“It just sort of set up like a perfect storm,” said chef Sam McCleland, tapping an apropos nautical expression to describe the vacant restaurant space on Noyac Road (formerly Oasis) that he’s turning into The Anchor, a year-round seafood house. For several years, McCleland and restaurateur David Loewenberg–partners for 13 years at the Sag Harbor eating destination the Beacon–have been looking for a location to launch a second venture together. The two fish together, love seafood and have often lamented the lack of marine-focused offerings in the area, given our region’s abundance of fresh fish. “There are not a lot of places to go for fresh fish and especially lobster unless you want to go all way out to Montauk,” said McCleland.
So, McCleland is redesigning the kitchen to include a raw bar station with a dedicated refrigerator to keep clams, oysters and other denizens of the deep extra cold. And he is investing in a steamer to guarantee a steady supply of lobster meat. “We’ll have chilled lobster, steamed lobsters, lobster thermador, grilled lobster, lobster knuckle sandwich, and seafood plateaus with half a chilled lobster,” he said, sounding a bit like the “Bubba on shrimp” scene from Forrest Gump. Like the lobster roll served at lunch at the Beacon, the knuckle sandwiches will be packed with meat and seasoned with tarragon, a little fresh basil, and a little tomato emulsion, and probably served as sliders. McCleland and Loewenberg hope, will put them in the list of great seafood houses along the East Coast.
There will be local wine and beer on tap, and perhaps early hours at the bar, where patrons will sip pints of beer, or steely Bridgehampton chardonnay, while slurping down briny mollusks, counting the boats coming in to dock at Mill Creek Marina and gazing at the setting sun. Count the Anchor as one more reason to look forward to summer.