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Montauk: Small plates, big flavors

Heirloom cherry tomatoes and housemade ricotta toppings star

Heirloom cherry tomatoes and housemade ricotta toppings star on crostini at Ruschmeyer's in Montauk on August 2014. Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti

Something old and something new add up to something very good in Montauk.

And, equally important, they're open well beyond Labor Day.

New is The Harbor Raw Bar & Lounge, which brings a minimalist look and a lot of flavor to the harbor area. Chef Pierre Rougey previously cooked at Barrique and now-gone Emerson's in Babylon. Here, he specializes in small plates.

Recommended: lustrous Montauk fluke crudo, with pink grapefruit and Sichuan-spice oil and tuna carpaccio with soba noodle salad; surf-and-turf tacos starring fried fluke and spicy pork; short-rib sliders with fontina cheese and tomato marmalade; and "drunken" lobster flambeed in whiskey-tarragon sauce. Fine oysters, too, from locals to Malpeques and Beausoleils.

Post-dinner, The Harbor becomes a nightlife magnet and a mixologist's funhouse.

Ruschmeyer's is a name familiar to anyone who has visited Montauk over the decades. The resort currently sports a sharp, contemporary restaurant in a dining room that evokes an updated upstate lodge, complete with a water view.

Enjoy the smoked bluefish salad, accented with creme fraiche, radish and dill; shishito peppers flecked with bottarga; and crostini topped with heirloom tomatoes, housemade ricotta and basil.

Try the clam fritters with bacon-thyme aioli. Nibble on a wood-fired pizza, either a tasty Margherita or a satisfying clam pie with chilies, oregano, bacon and garlic.  Have a meaty lobster roll or splashy striped bass with chorizo, heirloom beans, littlenecks and saffron.

You can effortlessly reach $50 to $75 per person at either spot. But you won't mind, either.

The Harbor Raw Bar & Lounge, 440 West Lake Dr., Montauk; 631-668-8260.

Ruschmeyer's Hotel Kitchen Bar, 162 Second House Rd., Montauk; 631-668-2877.