Restaurant Review: Muse in the Harbor

Chef/Owner Matthew Guiffrida has packed up his popular Muse Restaurant & Aquatic Lounge in Water Mill and moved it to Sag Harbor’s Main Street, “Muse in the Harbor.” The whole place was aglow on opening night last week inside and out. Guiffrida and staff have transformed this former gas station into something splendid and inviting. Guiffrida, who lives just a couple blocks away in Sag Harbor Village, is definitely in the harbor to stay, along with his giant fish tank and over 300 African fish.

My friends Cath and Dee and I made the opening night scene. The tables were a mix of locals like drummer Bruce Beyer and second homers. Beyer remarked that his party band Suzie on the Rocks would be a great match when Muse opens its outdoor seating. In the mean time, look for a GRAND grand opening next month featuring Paul Mahos and New Life Crisis. Beyer also suggested, “Try the Three Little Pigs dish at Muse!”

Somehow Cath and Dee stayed with fine wine all night – I got a little “creative” with the help of Muse’s Creative Libations Menu. I started with a Coconut Margarita of 1800 Coconut Tequila with Crème De Cacao Triple Sec, fresh lime and pineapple juice. Quite good, smooth, the sweetness exactly balanced. Later I tried a Peaches & Cream cocktail of Ciroc Peach Vodka, Smirnoff Whipped Cream Vodka, real whipped cream and orange juice. A slight touch of saltiness nicely complicates what – in lesser hands – could have been all about sweet. Thank you Bartender Scott Wilson – the head of thick creaminess over a bit of boozy bite was so good…

Cath and I wisely started with the night’s Soup of the Moment – Sweet Pea with Gorgonzola. We found it “hot and healthy” – the great texture and fresh flavor of the peas with that hit of deeply flavorful gorgonzola…spot on!

Dee started with a signature Guiffrida salad – the Fall Apple Salad of frisée tossed with Granny Smith apple, sunflower seeds, smoked Gouda, craisins, crispy smoked salmon bacon, blood orange marmalade on a crispy Gruyère bread pudding. She was very pleased with her choice.

You’ll find many of your old Muse favorites plus some new additions.

We all shared an order of Tuna Ménage à trois – mmm, mmm, mmm. A tuna threesome of 1) Ahi Tuna atop Moroccan vegetable tabouli, spiked with the pleasing contrast of wonton crouton 2) Blackened Tuna Lollipop topped with candied wasabi crust on whipped avocado. Dee said, “It tastes like steak!” 3) Hot Stone Seared Tuna Carpaccio with delish seaweed salad.

We all sipped away a glass of Caprari Lambrusco, my new favorite summer wine. Sparkling red wine…you must try it!

When Cath announced that she wanted to move in, our server Emily assured her, “You can stay as long as you want.”

Dee ordered up a Horseradish & Gorgonzola Crusted New York Strip Steak, medium, served atop white beans with beef jerky and Tater Tot hash with tawny Port demi glace. The steak arrived cooked to medium perfection – a “rare” treat in local restaurant dining. She gave me a bite – juicy – and the horseradishyness was at just the right level, the cheese did not overwhelm the dish.

Terry Thompson at Prudential Douglas Elliman, my new spiritual and menu advisor, suggested over lunch at Le Chef earlier that day that I try the Tilapia Wienerschnitzel. But I went in a different schnitzel direction by ordering the Mambo Chicken Italiano. Lightly breaded chicken cutlets topped with warm Roma tomato, Boursin cheese bruschetta and herbed Parmesan spaetzle in tomato basil cream. This tender, savory mélange got a touch of piquancy from its green olives.

Cath had the Border Atlantic Salmon which features pan-seared salmon with a side of Ten Bean and charred corn and avocado salad over grilled artichoke salsa with arugula gazpacho salad. She ate it up.

In closing Cath and Dee enjoyed decaf cappuccino and cappuccino respectively (We still don’t know what Dee had goin’ on after dinner.) We shared three desserts between us – cheesecake (smooth, firm, not over-sweet), Guiffrida’s popular zepolle, still served in a paper bag, just like his grandmother taught him and a “S’more.” This s’more is no camping food. A big, round squishy marshmallow blanket over loads of milk chocolate goo on a bed of something like the center of French toast. I could have eaten dishes of this dessert until I passed out.

More space at the new Muse has given rise to a sophisticated, relaxed lounge area along the bar. Muse is gearing up to be open for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner and late night seven days a week. In the mean time, check out their Economy Gastronomy three-course prix fixe. For more information see Dan’s Dining Out listing below.

Muse in the Harbor, 16 Main Street, Sag Harbor. 631-899-4810. www.museintheharbor.com


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