Thursday, April 21, 2005

Le Soir

In the few years I've lived on Long Island I've had a number of bad restaurant meals. However, there are two (2) that stand out as the biggest disappoints--disappointments because the restaurants (at least at the time) were regarded as offering some of the better food on the island. The first disappointment was The Country House, in Stony Brook. The other second was Le Soir, in Bayport.

Now, I will say that Le Soir is in the top 20 for food rating in the latest Zagat's. So, either I went there on an off night, or it shows the dangers of having "regular" people rate restaurants.

For an appetizer I got foie gras (terrine) with figs and toast. When it came out, juice from the figs was running all over the plate, and the presentation was otherwise nothing special. (Not that this is a bad thing, but it was a sign that things there are not done with the utmost care--such as, e.g., at Louis XVI, which has by far the best food presentation that I've experienced on the island.) The foie gras and figs tasted fine (and the portion was fairly large), but then it's foie gras and figs, nothing requiring a lot of effort.

My wife got bay scallops in a beurre blanc. (No, not Coquille St. Jacques.) The beurre blanc was all right, I thought. Certainly nothing extraorindary. But my wife hated the whole thing and didn't finish it.

Between the first course and the main course they served salad and soup. The salad was not much better than what you'd find in a diner, and the soup (a puree of mostly root vegetables, from what I could tell) tasted like something out of a can of Campbell's.

For the main course I had rabit in a cider sauce with mushrooms and vegetables. This was dreadful. The rabit was fine, though quite bony. But the sauce had that starchy taste, as when you don't let a roux-thickened sauce cook long enough (e.g. 45 mins to an hour or so, no matter what anyone else tells you). The mushrooms and vegetables had no special or interesting flavor. In fact the potatoes were quite bland.

My wife had lobster with what was supposed to be a "lemon butter sauce" or something. Of course, in fact, it was the same dull beurre blanc that she had had with her first course. I think a stray leaf of tarragon managed to find its way on her plate, as well.

For dessert my wife had chocolate mousse, and I had a crème caramel. Both of them were terrible, and both had hard, tough bits of material in them. I'm guessing either the eggs were allowed to curdle in both dishes, or, in the mousse, inferior chocolate was used (and, thus, it didn't melt as smoothly as better chocolate).

One of the criteria, if not the main criterion, I use in judging restaurants is whether I could have made the same thing at home. This meal--not only could I have done everything much better, but I would have been embarrassed to have served it even to my wife (who has suffered through her share of my mistakes).

Two out of five stars.


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At 2:58 PM, Blogger Lamont said...

What an obnoxious post!

The wife sounds like an absolute horror.

Hope the "gourmet dinners" at yours are less distasteful than this review. And less full of "hard material."

At 10:54 AM, Anonymous samthgirl said...

Ha Ha you are right....I now refer to the place as "Le Sewer"

At 8:32 AM, Blogger Ronno said...

Le Soir is a dinosaur coasting on former laurels (which weren't all that great from the gitgo in my view). Ate there recently with my wife and found the entire experience so utterly mediocre, dull and un-French like (ordinarily not a bad thing) that I would never go back. This place doesn't just need a face lift, it needs a full lobotomy. Le Sewer indeed.

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I go to LeSoir every couple months or so.

All I can say I have never had an experience like yours. The escargot is terrific, the appetizers well above average.

The puree soups are overwhelmingly well received and definitely are not anywhere near "out of a can."

All of your comments make me doubt your accuracy.

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Butter lover said...

"All of your comments make me doubt your accuracy."

Not sure what you mean by accuracy. If you want to say the comments make you doubt my credentials to write about food, I would say the whole blog should make you do that.

At 1:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you want delicious food that is greatly superior to Le Soir try Kitchen a Bistro in St. James. Far better and you can bring your own bottle and save money.

At 12:31 PM, Blogger Tom Mariner said...

Le Soir is one of our favorites -- possibly because we live in Bayport. But some of our other favorites are on the North Fork and floating down the Seine in Paris, so it isn't just location.

Yes, the selection is partly from an time before anything that is hyphenated with a "nouveau" - it is "classical". I have never had an ill prepared meal, a stale roll, or less than excellent service in what looks like a French farmhouse on the side of Montauk Highway.

In fact, just writing about it has gotten me in a mood to dine there tonight.

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous JimBob said...

Yea Ive been to Le Soir and had a great time. Maybe your missing the meaning of Traditional French Cuisine and atmosphere? Frog legs were phenominal, the rack of lamb was too. I have to disagree with everything you posted about this restaurant.

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