East End Eats: Hearty Pub Grub

The overall atmosphere at O’Murphy’s was warm and welcoming
The cozy bar at O’Murphy’s Morgan McGivern

O’Murphy’s
Restaurant and Pub

99 Edgemere Street
Montauk, NY
668-5005
Lunch and dinner, seven days


    Reviewing restaurants isn’t always unicorns and rainbows and Topping Rose and Nick &s Toni’s and slow-food movement and “this asparagus was plucked at the peak of its virility five minutes ago from Mr. Jones’s farm.” Sometimes reviewing a restaurant, especially at this time of year, is simply finding a place that is 1) open in winter, and 2) serving some decent and reasonable fare.

    O’Murphy’s Restaurant and Pub in Montauk is just such a place. Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, O’Murphy’s serves simple and hearty pub grub, some of it damn good.

    Located in the heart of downtown across from the circle, O’Murphy’s is small and cozy, with a bar to the left of the entrance and tables with green-and-white-checked oilcloth table­cloths all around. There are two flat screen TVs in the bar area and enough decorative flotsam and jetsam to cover most other surfaces. One such piece of decor is a portrait of an austere and proper looking lass, perhaps the original Mrs. O’Murphy? Maybe one of Carl Fisher’s mistresses? No one seemed to know.

    As O’Murphy’s has an entire page devoted to a martini menu, we began our meal with those. When in Rome, y’all. One of them was pretty good, the other tasted like what I imagine “purple drank” or “sizzurp” tastes like. If you know what I’m talking about, shame on you. I have only myself to blame for ordering a drink with Chambord and pineapple juice.

    We then ordered chicken wings, mussels, and baked clams. The chicken wings were ordered medium heat and were fairly mild but very tasty. They were served with the traditional accoutrements of celery sticks and blue cheese dressing, all fresh and good. The mussels were excellent, a huge portion served with slices of grilled garlic toast. The sauce was as good as you could hope for, full of freshly minced garlic in a savory, creamy broth. The baked clams were also very good, four per serving. They were well chopped and fairly bread but delicious.

    For entrees we ordered the steak sandwich, Irish lamb stew, and fish and chips. My friend ordered the steak rare, and it was. It was served on a hoagie roll with melted mozzarella cheese and a side of fries. The steak itself was tender and well seasoned. The Irish stew, again a huge portion, was very good and enough for two people. It was full of tender chunks of lamb, carrots, and potatoes. The Irish brown bread served alongside was so good we wished we had some proper Kerrygold butter to slather all over it. The fish and chips weren’t quite as successful. The fish (fluke, yay!) was just a whisper away from being truly fresh. (Boo-hoo.) The fries served with it, however, were excellent, skin-on fries.

    The service on the day of our visit was as nice as could be. Our waiter (son of the owner, it turned out) was fun and funny, friendly and knowledgeable. He was full of recommendations and even snuck us an extra loaf of the good brown bread. The overall atmosphere at O’Murphy’s was similar, warm and welcoming.

    The prices at O’Murphy’s are inexpensive to moderate. Appetizers are $10.95 to $15.95, soups are $4.25 to $9.50, salads are $5.50 to $14.95, entrees are $10.95 to $17, and desserts are $8 and $9.

    We were truly way too stuffed for dessert but managed to try two anyway. Most are made in-house. We tried the Bailey’s Heath Bar ice cream cake and blueberry pie. The Bailey’s Heath Bar ice cream cake was very good, rich, sweet, and creamy as you can imagine, with a very good, thick, crunchy crust. The blueberry pie should not have been served — at least until it was thoroughly baked. When doing a review I never, ever complain or send things back. I just take one for the team. My guests are perfectly welcome to say what they please, but I try to blend in with the curtains (plaid in this case, very difficult) when on the job. But this time I just had to point it out to our waiter. The dough on the top and bottom was completely raw, pale as veal. I should have kept my mouth shut, as this made our waiter very sad, but I thought they should know. The filling was good, though!

    If you live in East Hampton or Sag Harbor you have plenty of high- and low-end dining options year round. However, in the currently hipster hamlet of Montauk, not so much this time of year. Four out of four pizzerias are closed, for Pete’s sake. O’Murphy’s Restaurant and Pub, which has been open for 25 years, fills the needed niche of affordable comfort food in a welcoming environment.

    Go raibh math agat, O’Murphy’s! That means thank you.