Restaurant Review: La Plage

La Plage” is French for the beach, and that’s exactly where one of Long Island’s hidden treasures can be found—La Plage the restaurant, located in Wading River. You’ll find La Plage down a winding road leading to the water, where fresh seafood is key to this French-American restaurant’s seasonal menus.

Chef and owner Wayne Wadington presents eclectic, creative French-American cuisine that is not only delicious to the palate but beautiful to the eye as well, as each dish is sculpted into a work of art—A+ for presentation!

The menu at La Plage is an exciting array of familiar and exotic foods, paired curiously together to tantalize the palate. To start we were served a warm basket of bread: one loaf that had salty pops of black looked like it had Kalamata olives inside; the other had a sweet pop of what I think were cranberries. Both were served with soft, creamy, sweet French butter. [expand]

For starters we decided to try the Sunchoke Volouté and the Red & Gold Beet Salad. I’ve had roasted sunchokes before—given to me by our epicurean Sections Editor Stacy Dermont—and a volouté, as I’ve learned, is a “mother of all sauces” in French cuisine. Basically it’s a sauce made from a roux (butter and flour cooked together) with some sort of stock added to it. The sunchokes are roasted or pan sautéed with garlic and spices until soft, and then added to the volouté sauce. Chef Wayne’s version is topped with crispy hazelnut-crusted baby shrimp and a lemon-infused olive oil. The sunchokes are a curious flavor, tasting to me like a smoky artichoke, but with more texture. The pairing with the shrimp was delicious, and the lemon olive oil brought the dish together.

The Red & Gold Beet Salad was served with a Bûcheron cheese and blood oranges. Bûcheron cheese is a semi-soft goat’s milk cheese that has been aged for 5 to 10 weeks, and goes so well with the mellow flavor of the beets. The dish was a beautiful array of colors and textures all coming together with a sweet vinaigrette drizzled around the plate.

Being crab cake lovers, we decided to try the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Risotto, which was simple and divine. The risotto was creamy, yet instead of being heavy and clumpy as some versions tend to be, this risotto was light with the scent of lemon zest and beautifully cut local asparagus, cherry tomatoes and, to top it off, a mountain of a crab cake. The cake was about 95% crab and 5% breading, a perfect ratio. The crab was plump, juicy and melted perfectly with the fresh vegetable risotto. It was so good I plan to try and replicate the dish in my own kitchen one day soon!

For our main courses I chose the Long Island Duck Breast, which was served with mustard greens, mashed sweet yams, almonds and a sour almond purée. I love duck, and consider it a delicacy for sure, and so I savored every succulent, crispy bite cooked to perfection by this classically trained French chef. Pure heaven. The mustard greens helped cut through the heavy duck, and there were no lingering traces of bitterness left in the greens—very delicious. My date ordered the king of all meats, the Black Angus Filet, served with wild mushrooms, a Yukon gold potato puree, and a brandy demi-glace. The high quality of the beef was evident in the tenderness of each bite, and the mushrooms were perfectly woodsy and meaty. Each bite could be sopped up with the creamy, buttery potatoes, and everything came together with the delectable demi-glace.

Having reached my favorite part of the meal—dessert—I didn’t hesitate a moment when I saw a Tahitian Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée on the menu—my absolute favorite. A spectacular crème brulée comes along once in a while, and today was my lucky day. La Plage’s crème brulée was perfection in a ramekin. The custard was creamy, rich yet light at the same time, and the crunchy sugary exterior took my tastes buds to nirvana—a home run dessert at this fine establishment.

If you’re looking to enjoy a romantic dinner with your special someone, La Plage is a great choice. The menu also offers dishes such as Warm Spanish Octopus Salad ($13), Spring Pea & Mint Ravioli ($14), Pappardelle with Chorizo, Mussels, Scallops and Shrimp ($26) and Yukon Gold Potato-Encrusted Halibut ($29). Specials are offered daily. For more information, visit www.laplagerestaurant.net or call 631-744-9200. [/expand]

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