Restaurant Review: Muse in the Harbor in Sag Harbor

Chef Matthew Guiffrida
Chef Matthew Guiffrida. Photo: Barbara Lassen

If you live in Sag Harbor like I do, you’re probably something of a Muse in the Harbor regular. Maybe you don’t go often in the high season, but right about now that bar-side fireplace beckons, as does the prix fixe “Economy Gastronomy” menu. And you know what to expect. Chef and co-owner Matthew Guiffrida has come up with a set of fun dishes that have served well. But all of this—the menu, the view, the great service, was new to my friend Hillary Davis, who joined me there recently for dinner.

As the golden light of pre-sunset bathed the village, Hillary was thrilled by the view of the bay dotted with sailboats and, just next to those open doors, the people-watching to be had through the front windows that face Main Street’s sidewalk. A glass of Wölffer Estate Vineyard rosé in hand, it all took her back to her time in St. Tropez.

From the table where the manager Jill seated us, we could see young children in rapt fascination with the large fish tank. That was cute, but as Hillary, a popular cookbook author pointed out, “panfry them—they’d be so cute on toast!” (She was referring to the fish). A cover of “Killing Me Softly” was playing just then, but Reggae wafted down from above throughout the rest of our meal.

Specials that evening included a grilled hanger steak with red potatoes; fusilli in cherry tomato vodka sauce with a piece of mako shark on top; and lobster spring rolls. I went for the spring rolls filled with tender lobster meat, seaweed, crunchy pickled carrots and shishito peppers, accompanied by a trio of tasty dipping sauces to start. I had them hit with a couple cracks of fresh black pepper and then I shared them with Hillary. We quite enjoyed them.

Hillary ordered the “BLT Chop” salad of hearts of romaine, bacon, tomato-olive tapenade with bleu cheese on Gruyere-bacon bread pudding with heirloom tomato & masala gorgonzola dressing. It’s one of my favorites for brunch at Muse. Hillary marveled at the delish “podium” of solid bread pudding.

I had a standby, the Greek Chicken Piccata, with Kalamata olives, tomato orzo, capers, feta and grilled artichoke hummus with shaved fennel and lemon insalata. It never disappoints.

I was tempted to order a serving of Husband’s favorite, the Scallop Mac ’n’ Cheese to take home to him, but is anyone really that deserving?

The layer cake dessert “Too Much Chocolate” prompted my chocoholic pal Hillary to ask, “Is there such a thing?!” She went with the fried cheesecake option—Cheesecake Chimichanga. She said, “I love both of these desserts and they’re mixing them!” When the pocket cheesecake wrapped in flour tortillas, lightly fried and tossed in cinnamon sugar and drizzled with raspberry coulis, arrived, she squealed, “So pretty—smell it!” Then she likened it to a cheese blintz.

I’m still thinking about my ultimate comfort food dessert…Berry Trifle of vanilla rice pudding under macerated strawberries and blueberries, topped with “brutally whipped cream.” I’m tasting it in my mind, exploring its calming textures right now…in the harbor.

Muse in the Harbor, 16 Main Street, Sag Harbor, 631-899-4810,; Muse on the End, 41 South Euclid Avenue, Montauk, 631-238-5937.

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