Restaurant Review: The Driver’s Seat

Sitting is the Driver’s Seat on Job’s Lane in Southampton is quite a pleasant experience. The interior has been completely re-done since I was last there a few years ago. Owner Irma Herzog has made it bigger and better, now it’s all set for parties, catering, they even accommodate pets on the patio. A great stop while shopping the day away. But you still enter through a circa 1888 storefront, along one of Southampton’s oldest commercial streets. Nice.

The bar in the front is popular and it’s bordered by sparkling, little tables. We sat in a booth in the back. Very quickly some tasty, warm rolls arrived to welcome us.

Bartender Tom, who’s been there for 35 years, got us started. Our server Corrine quipped, “You can’t go wrong with a Pina Colada.” I quite enjoyed my Pina Colada, stirring the whipped cream down in…. My husband ordered a dry gin martini, which he pronounced “Ah, perfect.” (A very rare compliment.) [expand]

I was tempted by the Soup of the Day, Lobster Bisque, but I ordered up a cup of Driver’s Seat Chili (see photo above). Husband went for some Buffalo Wings. My chili was good – well spiced cubes of sirloin, red kidney beans, plum tomatoes, topped with onions and cheese. I “helped” with Husband’s wings. They were true Buffalo wings, simply prepared, kinda hot. Bravo. Smooth (as opposed to chunky) bleu cheese dressing makes this Buffalo gal a little sad – but I went right ahead and poured the leftover dressing into my chili. Yup.

I didn’t want a huge meal – Corrine suggested the Lobster Roll. Good stuff. A luscious salad of chunks and shreds of lobster plus crunchy bits of celery and red onion, on a buttery split roll. It was just the right amount of food for moi.

Though the Drivers Seat offers a large selection of beers on tap, which change with the season, Husband went for a House Sauvignon Blanc to accompany Irma’s Fajitas. He ordered the tequila marinated shrimp fajitas, which arrived in a glorious, steaming presentation. The Driver’s Seat’s china is very festive with big splashes of red and orange and wide white borders. Unfortunately he found the fajitas curiously bland. Of course he made a point of eating all the shrimp, nonetheless.

Corrine also brought out a Driver’s Seat Famous Baked Clam Casserole. After Husband’s first taste he summed it up with two of the best words in the English language, “Lotta butta.” Served with lemon wedges and crackers, it’s like a giant baked clam but better, less bready. Corrine told us, “This has been around forever. People come from Syosset, Oyster Bay for this. Of course they do!”

Husband was too full to order his typical “liquid dessert.”

I was torn between the Flan Napolitano and the Rice Pudding. Corrine informed me that they are both homemade and both very good. That didn’t help. I went with the flan – a triangle of smooth and creamy, butterscotchy perfection topped with whipped cream and a slice of strawberry. Corrine felt that I should also try the homemade Carrot Cake, which I did. Not bad; sweet cream cheese frosting, plenty of chopped nuts in the cake.

In case you’re wondering, in 1960 former owner Kingsley Moore, who was a huge fan of the Bridgehampton Racetrack, gave this restaurant its distinctive name.

 

The Driver’s Seat, 66 Job’s Lane, Southampton. 631-283-6606. www.driversseatrestaurant.com.

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