The Bell & Anchor, David Loewenberg and Chef Sam McCleland’s Noyac outpost, sits overlooking Noyac Bay and Mill Creek Marina, so when my dining partner and I were offered a table, we both chose to sit facing the picture windows. Perhaps not ideal for conversation, but we both wanted to look out over the water as the sun went down. Also, sitting next to each other was going to make it all that much easier to steal food from each other.
And believe me, you’re not going to want to stick to your own plate at The Bell & Anchor. It’s so good, you’re going to want to try a little bit of everything.
For us, that meant starting with a sampling from the raw bar. On a bed of crushed ice, Montauk Pearl oysters, from Lake Montauk, on the half shell set alongside Canadian oysters from New Brunswick, served with classic mignonette and cocktail sauce. Cold and brimming with briny liquor, the Montauk Pearls were incredibly clean-flavored and meaty, while the New Brunswicks had a crisp, mineral clarity. Incidentally, both varieties went perfectly with the ice-cold martini I had thoughtfully ordered and which arrived in its own little brushed-steel cocktail shaker. I love those.
As a point of comparison, we also sampled Kumomoto oysters from the West Coast. After the East Coast varieties, the Kumomotos had a creamy flavor that provided a nice contrast. Local littleneck clams rounded out our raw experience—very fresh and tasty.
Not quite off the oyster train yet, we each tried a P.B. & O, which sounds like a railroad but is actually an oyster topped with a slice of seared pork belly and garnished with kimchi, all rolled in a lettuce leaf. You have to be careful eating one, as they’re pretty drippy, but they’re delicious quasi-Asian porky fun. The Bell & Anchor cures the pork belly in-house, so it’s always fresh.
When we visited The Bell & Anchor, summer was just giving way to fall, and we were caught between savoring the last fruits of summer or looking forward to fall flavors. At The Bell & Anchor, this is a very good place to get caught. We tried a special late-summer salad of grilled peaches, Bibb lettuce, yellow cherry tomatoes, bleu cheese, parmesan, and almonds and found it delightful. The rich lobster Cobb salad with corn, avocado, tomato, egg, bleu cheese, bacon and, of course, lobster, was a pitch-perfect blend of flavors. Ahh, summer!
On the fall side of things, we decided to sample The Bell & Anchor’s Home Port chowder. Now, because it includes white fish pieces and lobster stock as well as clams, this chowder might get ruled out-of-bounds by clam chowder purists. But for the rest of us, this is a truly superior chowder: mild onion flavor, tender potatoes, fresh yet tender plump clams. Yes, I could see this chowder easily fending off the chill on many a cold winter’s night.
Along those lines, the pan-roasted Duroc pork chop entrée, which arrived next, is thick and meaty with a rich mascarpone polenta and plenty of thick gravy. This is highly-refined stick-to-your-ribs eating—you have no choice but to dredge juicy chunks of pork through the polenta and gravy, making for a deeply satisfying experience. The Wind Run pinot noir, recommended by our server, complemented the pork very well indeed. A piece of grilled Atlantic salmon with couscous and lentil salad was also a nicely turned out.
With a restaurant that does so much so well, we always feel compelled to sample the desserts. The Bell & Anchor’s are well worth trying: we accepted the recommendation to try the Key lime parfait, which turned out to be the Holy Grail for my dining partner: the “all goo” dessert, and yummy too. More up my alley was the coconut cake. It’s a proudly dense cake, brimming with coconut flavor, and graced with a cream cheese frosting. A comforting, homey cake expertly done.
The Bell & Anchor offers many local wines, including some on tap, which means very fresh. Local beers include Southampton Publick House and Greenport Harbor. In addition to their a la carte dinner menu, The Bell & Anchor offers a prix fixe Sunday through Thursday and until 6:30 on Friday and Saturday. They also serve a Sunday brunch. Wednesday is lobster night.
The Bell & Anchor, 3253 Noyac Road, Sag Harbor, 631-725-3400, bellandanchor.com