Tuesday, August 25, 2009

"lobster roll" hate it; American Hotel in Sag Harbor, love it

So there are all those fish frys on the way to Montauk, one called Cyril's, one just called "lobster roll," and driving past them you know that they're going to be tourist traps, but still they're so perfect looking, and fried fish or a lobster roll is such the quintessential food for Montauk, that you want to stop. Well, I suppose the food is edible, but neither is that good and they're both painfully overpriced. I had the lobster roll at "lobster roll" yesterday and it was slightly too mayo-y and totally chock-full of celery, which feels like a cheat at $20 for a sandwich on a hot-dog bun. Both the lobster roll I had last weekend in Wellfleet and the Fairway lobster roll are much better. Sorry the pic is unappetizing. That's $56 for lunch for two, not including tip.

Also too bad, I don't have a pic of the GOOD restaurant, the American Hotel in Sag Harbor. I saved the Times article about how all the restos out here suck with a few execeptions, the American Hotel being one of the exceptions. So far, this jibes with my experience. And, yes, it was truly delicious. The hotel looks stodgy when you first walk in, but the dining rooms are very cozy, rich, welcoming. It's like a little warren in there with gold-framed paintings and cool wallpaper and moose heads, all a bit eerie and Ancient-Mariner.....sort of the authentic thing that all these modernist interiors with the antlers and white-on-white brocade wallpaper are trying to strip down and imitate. We had the spectacular seafood plate of oysters, clams, mussles, and shrimp. I didn't know until the end that the mustard sauce was for the clams, but that's my fault. The experience was otherwise splendid, some of the freshest shrimp I've ever tasted, sublime local oysters, mussels were great.... Ivan's scallop risotto was also wonderful, as was the clam chowder. The desserts and the bar offerings are old-school, as would be expected, and the wine list is as thick as a September Vogue. Ivan was impressed that they had two pages of Spanish reds (his thing) in tiny type. I think dinner for two was $165 or so, so that's obviously very expensive, but....you know, skip the "lobster roll" and breakfast at the Golden Pear and you'll make up for it.

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