At Inlet Seafood, vast expanses of window afford a multifaceted Montauk vista of narrow waterways, open sea and distant coastlines. A stirring sight, indeed, but what really lured me to this remote spot was the idea of eating fish just pulled from those waters by the restaurant's six fishermen co-owners. Would executive chef John Yashinowsky and the crew behind the sushi bar do justice to that kind of bounty?
The short answer is "yes."
Lunch began with two exemplary rolls from the sushi bar -- one, a light, creamy, chile-spiked spicy tuna roll, the other, a rainbow roll made with fresh tuna and fluke draped over blue claw crab and avocado. A ceviche of Montauk fluke marinated in hot chiles and lime was invigorating yet cooling. I liked the fact that the jumbo lump crab cake was all about crab, not bread crumbs, and was complemented rather than overwhelmed by a bright avocado salsa and sweet-hot red pepper chipotle sauce. But a pile of fried calamari came off rubbery and over-salted. And I wished that the lobster salad generously heaped onto an eggy hot-dog bun had been made with less mayonnaise and -- purist that I am -- no celery.
All shortfalls were forgotten in light of a fluke special, the fish impeccable and lightly crusted with fresh herbs, well-paired with a creamy leek sauce. Even better was a whole grilled porgy, its skin crackling, its flesh sweet, almost flowery, accompanied by a ponzu dip. Here, I thought, was the essence of fish.
A worthy follow-up was the "chef's special" frozen Key lime pie drizzled with coconut caramel sauce. The first icy-cold, citrusy, bite nearly startled a friend off her chair. It's a dessert worth driving to the ends of the earth -- or at least the Island -- for.