Another Roadside Attraction: Amagansett’s La Fondita

La Fondita (74 Montauk Highway, Amagansett) is a sprawling taco stand dressed up and priced up for the Hamptons but well within the area’s expectations of restrained excess.

Every weekend its picnic benches fill with local surfers on the way back from Montauk and sundry Manhattanite families loading up before the journey back to the City.  Beers are sipped not slammed, even by the sun and wave addled day trippers and summer renters.

This is not a Cabo Wabo Sammy Hagar tequila shot crowd.  Rather, it’s more veteran seventies Saturday Night Live.  In fact, when I was last there, G.E. Smith stood waiting patiently for his order.  For the record, his leonine hair and Dick Tracy rock star chin are still in full effect.

That said, the attraction here isn’t bold-faces, but the authentic and informal food and feel.  Open kitchen doors and the attendant flies—locally raised and mainly organic—help maintain a refreshing rusticity, as do the coarse corn flour tortillas and quality meat fillings in the tacos.

Among the standouts, the pork in the carnitas tacos had delightfully crusty fatty crisped edges.  Some of the best fat I’ve eaten since I polished off a plate of Hill Country’s brisket and burnt ends.

La Fondita’s chorizo taco, however, was an unmitigated disaster, as was the torta made with the same base ingredient.  The so-called sausage resembled nothing so much as roseate baby pap.  Put another way, it looked like sausage flavored soft serve.  In a word, repulsive.  Fortunately, Baja style fish tacos were excellent and redemptive.

Given the inevitable wait for made to order food—this isn’t Chipotle Grill factory Mexican—it’s a good idea to pick up some chips and salsa to pass the time.  However, don’t even think about freshening up in a bathroom.  There’s none in sight.  Or rather, there is one in sight but not in a traditional form.  A few toddlers make pit stops in the “enchanted bamboo forest” that rings the property and obscures the view of the garden center next door.  Most adults show a bit more restraint…most.

As far as Mexican food goes, La Fondita is the best in the area for now, but given the burgeoning Latin American community on Long Island, it’s ripe for some competition, perhaps a more regionally specific restaurant with indoor seating…and plumbing.  I’d drink to that.

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One Response to “Another Roadside Attraction: Amagansett’s La Fondita”

  1. Mary M. Says:

    Glad to see you’re writing a again. If I ever take the Jitney to the Hamptons, I’ll have to give your recs a shot.

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