Friday, June 09, 2006

Review: Mirabelle

I’ve eaten here now twice. The first time was a couple years ago, so I couldn’t really base a review on that first experience. But the wife and I went back recently.

The first time we ordered from the a la carte menu. My appetizer was perhaps the best appetizer I’ve ever had—a take on pot au feu, with lobster in a lemongrass broth. My entrée was the Duck Mirabelle. It was a great deal—duck in two courses for $36. The duck confit course (in my case the second one), was a bit tough, but the dish was still quite good, overall. The Duck Mirabelle is still on the menu, the pot au feu, unfortunately, is not.

On the latest visit we tried the tasting menu, which at the time was $80. Rather than go through each course, I’ll only mention a few things.

The terrine of lobster, shrimp and scallops was not great. It tastes like something you'd find at a grocery store deli. The texture is cold and mushy, and it’s served with other cold and soft items: wasabi mayo and a frisee salad dressed with lemon juice or a lemon juice vinaigrette. I had to take bites of bread just for a change in texture.

Snails in puff pastry with tomato concasse and a basil cream sauce was wonderfully balanced in terms of the flavors, but the snails themselves had almost no taste.

The black-pepper-crusted lamb loin was all right, but it was inexplicably served with a rhubarb marmalade, which did not go with the lamb at all and was surprisingly overpowering in flavor.

Another course was seared foie gras, which for some reason was sitting in, essentially, a bowl of miso soup. Didn’t get that. The miso, of course, sapped the foie gras of any crispness it may once have had.

The tasting menu was eight courses, but the last four courses were essentially desserts: a selection of cheeses, soufflé, sorbet, and a more traditional dessert. I don't really care about desserts, in general, and to have half of a tasting menu be desserts was disappointing.

The first time I went to Mirabelle I thought it was wonderful. It was one of my early experiences with the better restaurants on Long Island. But now, having tried most of the best places, the wife and I were both disappointed after this second visit. When we were leaving, the wife asked which was my favorite dish. I couldn’t answer. Not a single dish stood out. It was all fine, all decent but, in the end, underwhelming.

404 North Country Road
St. James

4 out of 5 stars


At 11:58 AM, Anonymous sammilynn said...

It's a shame. When a restaurant makes a splash and has been around for awhile, such as Mirabelle, the owners/proprieters/chefs get lazy and the food really starts to fall short. As a matter of face Mirabelle had a Dept of Health violation not too long ago, check out Suffolk county's DOH website.

At 7:08 AM, Blogger musicfann said...

My wife and I went there for an anniversary, say, several years ago.

First, I HATE those places with small tables who pack people in like canned fisheys ! It's pretentious for Long Island restaurants.


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