Pies That Are Worth It
There’s no shortage of pizza in the state of New York – a blessing, but also a curse for having to constantly be on guard, watching out for the multitudinous pies that are merely mediocre, never quite satisfying a craving in full. To forego this constant uncertainty, look to these six spots in the Hamptons, which promise the best pies of every kind, from authentic Italian to high- end gourmet to being driven by ingredients sourced not far from the oven.
Lulu’s Kitchen (126 Main St., Sag Harbor)
On Main Street in Sag Harbor, Lulu Kitchen & Bar is open on Sundays for one of the best brunches around. There are egg dishes, tartines, French toast, and pancakes, but to get a taste of what is offered by the enormous, custom-built wood oven that is the centerpiece of the restaurant, look to the two brunch pizzas. There’s the egg, yogurt, and cheese Khachapurri, or better yet, the Gravlax pie with house-smoked salmon, straciatella, and mozzarella, and the rest of the usual lox toppings: pickled red onion, capers, lemon oil, and a bit of frisée. Paired with a mimosa on one of the cushy brown leather banquettes, it’s a most welcome alternative to the usual bagel sandwich.
Moby’s (341 Pantigo Rd.)
Once upon a time, a charmingly restored white house between East Hampton and Amagansett was home to a beloved Italian restaurant called Moby’s. For the past few summer seasons, Moby’s moved out and Manhattan’s Michelin-favorite Eleven Madison Park temporarily moved in, while Moby’s relocated to a different spot on the East Hampton Point marina. But this summer, Moby’s has returned to its original digs, and – despite the pandemic – it’s never looked more at home. Vegetable-based tapas to start, pastas, pizzas, and two larger mains – whole local black bass and a half free-range chicken – comprise the menu, which is best ordered to share. From the pie selection, the Mushroom tosses an array of wild mushrooms atop cheese and bitter young greens for a umami-filled – and picture-perfect – accompaniment to the rest of the meal.
Ruschmeyer’s (161 Second House Rd., Montauk)
Like all things at Ruschmeyer’s, the basic pleasures are what steal the show, be they the bonfires burning at night with friends gathered around cooking s’mores, the hammocks strung up in the trees, and the lovely whitewashed rooms for guests. But this year, the restaurant – which has long taken a farm-to-table approach to modern American cuisine – has taken a different turn, with two Italian chef brothers transforming the menu into an extravaganza from their homeland. Giuseppe and Enzo Lentini – also behind their Upper East Side’s namesake, the much-revered Lentini – here devised a menu that includes their family’s own chicken parmigiana recipe, catches of the day, an entire entrée of homemade cheese and sausage, and some of the best pastas and pizzas around. At this level of Italian cooking, simpler is always better, hence the Margherita pie – with imported tomatoes for authenticity, no less.
Il Forno at Gurney’s Star Island
(32 Star Island Rd., Montauk)
Glam new resort Gurney’s Star Island has established itself as a dining destination since
it opened last summer, with its centerpiece dinner restaurant Showfish offering the finest crudos, fresh fishes, and lobster done up to the nines. But for a lunch or dinner to take home or to the beach, all-day dining spot Il Forno is about as top-notch as grab-and-go can get. Truffle burrata whipped with prosciutto, a pita with local vegetables, and a chicken banh mi are all in the mix. But the focus here is on the pizzas, fired in a mosaic oven and topped with the most beautiful details, like the crisped sage on the mushroom pizza (with preserved truffle, no less), or the fennel pollen on the sausage. For a sweet take, the Nutella pie is the ticket. The perfectly chewy crust is topped with Italian imported Nutella, powdered sugar, green almond, and fermented honey. With this, there’s no reason you can’t have a few slices for your entrée and also dessert.
World Pie (2402 Montauk Hwy., Bridgehampton)
Forget the fluff. Sometimes, an uncomplicated, decent pizza is all that is wanted, accompanied by a decent beverage and a decent environment – could be at home on the couch, steam from the pizza box filling the living room with the smell of melted cheese; could be in a homely, wood-accented establishment that’s been churning out Caesar salads, mozzarella sticks, and a wide array of pizza pies for years. This is precisely where World Pie fits into the pizza restaurant mix. It won’t contend with the gourmet heavy-hitters, nor does it try to; rather, it offers more than 20 pies in individual and large sizes, as well every relevant salad, appetizer, and (true to its name) international main course. But with the range of menu items running the gamut from a marinated shrimp option to a Mexican taco pizza to a puttanesca, it’s hard to find something that won’t please; there’s even the Mr. Tang, comprised of duck, scallions and cilantro, and mozzarella and goat cheese, for those who wish they were eating takeout Chinese instead.
Sag Pizza (103 Main St., Sag Harbor)
Right across the street from Lulu’s is one of the best wood-fired pizza parlors in the Hamptons: Sag Pizza. The restaurant is co-run by Michael Cinque and star chef Laurent Tourondel, and similar to the glitzy neighboring burger joint LT Burger – which the two also own together – Sag Pizza similarly takes what can be an ordinary food item and dolls it up until it’s the best- dressed in town. All the finest meats, cheeses, oils, and herbs don the pies here, accompanied by antipasti like local tuna crudo and raw zucchini salad, a selection of Italian cocktails, and choice wines by the glass. For a wholesome pizza that takes a local approach to its ingredients, the Farmer’s tops a perfectly crisped crust with tomatoes, locally made sausage from gourmet market Schiavoni’s, mushrooms, peppers, farm-fresh egg, and cheese from Bridgehampton dairy Mecox Bay.