“Top Chef” finalist and former Surf Lodge chef Sam Talbot is overseeing Morty’s Oyster Stand, which has revitalized the location at 2167 Montauk Highway that formerly housed Napeague’s ultimate party bar, Cyril’s Fish House. Named after Hamptons builder Jeremy Morton, who opened the seafood spot along with fellow builder Jack Luber and restaurateur Charles Seich, it serves up sustainably-sourced, mainly local seafood fare including a range of raw options — oysters, clams, shrimp cocktail, and Maine uni — along with cooked dishes like olive oil steamed mussels with heirloom tomatoes, summer corn, cilantro, and golden garlic; grilled local squid with zucchini, macadamia pesto, and pineapple serrano vinegar; and fish en papillote with lemon, mushrooms, and sofrito.
If you’ve had enough of seafood, fried chicken with spicy honey and celeriac slaw, and hangar steak with roasted mushroom chimichurri and garlicky greens are also on the menu. There is, of course, an outdoor bar with such drinks as Root Down, created with silver tequila, local berries, and carbonated beet juice.
After several Hamptons ventures including Philippe and Jue Lan Club, Stratis Morfogen hadn’t planned to return to the Hamptons, but establishing a partnership with the lawyer Mark Geragos, who owns the Capri Hotel (281 County Road 39A, Southampton) changed his mind. “The Hamptons were in my rearview because rents are so high and it costs about a quarter of a million dollars for summer rent including staff housing,’’ explains Morfogen, who has opened Brooklyn Chop House in the Capri.
“Before, the restaurant owners were at odds with the hotel. They had to stay open until 4 AM to make money and the hotel guests would have trouble sleeping,” he added. Though he will host pool parties on the big holidays, Morfogen says his restaurant will focus on food at other times, service the hotel, and close at a reasonable hour. Apart from steaks and chops, he will feature creative dim sum, such as bacon cheeseburger dumplings.
Stephan Bogardus, who staged at the French Laundry and worked at Per Se and Daniel before receiving acclaim as chef at the North Fork Table and Inn in Southold, is now running the kitchen at The Halyard in Greenport’s Sound View hotel (58775 County Road 48). Among his dishes are house-made ricotta cavatelli with sautéed squash, oven roasted tomatoes, and herb pistou of basil, mint, and parsley; and slowly poached fluke.
“Most people blanch their herbs in water and shock them for green purees, but this dilutes the flavor,’’ maintains the chef. “We dry cook our herbs in high-heat olive oil and emulsify them in a stock made from fluke bones.’’ All the Halyard’s greens come from KK’s biodynamic farm and there is also a poolside menu of smaller plates including frozen natural pops, lobster rolls, and farm stand crudité with hummus.
Paola’s held its friends and family dinners and then opened Memorial Day weekend, but there was no alcohol because it is still awaiting a liquor license. “We wanted to have a big party, and are trying to get the license ASAP,’’ explained owner Stefano Marracino, who says they expect it any day.
Blu Mar faced the same situation, and T-Bar decided not to open at all over the holiday. “We are opening just to get the staff up and running but we can’t offer any alcohol and we tell people they can’t bring their own either,’’ explained Tony Fortuna. Hopefully, by the July Fourth holiday, wine will be flowing.