By Jessica Mackin-Cipro
It's a restaurant with only appetizers. Chef James Tchinnis creates a wonderful balance of small plates, great for sharing, at Swallow East in Montauk. The atmosphere is fun and inviting.
It's suggested that each diner order two or three dishes each, so that the other diners can partake. My friend and I decided to do just that and share each of our dishes, creating somewhat of a six-course tasting menu.
Swallow is also a great place to go for cocktails. You can sip while listening to live music and enjoying beautiful water views. We tried the Smoke Sow cocktail, which includes Mezcal, Oro de Lidia tequila with fresh lime, and agave. It is a delicious cocktail.
We started with one of the lighter dishes, the summer rolls, comprised of seasonal vegetables, basil, peanuts, and sesame vinaigrette. It was the perfect starter (or shall we say warm up) dish.
The fresh burrata is excellent for sharing. It's served with watermelon, candied sunflower seeds, Saba, and basil, providing an ideal flavor balance.
Next up were the crispy fish tacos. The dish comes with two small tacos, stuffed with local fresh fish, pineapple pico de gallo, and a jalapeno aioli.
The crispy calamari was recommended to us and did not disappoint. It also had a clever presentation, served in a Chinese takeout box with chopsticks.
We had to try the lobster toast. Served on Carissa's pickled rye, the delicious lobster was accompanied by nori-yuzu aioli and wasabi tobiko.
Last but not least for our savory choices was the grass-fed skirt steak, served with sweet potato puree and shaved Brussels sprouts. The dish, along with our entire experience, was extremely enjoyable.
We were left with just enough room to be tempted by dessert. The dishes are small, so it's quite possible to try many, especially when sharing. It's a nice way to taste a myriad of items on the well-rounded menu. We split the key lime pie with a graham cracker crust, strawberry reduction, and fresh garden mint. The presentation was lovely, as was the taste.
Swallow East hosts live music all summer long. This week the lineup includes Hello Brooklyn, Oogee Wawa, Royal Khaoz, and Kathleen Fee.
As the restaurant's website stated, "The swallow is a bird that chooses a mate for life and returns home every year. For centuries sailors would have swallows tattooed on them to symbolize home and love. Here at Swallow we want you to feel as though you are visiting with us in our home, and hope you will return just like the swallow."
We intend to return, just like the swallow.