About two weeks ago, I had the pleasure of touring The Montauk Lake Club & Marina, nestled along East Lake Drive with breathtaking views of Lake Montauk. The club was originally built as a private residence in 1929 during the Carl Fisher era as part of the Montauk Dream, which was a plan to create an ocean-side hamlet and playground for the rich and famous.
The Montauk Lake Club has been a private club since the 1980’s. It is a awe-inspiring place to come to and escape the crowds and busy scene from within the center of Montauk. The location couldn’t be better and the experience is paired with professional and caring staff members, many of whom I met during my visit. The Restaurant Manager of ten years, Brian Reid, was so kind and gave me a full tour of the property, from the pool area and fitness center to the handsome bedrooms where many members choose to have their weekend guests stay for some luxurious privacy. Quite a few of the rooms were booked during the tour, but I did get to see a two bedroom suite in addition to the Presidential Suite. Why is it called the Presidential Suite? Because at one time, former President Richard Nixon stayed in that room!
During Memorial Day Weekend, their season opener is the Members Only Memorial Day BBQ held at the club. During the three major summer holidays, Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day, there are barbecues held during the day with a very family-friendly focus. For example, during their Memorial Day BBQ Elsa from the Disney film, Frozen, was present, and in July they are planning to have exotic animals.
They will have a Members Only Cocktail Party on June 27th paired with a stunning view of the sunset across the lake. Two lobster bakes with a full buffet and live music will be held this summer. One will be July 25th and the second will be August 22nd. Last year, the club hosted the Wounded Warrior “Hook & Slice” Foundation event last fall, and plan to host it again this year. They have also hosted the Greenery Scenery Event for the past four years that is a cocktail party held in mid August. Also, every fall the club honors their kids with cancer with a two day event in Montauk. On Friday nights, they have a Happy Hour from 5:30pm to 7pm. They also have a Kid’s Happy Hour from 5:30pm-6:30pm poolside with “nibbles and nibblets.” Though the club is seasonal, the fitness center is open year round and is a very popular place for members to workout. Personal trainers are available upon request.
As for events such as weddings and rehearsal dinners, the club does allow outside groups as long as you join as a member first. This is inclusive in the site fee. All large events, 50 people or more, are hosted on the lawn and under a tent. They staff all events and cater all events. Every event is customized: menu, set up, etc.
After the tour, I met with Executive Chef Ricky Hebson has been with The Montauk Lake Club since 2012 and is the leader in creating a scrumptious menu for the 200+ members. We had the memorable opportunity to dine at the restaurant as we watched the sun set across the lake. The menu changes biweekly with a focus on in-season foods while maintaining a farm to table dining experience.
Popular dishes the week we dined there were their Steamed Mussels in Parmesan cream cured tomatoes basil and crispy shallot, the Black Sea Bass, Duck a L’orange Wings with watercress radish salad with pickled kumquats. “In the summer we try to keep the menu light and seasonal showcasing local fruits, vegetables and seafood,” explains Hebson. “For insistence, Watermelon Panzanella with pickled watermelon rhine hydro watercress, charred red onion, ricotta salata, baby heirloom tomato and lemon olive oil drizzle.
“I like big bold flavors and a great product to work with. I just like to push my staff and myself so we’re constantly being creative and learning from one another,” says Hebson.
Chef Hebson is very friendly and will often visit his member patrons at their tables and make a personal introduction. “I enjoy the interaction with the members. It gives me a chance to get to know them one on one. One of the best ways is we do ‘hook and cook’ for the members. Of course, there being a lot of fisherman coming to the area for vacation, we take their catch of the day and turn it into a dish or dishes to inspire. We take requests or they let me choose what to do, from appetizers to entrees. This experience allows me to be able to have contact with the guests and to understand their expectations from me as well.”
The Chef certainly did a phenomenal job not only with creating the menu but with the careful preparation and cooking of each dish. My husband and I ate our hearts out. Each dish was superb, we had nothing but positive compliments. Though it would be impossible to choose a favorite, I just loved the concept of the surf on turf “Oyster on Piggy Back” Crostinis which were so succulent. The Sea Bass was very fresh and I loved the colorful details that were part of the preparation for that dish. The Pineapple Upside Down Cake was surreal. We had some leftovers to bring home and I don’t think those leftovers made it into the fridge. We stayed up that night and ate the rest of our meals, and I am being completely serious. Any guest who you may choose to bring to The Montauk Lake Club will be swept off their feet. They will be impressed beyond words and will be raving about their one-of-a-kind experience for months to come. The service was like a well oiled machine. Every aspect was flawless.
The Montauk Lake Club is a members only club and only members are allowed on the property. If you happen to know a member of the MLC, I highly suggest coming for dinner as their guest and perhaps you would want to join too!
The MLC is open from about May 1st thru November 30th. Membership is tentatively granted upon being invited by a current club member. A family of four is included in the membership. For more information, please visit http://montauklakeclub.com/