If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? How about a restaurant opening?
Sagaponack must have been the lowest of low-key openings in 2009. It did not attract a single professional review, which is unusual for a Flatiron District restaurant with entrées in the $20s. The various amateur sites (Yelp, Zagat, etc.) are mostly positive about the place, but from the critics it got no attention at all.
It turns out Sagaponack is a solid little gem: nothing revelatory, but a welcome addition to the neighborhood. The décor resembles a Hamptons beach house—hardly an original idea, but well executed.
You can probably guess the menu: a raw bar, lobster rolls, mussels, crab cakes, conch fritters, and the usual bistro standards. A few dishes sound like they belong on someone else’s menu, like Korean short ribs.
Prices are modest, with appetizers $8–12, salads $7–17, entrées $14–28, and side dishes $5.
The appetizers were all good, including Oysters Rockefeller ($9; above left), Lobster Bisque ($8; above center) with large hunks of lobster; and Duck Confit & Mushroom Duxelle Dumplings ($8; above right). I am not sure what the dumplings had to do with the restaurant’s theme, but I didn’t mind.
We also liked the entrées: Crab Cakes ($10; above left) and a hefty Lobster Roll ($26; above right) that is bigger than it appears in the photo. The accompanying fries, however, were too soggy. (Those crab cakes are technically an appetizer, but my mom ordered them as her main.)
On a Friday evening, the bar was packed three-deep with an after-work crowd. The tables were about half full. (The restaurant also has a large upstairs area for parties, which was not in use.) Service was about as it should be. The wine list is meh: I would have liked to see a few more Long Island wines at a restaurant that purports to represent the region.
Sagaponack feels summery—like a visit to the Hamptons minus the three-hour jitney ride, but also minus the beach. It’s not an adequate substitute for the real thing, but we can’t exactly run out to Southampton every day.
Sagaponack (4 W. 22nd Street, off Fifth Avenue, Flatiron District)