Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Louis XVI

I've been to Louis XVI in Patchogue twice--once last fall, the second time a few weeks ago. And if you care about looking at the water, go in the summer, when there is daylight until 8:30 or so. The interior is relatively nice (a big chandelier, some paintings), though I don't really care. I only care about the food.

Both times I've had the tasting menu (without wine). The first time it was $95, the second time $89. While both times were quite good, I did have some quibbles.

The first time was foie-gras overload. I think there was foie gras in 3 or 4 dishes, and the first course had monkfish liver, the "foie gras of the sea" which has the kind of heavy, rich flavor of duck/goose foie gras. While I like foie gras, it was a little too much. So when the main/meat course came to the table (I think it was quail over pasta), and it too had foie gras, I gave up and traded dishes with my wife. I don't even remember what I ate. But, while that meal put me off foie gras for a couple of months, every dish was quite good, and the seared foie gras with a red-wine sauce was the best foie gras dish I've ever had.

Other dishes of note included tuna tartar and frog's legs. My wife had a lobster salad that was just wonderful. The complimentary amuse-bouche was a layered dish (call it a terrine, call it a lasagna, whatever) of potatoes, mushrooms, and raw salmon.

The second time featured more variety, but overall was of lesser quality than the first dinner--and lesser in the amount of food. The amuse-bouche were 5 or 6 very small canapes on different breads, with different toppings. I had the same tuna tartar at one point, a duck sausage salmis (very strong smoky-gamy flavor--I also had it during my first meal with the monkfish liver course, but the second time it was looser, textually, and much better tasting), and a scallop dish featuring exactly one scallop. These were all very good.

The meat course was one rib from a rack of lamb, stuffed, and charred on the outside. The sauce was quite good but only enough for one or two bites of the lamb. What was interesting was a vegetable accompaniment of green Israeli couscous imitating peas and something else (I'm still not sure what it was) imitating a carrot--the orange thing was folded in a circle, like a ring mold, and the couscous was placed inside. While it was cleverly done, the couscous had absolutely no flavor.

For both meals, as part of the tasting menu, I guess, for dessert there was a sampling of about 6 or 7 desserts, none of which particularly interested me. Both meals also came with a very hot corn chowder with black truffles. I was very impressed by the corn chowder until I learned how to make a comparable version at home (sweat some onions in a sauce pan, add white corn, chicken broth and a bay leaf, and let simmer for an hour or so; puree in a blender, and add a little cream or half and half).

Despite some flaws, Louis XVI offers one of the best food experiences on Long Island. Of course, with the regular prix fix menu at $71, and a tasting menu at $90 - $100 or more (much, much more with wine), you're wasting your money unless you really enjoy good food.

5 out of 5 stars


At 3:09 PM, Blogger Long Island Guide said...



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