Chef Spotlight: Frank Fuschetto

His M.O.: Merging Fine Dining with Montauk Charm

South Edison restaurant in Montauk, first opened in 2010, was not only among the first of its kind (high-end food in MTK), but it has since outlived many of its competitors. Executive Chef Frank Fuschetto shares some of the ways how it still stands strong.

It’s no secret that New York City dwellers enjoy traveling to and staying in Montauk, but when cooking for a crowd on vacation, do you try and supply dishes familiar to NYC or do you go for something with some Montauk moxie?

I would say we are more Montauk moxie, we try to keep a casual, beachy, relaxed atmosphere with a fine dining approach on Montauk’s local seafood and produce.

People who know your career are aware you have a strong connection to the sweeter side of the menu—so what is the dessert served at South Edison that is a “must” among the musts?

This year’s dessert that’s a must have is our 8-year anniversary sundae. It starts with a devil’s food cake topped with 8 scoops of caramel gelato (it has the flavor profile of creme brûlée) covered in a salted dark chocolate sauce, then topped with chocolate covered pretzels.

Seafood and Montauk go hand-in-hand, as you well know. Does having fresh options arriving by boat only a quick trip from your kitchen inform what you prepare, and does it give you a chance to ever improvise or make twists to your menu?

I try to keep our signature proteins the same i.e. tuna, fluke or sea bass and scallops…and change the menu more from the local produce that is available.

Let’s play “Perfect Plate, Paired:” It’s late July, maybe early August, and the sun is frying Montauk. A party of six come in for dinner: what’s the perfect dish to serve a hungry, heated group, and what drink would you pair with that plate?

I think our tuna entree is pretty filling, we serve yellow fin tuna rare, atop a sauté of wheat berries, haricot vert, blistered cherry tomato, heart of palm, over a harissa cauliflower puree, finished with some crispy capers, Calabrian chili oil and micro daikon radish. I think the basil pepper gimlet would work well with the tuna!

Now let’s picture a romantic situation: a couple arrives, fresh from viewing a sunset off the beach, and they want to keep the, ahem, res stoked—what entrée would you recommend for them, and what’s the right drink to match?

I would suggest starting with a selection of oysters and prosecco, then moving onto the fluke sashimi paired with a cucumber jalapeño margarita, finishing up with a steamed lobster served with our signature street corn paired with a glass of Sancerre. Last but not least enjoying a light and refreshing affogato with coconut sorbet!

Fast-forwarding to late September, and at this point the crowds are dying down, you’re likely seeing more locals than vacationing guests, and the temperatures have dipped to sweater weather. What South Edison meal would you serve to provide a touch of heat, and what’s the right adult beverage to match that food?

I would start with the stracciatella cheese which I make in house, then move onto the pork chop parmigiana. The pork chop does not have your typical tomato sauce, it starts with vinegar braising a medley of hot peppers, and then adding tomatoes and so on! Then topped with gruyere and fontina cheese! Beverage wise I would suggest a nice deep full bodied red wine.

What do you think the immediate future holds for dining in Montauk? Higher profile eateries?Scaled-back? Trendy? Your thoughts:

I feel like Montauk is a trend setter, here at South Edison, we try to keep it a family friendly restaurant to feel like old Montauk, but with the creative approach on food and drinks.