An Interview with Chef James Tchinnis of Swallow East

I am honored to introduce my readers to Chef James Tchinnis, The Executive Chef and Owner of Swallow Restaurant in Huntington and Swallow East in Montauk. Chef Tchinnis’s cuisine focuses on casual, sophisticated new American fare with a dash of decadence and an emphasis on local ingredients. A Long Island Native, he has been around great food all his life. His mother cooked regularly at home, exposing Tchinnis to a range of eclectic cuisines and opening his eyes to new flavors and techniques. He is a French Culinary Institute graduate (now The International Culinary Center) and has since worked in some of the finest restaurants in New York, including Le Cirque, The Grand Havana Room and Aliah.

In October 2010, he and his wife, Julie, opened Swallow Restaurant (Little Swallow) in Huntington Village, which was instantly met with rave reviews. At the time, it was a cozy 20-seat restaurant with an open kitchen and an eclectic menu of New American small plates. The popularity grew so quickly, that an expansion was inevitable. In 2013, Swallow completed a renovation that tripled its size. It was in 2012 that Chef Tchinnis opened Swallow East. The restaurant quickly earned a reputation as one of Montauk’s best. Many with whom I have spoken to highly recommended I come to Swallow East. It truly is one of the best spots to dine not only in Montauk but on the East End and for many reasons: family-friendly, fresh local cuisine, and an exceptionally dedicated waitstaff.

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Seamore’s in Montauk

Located at At Knowhere (aka Breakers MTK) at 769 Old Montauk Highway, Seamore’s opened their flagship outpost in Montauk in early July. A stunning ocean view just across the highway awaits visitors to this hip, laid-back dining spot. The dining room is on the upstairs deck and offers outdoor and indoor seating. We chose to sit inside as we preferred a quieter dining experience. It was already getting busy at just before 6pm on a Wednesday with most guests choosing to sit on the deck. There’s also a covered bar below the restaurant overlooking the pool. On the opposite side of the property, there is a spacious lawn for playing outdoor games and for a piece of relaxation.

To drink, my husband had the Montauk ‘Wave Chaser’ on draft ($10) and I had the Cucumber Mint Fresca ($6). The also have a Watermelon Aguas Frescas. I loved that the Fresca was not sweetened and was very thirst quenching. A wedge of lime added the perfect citrus touch. There’s also a curated cocktail menu and wine list.

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Montauk Yacht Club’s The Coast Kitchen

It is such an honor to once again visit the Montauk Yacht Club, located in the heart of Montauk. If you have not visited or have dined at their restaurant, The Coast Kitchen, now is the time to do so. The resort is a private oasis away from the hustle and bustle of Long Island’s easternmost town. The restaurant has created several new changes, including an expansion and revamp of its menu with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients and local catches.

The new Coast Kitchen headed by new Executive Chef Richard Hebson. Hebson, most recently of the First and South in Greenport, is a veteran country club chef and a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts. Chef Hebson is one of the most versatile and talented chefs on the East End. Every dish he creates is exceptional and five star worthy! His menu features several items from the land and sea, including Lobster Corn Chowder, Tuna Poke, Jumbo Lump Crab & Avocado, Filet Mignon, and Cocoa Cured Short Ribs.

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Swallow East

Located in Montauk just minutes from Gosman’s Dock, Swallow East is a hip, chic eatery that is the true heart and soul of out east. Open for lunch and dinner seven days, Swallow East serves up extraordinarily memorable and flavorful fare. I don’t want to spoil it just yet but I had one of the best plates ever at this seaside spot. I encourage every single one of my readers to come in and dine, sip one of their summery cocktails, and listen to the incredible lineup of live bands scheduled for the season. As soon as my husband, daughter and I stepped inside, it instantly became apparent as to why Swallow East is so positively spoken of. Ever since Swallow East open their doors in 2012, dozens of colleagues, neighbors, and friends, have highly recommended this one-of-a-kind restaurant.

It would be difficult for me to think of more than a handful of restaurants that deserve the amount of praise Swallow East has received. The staff is warm, gracious and treats you like part of the family the second you arrive. Their smiles are genuine and they each took the time to make sure that we were comfortable and settled upon arrival. We sat in one of their spacious rooms adjacent to the dock. I strolled along outside with Sarah for a few minutes while our drink order was placed. The salty sea air was so refreshing yet calming. To drink, I had the Nitro Cold Brew Coffee: Sail Away Cold Brew on Tap ($6) and my husband had the Greenport Summer Ale on tap. I have been a fan of Sail Away for a couple of years and could not resist ordering my favorite cold brew coffee.

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The Backyard Restaurant at Solé East 2017

The Backyard Restaurant at Solé East in Montauk is a must visit for locals and visitors who wish to kick back, relax, and enjoy an incredible dinner poolside while listening to singer and guitarist Annie Trezza, who played from 6-9pm. You could easily sit outside (or inside) for hours enjoying a cocktail and your meal while taking breaks from the table playing backyard games and browsing their onsite boutique beach shop, Nibi MTK. It is the perfect spot for the entire family. My daughter loved exploring the property, listening to the live band, and eating dinner with me and my husband. It is rare that a hotel and restaurant offers so much for their guests and is ideally located within minutes of Montauk’s village and the Atlantic Ocean beaches. There is a convenient pathway that will take you right in to town if you wish not to drive.

This past Tuesday’s visit was our first for the season. After arriving early just before 5:30pm, we sat outside at one of their square tables with a perfect viewing point of the live band. We started off with their signature House Cocktail: Hot-Tauk, a mix of Herradura Tequila, Lime, Strawberry, Jalapeño, Cointreau, with a Spicy Salt Rim ($16), their most popular poolside cocktail.
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