Review: La Plage
La Plage is located in Wading River, way up almost on the water (the water is on the other side of the street). The building is a one-story converted beach house in a neighborhood of other beach houses. Seriously. So, ambiance (including the window-unit air conditioners sticking out of the walls) is not exactly the place’s strength.
The restaurant does not offer any complimentary amuses, just rolls—that were warm and not terrible. Other than that, the meal started off well. I had seared foie gras over quail with a gastrique of some sort. (There were also the trendy micro-greens that, of course, add no flavor to the dish—at least not a dish of that sort.) It was quite good, though the piece of foie gras was a bit small (not the enormous portions the Mill River Inn, for instance, offers).
The wife had a salad and pumpkin risotto. The risotto was all right, nothing extraordinary. I could hardly taste the pumpkin. I did like that, instead of the traditional tossing in of grated Parmesan at the end, they decorated the perimeter of the plate with quarter-sized bits of Parmesan frico.
For an entrée I went back to the risotto, namely braised short ribs over a risotto featuring wild mushrooms and sweet peas. The short ribs were very nice—very tender and not even a bone in them, just two big hunks of meat. The risotto was good, but not great. It was a tad under-seasoned (and no salt or pepper on the table, of course) and did not have any particularly strong flavor, which I was hoping for. There were fresh chanterelles in the risotto, which was nice.
The wife had rigatoni with shrimp in a manchego sauce. If that sounds like something you’d find at the Olive Garden, you’re right. It was fine, but the flavor was simple and obvious, just like you’d find at the Olive Garden. Except at La Plage it cost something like $22 instead of $10.
For dessert I had pumpkin cheesecake. (Oddly enough, before going to the restaurant my wife worried they’d have pumpkin or butternut squash all over the place. I told her it’s way too early for that. Shows you what I know.) This was all right, but nothing to get excited about. My wife thought it was disgusting. She had a peanut butter tart that didn’t look anything like a tart. Her entrée tasted like something you’d get at the Olive Garden, her dessert like something from Applebee’s.
With tax and tip it came to $160, about average for the allegedly upper-crust restaurants on Long Island. The food was good but not great. It lacks the complexity and subtlety of flavor of the better restaurants. For some reason it is consistently in the top-10 in Zagat’s.
3 out of 5 stars