Seasoned restaurateur Ali Fathalla has reentered the Hamptons scene by purchasing the former Olde Speonk Inn and turning it into the Martini Grill. The restaurant, which boasts indoor and outdoor dining, a bar and a pool/game room, opened in late summer and features menu items to satisfy any palate, according to Mr. Fathalla.
Last week, Dining Out visited the restaurant to find out the most popular dish, the chef’s favorite and signature items.
Most Popular: Seafood Paella; prix fixe entrée; $30.
Chef’s Favorite: Dover Sole; special entrée; market price.
Signature: Anything on the menu, said Mr. Fathalla.
People crave the Seafood Paella, Mr. Fathalla said during a visit last Friday. The reason is simple: the dish has chicken, shrimp, mussels and chorizo sausage, as well as shrimp and sometimes even lobster. Mr. Fathalla said that the dish is lightly scented with saffron, is always made to order and comes served in pot.
The recipe has followed the restaurateur for more than 20 years, he reported. “This paella is from the old days, when I first started,” he said.
Mr. Fathalla said that he understands why the dish is such a popular item, but for him, the top-of-the-line dish is definitely the Dover Sole. Though it’s not on the regular menu, the sole is available most days, by reservation only and served one to a customer, he said.
“I’ve only done it that way,” he explained. “So everyone gets the freshest fish every single day.”
The 1½ pound fish is cooked whole and served in a Mornay sauce with butter and lemon, then deboned at the table. It comes with the vegetable of the day and the potato of the day, he said. The market price is currently $36, Mr. Fathalla reported.
Choosing the signature dish was impossible, he said, because every single thing on the menu represents his vision for the restaurant. But what nearly every item—from the Homemade Fresh Mozzarella Sticks ($8.95) and Fresh Fried Calamari ($11.95) to the Filet Mignon Shish Kebab ($30 prix fixe)—has in common is that it’s made inhouse with fresh ingredients, Mr. Fathalla said. The only exception is the ice cream, he added, that’s the only thing that is not homemade.
“These are very personal dishes to me and my clients,” he said. “That’s why I serve them.”
Martini Grill is located on Montauk Highway in Speonk and is open for dinner seven nights a week, starting at 4 p.m. There is live music most Fridays and every Saturday. Happy hour is from 4 to 7 p.m. every day.