Eating out is always a treat. But slurping oysters and sipping mimosas feels even more luxurious, especially when it’s still early in the afternoon. The brunch crowds who cram into Balthazaar in Manhattan or Marlow and Son in Williamsburg to pile up mollusk shells know this pleasure. But, as we found during a recent family outing, this pleasure is also dished on Sundays, from noon to 4:30, at the Bell & Anchor on Noyac Road. Even better, the local oysters are just $1.50 a piece, while the mimosas and bloody Mary’s are $5, meaning you can make a meal of a dozen Montauk pearls and a cocktail for under $20. And that’s just the beginning.
As we described this past spring, the Bell & Anchor is the new fish house from restaurateur David Loewenberg and chef Sam McClelland, which garnered rave reviews and standing-room-only crowds all summer long. As the partners did at the Beacon restaurant in Sag Harbor more than a decade ago, the Loewenberg-McClelland one-two punch yields a welcoming room that builds regular customers, and serves great food that makes for favorites people crave: lobster rigatoni, fluke crudo, pork belly buns.
At the Bell & Anchor, the brunch menu offers a welcome alternative to the mounds of baked goods, omelets and bacon that define most breakfast eating. Instead the menu is overflowing with seafood in all forms. Consider the lobster. It’s all over the dinner menu–from small and large orders of steamed lobster to the decadent thermador. At brunch it shows up as lobster Benedict–a variation on the breakfast classic with chunks of lobster meat sitting on top of the muffin, egg, Hollandaise stack.
There’s also a rotating selection of oysters, including Montauk Pearls (for $1.50 each) and local littleneck clams ($1 each). Last Sunday, the restaurant was also shucking flat, round Belons (from Maine), which will be on the menu until those beds freeze over. And, stealing a page from McClelland’s love of southern cuisine, there’s an oyster po-boy on a toasty mini-baguette with a spicy Napa cabbage slaw and remoulade to go with the crunchy mollusks.
But there are also surprising brunch pleasures, like the duck hash, a pillowy bundle of potatoes, onions and Long Island duck on top of frisee. As well as the LEO (lox, eggs and onions), a New York classic of sorts that folks will know from Barney Greengrass and other Gotham institutions. In contrast to the Upper West Side version, where the salmon is often browned at the edges, on Noyac Road the kitchen prefers to warm the salmon through–but not really cook it–before a quick mix with the eggs and onion. Sun flooded into the waterfront space, as we finished our coffee and dusted off the last of the mini cornbread muffins, before heading out into the world, well-fed and happy.
The Bell & Anchor is open for brunch on Sundays and dinner every night except Monday and Tuesday. See the hours, menu and make a reservation here.