Sandbar, Cold Spring Harbor, NY
Photo courtesy Sandbar
First of all, I am really sorry about my lapse in posting. Yes, I know my last post pictured a snowy back porch. So much has happened since then! Most importantly, we bought a house. It's a mid-century home with great bones and lots of potential. At last count our project list numbers in the 90s. Yes, I said 90, and that list includes big projects like redoing the entire kitchen, building a woodshop, rewiring the living room, removing carpeting, refinishing floors — you get the drift. So honestly, the house project has taken over my life and what little free time I have. But tonight we got a break. We decided to go out and celebrate a variety of events, including our wedding anniversary and my husband's and mother's birthdays.
Our usual celebration place is Peter Luger's. There are two locations: Williamsburg Brooklyn and Great Neck on Long Island, so it's an easy choice. Hard to beat, massive red meat (aged Porterhouse), but pretty heavy. I was feeling like something new, so I did a little research and found the only James Beard-nominated restaurant on Long Island. Run by chef Guy Reuge, Sandbar is 15 minutes from our house, so off we went.
The restaurant decor is yacht-club-chic with a little Restoration-Hardware-industrial-elegance mixed in. Modern landscape paintings of Long Island, and waiters in khakis and blue-checked shirts. Trés WASPy! The dark wood table was simple (no tablecloth) with beautiful white china, a single white chrysanthemum, and good thin glassware. Silverware could have been better. The menu is small and well-thought-out, with local, seasonal ingredients and many very tempting seafood options.
We started with cocktails; a margarita, a vodka tonic, and a Negroni. They were well-mixed and a little strong. They did have a few signature cocktails on the menu, but they were not that interesting and two had ginger in them (I'm allergic), so I went with my old standard.
For appetizers we had the foie gras of the day which was grilled, served with brioche toasts and a dark purple beet purée. When the beautiful dish arrived, I tried to cut the brioche into three pieces (because we were sharing each dish) and the knife slipped and went into the beet purée which splashed all over my mother's face, her orange sweater — wait there's more — I also got the wall, the window sill, and the white curtain. What a mess, I was so embarrassed and the waiter was such a gentleman, thank you! I should mention it was excellent, perfectly grilled with the sweet purée cutting the rich fat flavor. We also had the chickpea fries, which were super light and fluffy, with with chipotle creme — a tiny bit of heat.
The main courses were all superb. Jim tried the special of the day, soft-shell crab. They were simply fresh and delicious, lightly sautéed with a little lemon. Bernice had the duck, nice and crisp, with apricot sauce and her usual: "Please no vegetables, can I have French fries?" I had the swordfish which was moist and flavorful and served with edamame, peas, ramps, and potatoes finished with a Creole emulsion.
Left to right: soft-shell crab; duck; swordfish.
The dessert selection was solid, but not mind-blowing. There were about six choices, including ricotta doughnuts and a trio of sorbets. We had the chocolate bread pudding served with booze-soaked cherries and vanilla ice cream and the toasted lemon pound cake served with coffee ice cream. They were fantastic!
Besides the fact that the waiter did not know what the foie gras of the day was when I asked, and that the butter was ice cold (which kind of kills the warm bread service), I would have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this meal.