Hot tamales! A new Mexican “it” spot opens its doors in Amagansett.
“In some respects, we made it up, but the translation makes sense,” says restaurateur Mark Smith of the newly named regional Mexican hot spot Coche Comedor, which loosely means “dining car.” The Amagansett venue is the latest venture from the team behind Nick & Toni’s and the adjacent La Fondita, among others, and highlights Mexican flavors while embracing the bounty of local Hamptons products. With the restaurant’s retro exterior intact, diners will discover a completely reimagined interior, featuring blue-stained wood-planked walls, custom banquettes, geometrically tiled black-and-white floors and an eye-popping graffiti feature by Host 18. Local artists were also engaged in creating one-of-a-kind tabletops, but the visual flair merely whets the palate for chef Joe Realmuto’s flavor-packed menu.
It had been 20 years since Smith and Realmuto first traveled to Veracruz and Oaxaca to immerse themselves in Mexican cuisine. A recent trip to Mexico City revealed that the punchy flavors of salsas and smoked meats, along with freshly caught seafood, are as relevant as ever. “We’ve pulled elements from a lot of different regions and also found inspiration in our barbecue place, Townline BBQ,” says Realmuto, who turned, once again, to J&R Manufacturing for a custom-built wood rotisserie that now churns out chicken, duck and other meats with a hint of hickory and white oak. Hand-pressed tortillas provide the perfect vessel, along with dollops of housemade moles and salsas. Paying homage to the East End’s vibrant fishing community, ceviches and an ever-changing raw bar offer bright bites that pair brilliantly with citrus-forward cocktails.
Coche Comedor’s beverage program offers a nod to Mexico’s most notable spirit, tequila, and appears in fresh-pressed fruit margaritas and frozen varieties. A spotlight also shines on the lesser-known mezcal (made from different types of the agave plant), which often has a scotch- like smoky finish and pairs well with rotisserie offerings.
Coche Comedor’s dining room is open nightly for dinner, as well as weekend brunch, but lunchtime visitors can mosey up to the steel bar for cocktails and raw bar items. 74 Montauk Highway, Amagansett, 631-267-5709, cochecomedor.com
Photography by: Photography by Doug Young