying. Montauk striped bass gets a spark from harissa that's balanced with a note of honey and black quinoa. Curried vegetables also are recommended, aromatic and full-flavored. Start with fluke crudo accented with black Hawaiian salt; a local kale salad with pine nuts and Parmesan; or fresh ricotta with local honey and grilled bread. Olive oil cake tops the desserts. All this adds up to a hefty tab. But Yashinowsky's fare and the revived restaurant are worth the cost and the drive.
Crow's Nest is at 4 Old West Lake Dr., Montauk,
Montauk Wedding for One Hundred Guests, 2006
Just wanted to let you know how happy we were with the reception and particularly the food. My friends and family are foodies and they could not stop talking about the quality of the food served... Everything was delicious, hot and perfectly cooked.I heard many times.... "that was the best food they have every eaten at a wedding".I especially liked the lobster taco and the pumpkin/crab soup.
Thanks again for making our night memorable. We look forward to seeing you again soon.
Jim and Tina Brennan
27 East- first time co/owner 1990
A la Carte; Restaurants in Montauk Are Beginning to Make Waves
By RICHARD JAY SCHOLEM
Published: June 27, 1993
MONTAUK is stirring. The restaurants in this rustic port at the tip of the Island still cater to more fishermen, families, day trippers and campers than trendy Hamptons types.
But the quality of Montauk Point's eating places is improving and starting to attract more and more sophisticated diners. A new wave of more affluent permanent residents who often went to the Hamptons to dine helped spur the change.
Twenty-Seven East Restaurant and Bar, a seafood spot with an eclectic menu, opened in February 1990 in the shell of a classic 1950's dining car. John Yashinowsky, the chef, who along with John Erb owns 27 East, said he tried "to be creative while using ingredients that people are familiar with." Among his most popular dishes are blackened tuna with citrus salsa and Southwestern roasted-chicken breast.
Mr. Yashinowsky, who worked as a sous chef for Norbert Schultz, a master chef, in Santa Barbara, Calif., changes the menu according to the season. His current signature dish is Blackened Blackfish Fettuccini with sweet-pepper-cilantro cream. The beverage of choice at 27 East is beer. Its imported and American microbrewery beer list is the largest on the East End.
Two Stars - Reviewed by Peter M. Gianotti, 6/13/04.
8 Fresno Place East Hampton, NY 631-324-8700
September 4, 2010
John Yashinowsky, formerly chef-owner of Caswell's and Gianni's in Montauk, makes American nouvelleties with local ingredients and accents Euro, Asian and Hamptonian.
Joining him in this enterprise are David Loewenberg, co-owner of red/bar brasserie in Southampton and The Beacon in Sag Harbor, and Michael Nolan, once owner-manager of Miracle Bar & Grill in Manhattan. The collective experience shows.
Fresno is a smooth, streamlined, noisy operation, neatly choreographed and carefully appointed down to the zinc-topped bar, where some Saturday-night diners find a seat to eat their Fresno burgers. The hues are airy earth tones, the lighting subdued. And the staff gingerly moves things along.
You'll quickly finish the velvety charred tuna, sliced and slouching on a hillock of respectable, cool soba noodles that offer hints of sesame, soy and wasabi.
A crisp, blue-corn-crusted, soft-shell crab rests on a mound of snappy, chunky avocado salsa. Take a mellow turn with the inviting Maine-meets- Milan lobster-and-crab risotto, flecked with sweet corn.
Less appealing is the shrimp in phyllo, which may remind you simply of overcooked shellfish wrapped in Shredded Wheat. The shrimp aren't very spicy, either, and the mango-star fruit chutney sounds more enticing than it is. You're better off with mussels flavored with tomato, fennel and saffron.
Salads are lively little affairs and respectable alternatives to the appetizers. The combo of hearts of palm, avocado and tomatoes in a cilantro-chile sauce is good. Likewise the house salad with organic greens, yellow and red tomatoes, drizzled with a sherry vinaigrette. The Thai salad translates into a zesty union of tatsoi, mizuna, green papaya and a dressing fueled by chiles and mint.
Mild, herb-crusted organic salmon heads the school of fish, buoyed by green lentils, haricots verts and leeks. The North Fork blackfish also is recommended, seared, then sent to the oven and ultimately accompanied by truffled potatoes and roasted mushrooms.
Vinous, meaty, grilled portobello mushrooms are the centerpiece of a spirited vegetarian course, which includes well-seasoned, savory mashed cauliflower and sauteed spinach.
The grilled, double-cut pork chop looks big enough to satisfy more than one of the house's studiously slim diners. The juicy number gets a gloss of tamarind sauce and the company of roasted sweet potatoes.
"Duck two ways" must refer to the cuts. This is no rare-breast-and-confit-of-leg duet. The sliced breast and the leg are just overcooked and aren't rescued by the dried cherry sauce. Instead, sample the pan-roasted chicken with mustard sauce, plus garlic mashed potatoes.
Yashinowsky's kitchen sends out a professional, Tahitian vanilla Creme brulee and an updated berry cobbler that makes you remember homey, crumblier ones with greater fondness.
The obligatory dessert, however, is the terrine of chocolate, a Belgian bricklet set in Kahlua-spiked sabayon. The warm chocolate cake naturally comes with warm chocolate sauce and a scoop of espresso ice cream.
Did you expect decaf?
DINING OUT; An East Hampton Makeover
By JOANNE STARKEY
Published: July 11, 2004
8 Fresno Place, East Hampton (631)324-8700
ATMOSPHERE -- Sleek, summery newcomer.
SERVICE -- Sharp, helpful and nice.
SOUND LEVEL -- Very loud at peak times.
RECOMMENDED DISHES -- All salads, corn chowder, serrano-wrapped shrimp, spaghetti with clams and chorizo, blackfish, surf and turf, all desserts.
FRESNO'S recipe for success is a sure thing: two experienced and hardworking restaurateurs, a talented chef and an East Hampton location that has had winners in the past.
Those savvy restaurateurs are David Loewenberg, who is also co-owner of the red/bar brasserie in Southampton and the Beacon in Sag Harbor, and Michael Nolan, who was once the owner and general manager of the Miracle Bar & Grill in Manhattan. The chef is John Yashinowsky, who made his name at Caswell's in Montauk.
Diners with long memories will recall other restaurants on this site, most of them named for the street address on Fresno Place. The last occupant of the building was Santa Fe Junction, a restaurant whose name was a reference to its Southwestern food and proximity to the East Hampton railroad station.
The Southwestern look is gone. The building's exposed ceiling beams remain, but the décor is sleek, not rustic. The cream-colored walls are mostly bare. One modern painting, tucked into a far corner of the room, and a few orchid plants on a brick half-wall that separates the dining room from the bar are the only decorations. The restaurant's zinc-topped bar makes its own statement.
A long leather banquette lines one wall. Tables are bare, as are the dark wood floors. Tabletops are thick, sensuous, smooth blocks of dark wood. It would be a crime to cover them with cloths, but all the hard surfaces in the room add up to a shouts-only conversation level. A two-foot band of sound-absorbing material rings the room near the ceiling, but at peak times it doesn't subdue the noise.
The owners' experience was evident in the dining room. They hired and trained a staff that was near perfect. Bread, butter and water arrived before diners could settle in their chairs. When additional bread was brought, more butter also appeared, a necessity often overlooked. The owners are on the spot, keeping an eye on everything, sometimes acting as wine stewards or offering a free after-dinner drink.
Waiters were helpful. One evening, I ordered a salad and a bowl of spaghetti with clams and chorizo. The server asked if the appetizer- or entrée-size portion of pasta was desired. I had not thought of ordering the former, but it was exactly right. That dish was a treat, with each bite fueled by the smoky sausage and garlic.
Salads were our favorite openers. A stunner was the Thai salad with tatsoi, mizuna and cubes of ripe papaya in a mint-chili pepper dressing. It was mildly spicy and had ribbons of crunchy noodles for textural contrast. Julienne strips of hearts of palm in a cilantro dressing made creamy by avocado was another hit. So, too, was the Fresno salad of mixed greens and marinated red and yellow teardrop tomatoes in a spirited sherry vinaigrette. Listed with the appetizers rather than salads was a wonderful plate of baby arugula laced with paper-thin slices of melon and crowned with equally thin shards of serrano ham. But the oranges that encircled the plate turned out to be ordinary navels, not the promised blood variety.
Other openers that rang the bell were grilled serrano-wrapped shrimp atop a flavorful mélange of roasted tomatoes, peppers and capers; and a wonderful corn chowder loaded with big chunks of crab meat. But skip the sea scallop ceviche. The lime juice that ''cooked'' the seafood was overpowering. The dish was just plain sour.
There were a few duds among the entrees as well. The burger was ordinary and its French fries lackluster. A grilled sirloin was also nothing special, but an offering of surf and turf was terrific: an especially flavorful filet mignon and seared sweet sea scallops. Another yummy special was North Fork blackfish served over mashed potatoes with a necklace of chanterelles.
Desserts were delights: a warm three-berry cobbler crowned with vanilla ice cream, a thick satiny crème brûlée, a terrine of Belgian chocolate as rich as a slab of fudge, a molten-center chocolate cake with espresso ice cream and especially a tangy blackberry sorbet covered with fresh blackberries.