As a writer, I have a fairly reliable memory, but sometimes I forget the things I love the most. It’s not an active lapse. I don’t literally forget that I love a place or a thing. It’s more of a passive moment. A restaurant I forget to revisit. A dish I forget to order. A memory I forget to remake.
Such is the way with Harbor Market. When I first moved to the East End, I lived in faraway Montauk, but then I met my husband and moved to Sag Harbor, and we were there for a while. East End hamlets get you hooked. Each town is a neighborhood, each neighborhood a world.
I mention this because now I live in East Hampton, and my days in Sag Harbor seem a world away. It’s not that I never go to Sag Harbor, because I do. It’s more like the places that were common and ordinary for me aren’t really common and ordinary anymore. You won’t find me at the bar every single Sunday night eating oysters at Bell & Anchor, because I no longer live a block away. You won’t see me at LT with a plate of fried pickles as often as you once did. And you won’t find me loitering at Harbor Market & Kitchen, deciding whether or not to finish a pizza that is definitely not designed for only one person.
The thing about a Neapolitan pie, if you’ll let me digress for a second, is that it’s thin and a little sloppy and each slice feels like just a whisper of a bite. I guess that’s why I’m so good at competently cramming a whole pie down my gullet, if need be (and, sometimes, need be).
I love a Neapolitan pie. I love the char, the fact that the sauce is just a dusting of real tomato, the chewy crust. I love all of it, which is why I had to remind myself, recently, that it had been a while since I had eaten the one at Harbor Market & Kitchen. When we went at lunch — my husband, son, and I — I couldn’t resist a piece of vanilla butter cake, squares of which, topped with a tumble of blueberries and blackberries and a swish of frosting, winked at me from behind glass.
We ate roasted mushrooms, too, which are a little absurdly pricey but worth it for a mountain of savory, sweet, and salty fungi doused in a reduction of balsamic vinegar and softened from time in the oven. But the star of the show was, naturally, the pizza. We ordered two, as gluttons do, a margherita studded with fresh mozzarella, flash-fried basil, and fresh tomato sauce; and a pepperoni fiery from hot peppers. At the end, there was relatively little to show for it: four lonely slices, tucked into a recyclable takeout carton, gone before sunset.
I had forgotten, along with that pizza, that Harbor Market & Kitchen is a lovely place to watch the day go by. From the ceiling hang twinkly, star-shaped pendant lights, dotted with LEDs. The interior is rustic and comfortable: wood and other natural materials create the cozy feel of a friend’s well-appointed kitchen. You could come for a coffee and a slice of that cake. You could stay for a pizza, or two.
Which is to say that I hope not to forget again, when proximity has me wandering the streets of East Hampton over Sag Harbor, about the lovely lunch just a town over, where pizzas are all the great things that pizza should be, and are lying in crispy wait, just for me.