Every 12 minutes, Blue Air air purifiers filter out the air in the dining room of The Bell & Anchor in Sag Harbor, a modification the restaurant has made of late to ensure safety during the pandemic. This Noyac Bay-adjacent hot spot, known for its reliably good food and Sunday night dollar oysters, also offers a HEPA-filtered and UVC-sanitized central air system. In an era when dining in feels like a great unknown, The Bell & Anchor is doing its best to stay abreast of technology when it comes to health.
That information should calm some nerves, although The Bell & Anchor also serves takeout for those who are still avoiding the interiors of restaurants. From Tuesday through Sunday, you can eat in or take your meal to go, and the takeout menu is just as comprehensive as the regular one.
That means that you can eat Montauk Pearl oysters on the halfshell, with the restaurant’s superlative mignonette, at home in your dining room (or—who am I to judge—on your couch). Travel without going anywhere at all with a dip into the coconut milk-steamed mussels, which are amplified by Thai chilies and lemongrass. Or simply visit summer with a dish of creamy burrata, roasted tomatoes, basil oil, and grilled bread.
The restaurant still serves its classics, like the Home Port chowder, which is studded with white fish, clams, potatoes, and bacon. And the classic Caesar salad, available with a plank of crispy Proscuitto di Parma, never fails to impress. But there are also newer dishes, like a hearts of palm salad, with ruby red grapefruit, toasted pistachios, and Manchego.
In my humble opinion, dinner at The Bell & Anchor would not be a fully realized endeavor without the inches-thick Duroc pork chop, currently served with a leek and bacon bread pudding and asparagus, though the grilled flat iron steak (an oft-overlooked cut) with Béarnaise and fries is a close second.
Whether you’re out or in, The Bell & Anchor’s prix fixe menus (Milanese Tuesdays for $36; Lobster Wednesdays; $34 Moules Frites Thursdays; Bouillabaissse Sundays for $40) are worth the trek to Sag Harbor. The Blue Air purifiers are just an added bonus, a concession to 2021, maybe, but also a reminder that we are all learning to navigate a good meal in this changing world. The Bell & Anchor is doing their best, and, luckily, the pork chop abides.