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Something different anchored down in Long Beach earlier this summer. Craig Attwood, a name East End regulars may remember from his stints at Jedediah Hawkins Inn and East Hampton Point, opened Five Ocean Bar & Grill just off the boardwalk Memorial Day Weekend.
The casual restaurant has quickly become a hotspot for its comfort food, its patio built on the sand and a view of the ocean that can only be described as otherworldly.
“The view you have, you have the boardwalk right there,” Attwood said. “You can just sit outside, and people are saying the same thing, ‘There’s nothing like this in Long Beach.’”
Five Ocean is a new style for Attwood, who focused on fine dining on the East End. Though he isn’t ruling out opening a fancier restaurant in the future, his new digs aren’t far from home. Attwood was raised in Lindenhurst and has been a beach bum since birth.
“I grew up at Cedar Beach. It was my life,” he said. “Every summer, I was fishing or surfing. That’s a passion. If I had more time, I’d go fishing.”
Attwood, who also has family in Long Beach, may not have much time to fish, but he is trying to reel in locals who do. He admitted to missing how the large contingency of local farmers and fishermen made it easy to craft a locavore menu on the East End, but he’s uncovered some go-to’s for fresh catches farther west.
“[I’ve tried] to get to know [my] locals. I spoke with a customer who said, ‘My brother has a boat right here, he’s going out fishing,” he said. “They just had tuna and Mahi and didn’t know what to do with it. I was like, ‘I’ll buy the Mahi up.’”
Monkfish is the fish of the moment at Five Ocean. Attwood puts it in tacos and is using it as an entree. That cliché that monkfish is a poor man’s lobster? Don’t say it within earshot of the chef.
“People eat shellfish, and they eat lobster. I don’t think [monkfish] tastes like lobster,” he said. “I think [monkfish] is a nice delicate fish, a little bit meaty. When you cook it right with salt, pepper and lemons and sear it, it’s a great fish, and it’s not overfished.”
Other fast-casual favorites include buttermilk fried chicken and burgers. The approachable menu fits the vibe. Swimmers are welcome to come as they are, flip-flops and towels included. There’s live music and an open kitchen for anyone who can’t stand the sight of the ocean any longer (or wants to chat up Attwood and his staff). Attwood hopes to keep the conversations flowing after the sun sets on summer. A fall menu is in the works and wine dinners are a possibility.
Regardless of the season, Attwood hopes Five Ocean remains an oasis on the Island.
“When you sit there you don’t feel like you’re on Long Island at all … you can sit … and smell the ocean at night.”
Five Ocean is located at 5 New York Ave., Long Beach.