By adhering to the belief that local is best and basic is delicious, Moby’s attracts a fashionable clientele.
Moby’s is elusive, like the namesake white whale of Herman Melville’s novel. It’s been a presence in Montauk for the past two years, and is now doing the same in its white-clapboard and black-shutter house in East Hampton, just downstream from the village’s iconic windmill. From 27, the restaurant looks classic, not couture.
Australian restaurateur Lincoln Pilcher, who runs Moby’s with his business partner, fellow Aussie Nick Hatsatouris, can also be as evasive as Melville’s whale, but the man is busy. He’s dating Carolyn Murphy, the Estée Lauder model; he’s been an in-demand fashion model (Ralph Lauren and J.Crew); and he’s from lifestyle royalty—his mother was the editor of Vogue Australia for 28 years and then ascended to a high position in the Condé Nast Asia-Pacifc organization. According to online reports, Pilcher is the Australian “bar tsar,” the curator of a “Sydney sensibility,” expressing himself in a slew of pop-ups in LA, Manhattan, and, now, at Moby’s in East Hampton.
“Drawing the right crowd is not a problem for this guy,” says one East Hampton regular. “If [Pilcher] builds it, they will come.”
“It’s full of beautiful people,” a hedge funder says of Moby’s, a sentiment that’s echoed by a Hamptons contessa.
Another notes, “In Amagansett, if you want to be dressed well and with satisfying adults, this is the place to be.”
Chef Gary King characterizes the menu as “a freedom style of cooking,” but the genius seems in the restraint.
Inside Moby’s, the director’s chairs and benches with throw pillows along the walls attest to the fact that this is a summer love. The dining room is straight through the entrance, but there’s a long tail of the whale here—a tented space as well as an outdoor garden full of white picnic tables.
The place is meant for serving drinks, and two of the most popular drinks—the Dark’n’ Stormy and Leaving Tijuana—are on tap. So is the rosé—this place is about effciency.
“We have worked out what people want. The secret is simplicity,” Pilcher told mrporter.com. “You don’t need to have a menu with 50 dishes on it or a wine list with 200 wines.”
Moby’s is the great neighborhood restaurant, helmed by chef Gary King, a gonzo-spirited guy with a solid list of credentials, having worked at Craft, Cookshop, and Il Buco. King characterizes the menu as “a freedom style of cooking,” but I disagree—the genius seems in the restraint, perhaps another nod towards efficiency. The spaghettini (shrimp, cherry tomatoes, chili, and bread crumbs) is a layup, but the pasta is perfectly al dente. The chef tosses off the maccheroni (with morel mushrooms, nettle pesto, and ricotta salata) as “just tomatoes, white wine, and butter; there’s no secret.” But then he opens up regarding the sauce: “It’s not as easy as it looks.” The tomatoes are cooked over a low flame—“the pilot light,” he says—for eight hours, hence the salvo of favors.
Moby’s adheres to the local-issuperior catechism: “We don’t get anything [beyond] the Fork,” says King. “It’s the farmers—all I do is wash it…. but I can’t talk; I’m making ice cream right now.” 341 Pantigo Road, East Hampton, 527-5388