Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Review: Cafe La Strada

Cafe La Strada is tucked away at the annoying convergence of Joshua's Path and Wheeler Road in Hauppauge, just below the entrance to the L.I.E. (could've sworn it was Central Islip). The only thing smaller than its dining room is its parking lot. But, if you're resourceful, you can squeeze into a space in the rear. Being able to leave after you're finished eating is another matter...

The place has gotten good word of mouth, locally, and Joanne Starkey recently gave it a "Very Good" review in the NY Times. Some friends and I visited there on a Friday night, and the room was packed--but not overly cramped.

We skipped appetizers and only ordered entrees. I had the "hay and straw" pasta, which was served in a cream sauce, with prosciutto and mushrooms. The peas gave it a lovely sweet accompaniment. While the dish was good, it was very rich, really too rich for a portion that size.

On special that night was a whole sea bass. It's smaller than you'd think (about a foot long) and is filleted and served table-side by the proprietor, Hugo Bua. My friends advised the fish was quite tasty. I saw a lot of diced garlic on their plates, so I imagine it had a garlicky kick to it.

Another special was duck served with an au poivre sauce. I'm not a pepper fanatic, so it didn't appeal to me. But my friend, who had never had duck before, quite enjoyed it.
If I had been there with the wife, I would have sampled some appetizers and desserts and actually tried her food. But it was not to be. However, everyone thought their meals were good.

The entrees are moderately priced ($15 to $20 or so). But the specials were around $30, so be sure to ask about the price if you order them. Incidentally, my entree was $14.95, but they charged me $16.95.

I wouldn't mind going back there in the future and trying some more items.

3 out of 5 stars

352 Wheeler Road
(631) 234-5550


At 9:05 PM, Blogger drewhaa said...

I found Cafe La Strada on and decided to go eat there this past weekend with my girlfriend. We both had an excellent meal and the service was really good. I definitely recommend Cafe La Strada to others.

At 7:04 AM, Blogger Alida Thorpe said...

Our friends have gone to Cafe La Strada weekly for years. I've been there 4 or 5 times and have never had a bad meal or bad experience. Just thought I'd add my two cents.

At 6:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

La Strada is for the locals. If you don't go there regularly they will freeze you out for tables, make you wait an hour or just ignore you. You will also be overcharged on menu items if you are not a regular as you were. If you go here often, the staff is friendly, the food is great and it will be the best dining experience you had. If you are not a regular, you will feel very uncomfortable here as if you are not wanted.

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Ronno said...

For the life of me I cannot understand why this restaurant is not open on Sunday. I like Cafe La Strada well enough, but it's uneven at best. When the kitchen gets too ambitious, trouble begins. Best to keep to the classics, invariably, the southern Italian dishes. IF northern Italian is your thing, seek it out elsewhere.


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