June on the North and South Forks are for fatties. It’s almost mandatory to exchange your business casual attire for elastic pants, flip-flops and a thermos of sugar-laden margaritas worn around your neck on a nylon strap. Those lucky enough to spend summers “Out East” will tell you it’s traditional to gorge yourself on local seafood, fresh produce, perfect pastry and if you’re smart, Long Island wines. (More on these in the future.) Your life in Manhattan fades away into a forgotten suggestion of how to navigate days, a system you’ll pick up again in September.
Blow off your workout regiment: Don’t do Pilates, eat pie. Calories don’t count on either fork.
But sometimes the habits of your former routine sneak though the craft beer and double ice cream cones and cause you to put down the fried clams and look for something lighter. For me, that means Japanese food. In the city, I seek out some form of Asian cuisine at least four times a week. Here, I haven’t had a lot of luck with sushi. I mean, no place is perfect.
Why the hell would you want lame rolls when you have all the steamers in Long Island at your disposal? You may ask. Because. Varity is the spice of life and you’d get sick of French fries (the worlds most perfect food) if you had them every day too.
Luckily, when I have a yen (sorry had too) for a taste of home, there’s Suki Zuki in Watermill right off Montauk Highway.
The exterior is so non-descript that I forgot to photograph it. In the sometimes artificially posh world of the Hamptons, the no-frills, one-room restaurant is unassuming and refreshing… until night time, when the laid back dining room turns into a riot — especially on Friday nights when weekenders flood the place faster than Hurricane Irene. The evening candle lit atmosphere may be more conducive to date night, but you’ll have to do more than one sake bomb to deal with the crowds. I stick to lunchtime.
Suki Zuki is one of those rare places where the items that sound the least authentic taste the best.
My perfect meal starts with gyoza, followed by the teriyaki chicken salad. The fresh greens, chicken breast and crunchy Asian noodles are made even better by dousing the dish with your leftover ponzu sauce.
I order yellowtail sashimi and save most of my appetite for the Tuna Sandwich. This isn’t the mayo heavy salad you’re forced to eat in a hospital cafeteria.
Suki Zuki’s version a spicy tuna roll is fashioned to look like a perfectly proper tea sandwich. The fresh fish mixed with scallion and tempura flakes somehow is made better when spread onto ‘bread’ shaped triangles of rice. Especially when it appears your Mom remembered to cut your crusts off.
Speaking of your Mom – she doesn’t work at Suki Zuki. There’s no love note on your napkin or snack pack in your lunch box. The wait staff and management are curt and all business. Like the décor, no flourishes. But that’s ok; I don’t come to Suski Zuki for the service. If you want a 5-star Manhattan dining experience, lucky for you, Nobu with be gracing Southampton with its presence again this year.
Go there, so there’s more room for me at the bar.