Fine Dining From The Harbor To The Bay

The Scallops come with a view of the Great South Bay at The Lakehouse.

Sandbar in Cold Spring Harbor is the latest in the Lessing family of restaurants featuring the culinary creations of Executive Chef Guy Reuge, who is noted for rallying Mirabelle at Three Village Inn in Stony Brook.

The restaurant is decorated with high-eaved ceilings, a gas fireplace and nautical décor, and a wall separating the bar and the dining area. Sandbar’s extensive wine list featuring both new and old world selection is extensive and starts at $50.

The three of us shared four appetizers – vivid smoked trout with horseradish aioli served over farro salad; tantalizing tomato braised octopus, laden with shaved fennel salad in a tomato vinaigrette; heavenly tuna crudo; and full-flavored duck tacos (jalapeno omitted). Each was tastefully presented. Appetizers are priced from $8-$20.

The next course was the pasta special – bucatini dancing in a seafood tomato sauce seasoned with herbs, the tender veal osso bucco, and Long Island duck duo – a seared breast and confit leg, bursting out from the accompaniment of tagine, dates and mint. Mains are priced from $22-$42.

Don’t skip dessert, all priced at $11 each. You wouldn’t think that the climax to a wonderful meal would be milk and cookies, but three of us were able to share this heavenly ending.

Sandbar, 55 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor, 631-498-6188. Open daily for lunch and dinner including special Sunday brunch menu.

Chefs on the run

Joe Gannascoli, who played mobster Vito Spatafore in The Sopranos, has been surprising guests by preparing spaghetti carbonara with a Parmesan wheel tableside at the Matteo’s Trattoria & Bar in both Roslyn and Huntington.

The LakeHouse

This gem was a sweet 65-seat treasure on Lawrence Lake until last year, when it moved to Maple Avenue in Bay Shore with stunning views of the Great South Bay.

It offers perfect settings, on the outdoor patio in the summer or by a warm fireplace in the winter. We were with a group of 10 on a recent visit. Our first view after getting a peek at the lights on the bay was of an impressive entry with live music from a talented piano player, whose selections ran through hits from most eras. We enjoyed the music, which wasn’t too loud to drown out our dinner conversation.

Dinner began with a complimentary tasting of shrimp with avocado-red pepper aioli served over a cucumber. We would have liked the tasting to be available as a full order.

The grilled octopus salad was prepared with the smoky taste of chorizo with a chickpea puree and clementines and a drizzle of sherry vinegar that had been aged. We also enjoyed the tasty large chunks of clams, shiitake mushrooms and applewood bacon with a drizzle of chive oil that made up the Little Neck clam chowder.

The organic farm (to table) green salad had candy beets and goat cheese gently bathed with a blood orange vinaigrette. Also at our table was the appetizer of fresh cavatelli with tender braised Berkshire pork shank ragu, porcini and ricotta; and yellowfin tuna tartare served over cucumber with crispy potato chips. Appetizers run from $10-17.

The second act featured tender venison done medium rare and pepper crusted, accompanied by crispy mustard spaetzle, cabbage braised in raspberry beer, parsnip puree and a cognac jus. Another star was a decadent medium-rare duck breast and crisped leg confit with pistachio pomegranate glaze, costarring an apricot pilaf. Also on our table was a dish of fleshy scallops served on cannellini bean puree with juicy charred cherry tomatoes, and spinach draped in a garlic mussel broth.

Next was a melt-in-your-mouth porkchop with green apple, yam, onion gratin made with blue cheese and caramelized onion, and a cranberry mustard, maple bacon vinaigrette. The chicken had a stuffing of brioche, prosciutto and mushrooms, honey-glazed onions and a Madeira pan gravy. The salmon was served with babyred beets and French lentils, a celery root purée, and a sauce of pinot noir butter. Entrees run from $29-$41.

For our final act, we sampled the soufflé, pear tart and baked Alaska. On out next visit we will be sure to try the warm cinnamon doughnuts. Desserts are $11.

LakeHouse, 135 Maple Ave., Bay Shore, 631-666-0995. Open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday, Sunday brunch. Reopening for lunch on April 1.

Jeff Wurst is a practicing attorney. Vera is a retired schoolteacher. Both love Long Island food and wine and are delighted to share their discoveries with you. Contact them via [email protected].