One certainty: Restaurants offer luxurious take-out meals

Fresno, The Bell & Anchor Are Bright Beacons




Independent/Jason Penney

David Loewenberg is known for his trio of restaurants: Fresno (in East Hampton), Beacon (in Sag Harbor), and The Bell & Anchor (also in Sag Harbor). Of the three, Beacon, which faces the water and is known for its superlative sunsets, is the only restaurant that is seasonal. It opens each year right before Memorial Day, the opening itself a bright reminder that summer is finally here. That restaurant is not yet open, and it’s hard to know what the start to our season will look like this year, since restaurants — and everything else — sit under a haze of uncertainty.

Don’t let that last part get you down. Loewenberg, like so many other restaurateurs, is determined to keep you well fed for as long as he can, and so The Bell & Anchor and Fresno have been soldiering on, beacons, if you will, in a storm. During the last week of March, The Bell & Anchor launched Anchor’s Away, a take-out menu that is available Tuesdays through Sundays. Orders can be placed until 7 PM and pickup hours are from 5 to 7:30. Orders can be placed by phone, at 631-725-3400, or by email, earlier in the day: order@bellandanchor.com.

If you’ve read my articles in years past, you already know that I’m an enthusiastic proponent of The Bell & Anchor’s Sunday oyster night (Fresno has it, too), where Montauk Pearls are $1 apiece. The restaurant would, no doubt, be out of business if it offered this deal for takeout, but it is still offering Pearls on the half-shell, along with its delicious mignonette and cocktail sauce. It also has 1.5-pound lobsters, steamed alongside fingerling potatoes and haricots verts. For appetizers, the list is incredibly long. It includes (and isn’t even limited to) clam and fish chowder with bacon and cream; steamed mussels with coconut milk and Thai chiles; tuna poké with avocado, shiso, and ponzu; and shrimp and grits with crispy pork belly.

The bouillabaisse, made with white fish, lobster, mussels, clams, and shrimp, is one of the entrees on offer. So is a pan-roasted Scottish salmon ramen, a lobster rigatoni with roasted corn, a vegan plate with pineapple-cashew quinoa, guava baby-back ribs with mashed potatoes, a Milanese-style pork chop with a frisée salad, a grilled flat-iron steak with Béarnaise sauce, and a traditional burger. There is a slight dessert menu, too.

Down the road, at Fresno, takeout can be placed Thursdays through Mondays. Call 631-324-8700 from 3:30 to 7 PM or email info@fresnorestaurant.com. Each day, the restaurant posts additional specials, a fun respite to a world that feels anything but special right now. Recent specials have included an appetizer of sautéed wild mushrooms over creamy polenta and crispy Buffalo-style Montauk Pearl oysters.

Other Fresno favorites, like appetizers of salmon tartare with jalapeño and potato chips, or green garbanzo hummus, persist. So, too, do entrees of orecchiette with hot and sweet Italian sausage, broccoli rabe, and roast garlic; pan-seared Atlantic salmon over Moroccan cous-cous; a grilled Duroc pork chop with butternut squash farotto; and a flat-iron steak with an arugula salad and pommes frites.

You can finish your meal, happily, with a dark chocolate pot de crème, or, more happily, with a batched cocktail. Fresno offers a choice of a Meyer Lemon Cosmo, Beacon Ruby Rita, and Quarantini (Tito’s Vodka, lemon, local honey, and rosemary), all for between $25 and $30. They’re 16 ounces. At home, add ice, and split them between three people, or, uh, don’t.

Not everyone will survive this crisis. That’s an unfortunate reality. We just don’t know how long restaurants can survive on takeout alone, and we also don’t know how long this new brand of reality will last. If you can help keep local businesses alive, takeout is the new dining out, at least for now. There’s no better place to start than with these two restaurants.