A tartine, essentially a French-style, open-faced sandwich with a rich or elaborate topping is hard to resist. Tartinery, the New York City chain, know this all too well and has a devoted fan base since opening in Nolita in 2010. The Surf Lodge in Montauk is hosting a Tartinery pop-up this summer, offering Eli’s multigrain bread with toppings of either local lobster, organic smoked salmon, yogurt and cucumber or the decadent, and very French, Croque Madame, to name a few. Fresh juices complete the experience; feel free to throw a shot of rum in the “Delicious Trio” of apple, pineapple and orange juice.
While on a recent visit to The End, I sat down with close friends and co-founders Nicolas Dutko and Alicia Rountree and chatted about this successful and delicious venture.
Hi Nico and Alicia! What made you decide on a pop-up, rather than renting your own space?
For our first venture in Montauk, we thought it would be smarter and cooler to partner with a local institution. When the opportunity to partner with Surf Lodge arose, we jumped on it. Setting up in a traditional space takes a lot of time and is more risky. Now that we introduced our brand to Montauk and received very positive feedback, we will definitely consider opening a larger venture next season, with Surf Lodge again or maybe on our own.
What makes the Surf Lodge and Tartinery such a good fit?
Surf Lodge and Tartinery have lots of similarities. We share the same lifestyle and have a compatible clientele. We both deliver a simple and well executed product, no fuss.
That lobster tartine is pretty amazing. I am curious, it that your most popular order?
The lobster tartine, which we call The Surf Lodge, was created for the Surf Lodge pop-up. It became very fast our best-seller, not only at Surf Lodge but also at our other locations in the city. It’s lighter and more delicate than a traditional lobster roll, people are craving for it!
When did the initial idea of opening Tartinery originate? Did you find the New York restaurant scene lacking something?
The initial idea came when we moved to New York in 2007 and rapidly realized the lack of casual chic concepts in the city. Tartines were very poplar in France and eaten by everyone; we thought we had a card up our sleeve. It was not an easy task to bring the tartine in the country of sandwiches, but we did it.
The bread, is that the key ingredient? Tell us about flying bread in from Poilâne in Paris.
Yes the bread is the key ingredient. Not only it needs to be good, but also sliced at the right thickness (9 millimeters is ideal) and perfectly toasted. One of the breads we offer in the city comes from the renowned Poilâne bakery in Paris. We receive it three times a week by FedEx. It’s a thick-crusted sourdough loaf, perfect for our use. Some people think we’re crazy, but we still haven’t found a comparable product locally.
Alicia, as a model, has working and traveling influenced what you like to eat and drink?
Yes it has. I’m very lucky I get to travel so much around the world for photo shoots. I always bring some inspiration back with me for new tartines. I’m very curious and love to taste different foods from different cultures.
Nico, you seem to be a big fan of the Croque Madame. Is that your favorite menu item?
Yes the Croque Madame is one of my favorite tartines. Who doesn’t love melted cheese and crispy prosciutto topped with a fried egg?! And don’t forget the béchamel sauce (butter-flour-milk), it makes a huge difference!
What local ingredients are you sourcing? Lobster?
Except for our Poilâne bread and some specific specialty products (smoked salmon, cheeses) we source all our ingredients locally. At Surf Lodge, the lobster comes from Gosman’s in Montauk harbor.
We would love it if Tartinery would share the recipe for the Summer Quinoa Salad. It’s too good not to share.
Of course. The twist is in the dressing, which is miso and ginger based.
Ginger Miso Sauce
1 cup miso paste
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon water
2 garlic cloves
Fresh ginger to taste
Mix garlic and fresh ginger with miso paste. Slowly add olive oil, followed by honey, rice vinegar and water. Add salt and pepper to taste.
12 oz. cooked quinoa
6 oz. diced watermelon
4 oz. edamame
2 red tomatoes, diced
1 avocado, sliced
4 tablespoons ginger miso sauce
In a bowl mix the cooked quinoa, diced watermelon, diced tomato and cooked edamame. Add 1 tablespoon of ginger miso dressing, or more if needed. Place salad on plates with sliced avocado. Garnish with a fennel frond.