Harbor Bistro serves summer with a side of sunset. Casual and unaffected, the open-air, waterside perch delivers the flavor of the Hamptons before they became "The Hamptons." The only boldface belongs to the seductive view and some fine New American cooking.
Chef Damien O'Donnell excels with seafood at the harborside spot. Try his kataifi- "crisped Montauk lobster bundles," buttery meat wrapped in threads of fragile, crunchy phyllo -- it's like shredded wheat in another life. His coral-hued lobster bisque has real depth and nuggets of sweet shellfish. Steamed, local littlenecks arrive in garlicky broth, boosted by jalapeÃ±os, tomatoes and leeks. And the toasted corn-and-jumbo lump crabmeat cake gets a boost from sauce rÃ©moulade and a salad of Satur Farm's microgreens. A thick cut of "lime grilled" Montauk striped bass is Harbor Bistro's big catch, with a crab, leek and corn ragout and a tomato-tinted broth. Next: prosciutto-wrapped local monkfish, atop polenta and spinach. Of course, there's sesame-seared ahi tuna. The five-spice seasoned and seared duck breast, with an apple-ginger puree, leads the land crew, along with the roasted rack of lamb paired with a goat cheese-ratatouille tart. Profiteroles packed with vanilla ice cream and capped with chocolate sauce, and berries in a riesling-spurred sabayon top the sweets.
The dull duck confit-and-mushroom crepe falls apart, alongside an overcooked goat-cheese gratin. "Grilled Caesar" hearts of romaine singe the salad idea with lethal smokiness. The spin on paella is on the dry side, despite Murray's chicken. Warm peach-and-almond cake needs riper fruit. "Caramel mocha latte' ya ya" amounts to an errant sundae. Banana bread pudding turns pasty; banana spring rolls, tired.