Forget all previous notions you may have of Greek food, because the new Old Stove Pub in Sagaponack is here to blow all of your expectations out of the park. Few salty meats and pungent smells fill this gem of a restaurant, which just opened in September. Instead, this unique eatery serves up delicious Greek-inspired cuisine, along with some of the staples of a good steakhouse, all in a great, very unpretentious atmosphere. They don’t even have a website, as they are striving to maintain a certain level of old-world charm—and they succeed.
I headed out to this lovely restaurant one night for dinner with Papa Z, both of us eager to try some new foods despite the pouring rain. As we pulled up to the restaurant, marked by a simple sign on Montauk Highway, we noticed two things that set this location apart. First, it’s right across the street from a big cornfield, and second—the most important—is the building itself: it’s located in a house. The majority of the tables are located on the “porch” part of the house—enclosed by big glass windows—with the kitchen in the actual “living” section of the house. This allows diners a lot of views of the outside, but if that’s not even enough (and if it’s not raining…) you can opt to sit at one of their outside tables.
The moment we walked up to the door, Manager George Gounelas personally welcomed us in and sat us at a lovely corner table. We started off our meal sampling a few of their most highly recommended Greek appetizers. I ordered Melitzanosalata (eggplant pureed with goat cheese into a type of hummus-like spread with pita triangles; only for those who really like a smoky flavor) and Papa Z asked for the Saganaki, which may have been one of the most delicious dishes we could imagine: it was a Greek cheese, melted in a casserole dish and somewhat like a fondue. We both exchanged looks of amazement as soon as we tried the cheese because it had such a rich and delicious flavor. We also tried the traditional Spanikopita (a hard-to-believe kind of delicious mix of spinach, leeks, scallions and feta cheese in a crispy filo dough) as an appetizer, and a basic Greek salad, which was anything but basic for just one reason: the delicious feta cheese piled top of the vegetables (huge triangles of the creamy white cheese, which is imported directly from Greece). As soon as Papa Z tried a little bit of the cheese on the edge of his fork, he looked up with quiet happiness and could not even find words when he said, “The feta cheese was…” while shaking his head in disbelief.
Believe it or not, we managed to eat a main course after the feast that was our appetizers. The top recommendation of the night was the World Class Steak for two, a 32-ounce, aged steak, cooked medium to medium-rare. The meat was clearly high quality and a treat for two people, but I would suggest asking to have it cooked a little darker for those who (like me) are unused to very pink meat. Their house steak sauce was also very different—rather than sweet, the primary flavoring seemed to be horseradish. Alongside our main dish we sampled the French fries (cooked in a Greek style, with most of the starch soaked out and with oregano on top), and the Melitzana Papoutsaki—a warm, roasted eggplant dish with tomatoes, onions, and feta cheese on top. Both side dishes were delicious accompaniments for our meal.
By the time they brought out our dessert, I doubted either Papa Z or I could fit another bite, but then we saw what they had brought out: warm, cinnamon-flavored, Greek-style doughnuts in a honey sweet sauce. The mix of flavors and the lightness of the doughnuts perfectly completed our meal (and ensured that we would be coming back soon).
All in all, we enjoyed a lovely, quiet night out in Sagaponack, accompanied by some very delicious Greek dishes. Papa Z summed up the whole evening perfectly: “I’ve been to Greece. This is better than the food in Greece…I can’t wait to come back here.”
Old Stove Pub is located at 3516 Montauk Highway in Bridgehampton. Call 631-537-3300 for more information.