After Nena called our favorite local restaurant, La Plage, several times at several different times of day (both before and during dinner service) and nobody picked up, including a machine, we settled on another local restaurant that we've enjoyed in the past--Andrew's by the Pond in Wading River.
We looked forward to the 6:00 p.m. reservation for well over a week, which is a sign of how our lives have changed. A 6 p.m. reservation?!?!
Anyway, it really didn't matter where we went or when, it was good just to get out and get some time with just the two of us.
When we arrived, we definitely did not need that reservation. There were plenty of tables and we were seated immediately. I didn't take any notes or pictures on this dining excursion, sorry guys, but here are some thoughts on our trip to Andrew's.
- We really enjoyed that on Sunday nights they have their "Cellar25" program where several wines from their list are $25 or less. My only complaint would be about it, and their wine list in general, is the lack of vintages or specifics. For instance, they had "Macari Chardonnay" on the list. Of course Macari makes three different chardonnays. Is it the steel fermented? Barrel fermented? What year is it? Then again, we're probably the only diners they've had in a while who know LI wine well enough to even know to ask.
- Have someone on staff who knows wine. Our waitress was super sweet, but she didn't know anything about the wine list, which is okay, but there wasn't a sommelier or anyone else who did. Eventually a man came over (who I think is either Andrew or his father) and helped us. His knowledge was limited too, however. He thought that only two wineries on the island make steel fermented chardonnay. That's not even close to true.
- We ended up with a bottle of Paumanok Vineyards' 2002 Merlot. It
was elegant, filled with cherry flavor and was quite nice with our
meals (more on that in a moment).
- As I said above, our server was really nice, engaging and attentive without hovering. That's really all I'm looking for. And she genuinely seemed to feel bad that she didn't know much about the wines and had to run to the back with our questions.
- When Nena and I ordered the same salad, she suggested that we split one because they are big. That was a great suggestion and not one that many would have made.
- The bread basket was stale...really stale. But the herb butter was very good.
- The salad we shared was terrific. Very fresh organic mesclun with goat cheese, apples, walnuts, red onions and roasted peppers and a well balanced herb-citrus dressing. If we return, this salad will definitely be ordered again.
- I ordered a strip steak cooked rare. Nena ordered filet mignon cooked medium rare. We received a strip steak that was cooked medium and a filet that was cooked medium rare. By this point we were hungry and didn't send them back (we probably should have). We just swapped steaks.
- Our sides, parmesan baked asparagus and garlic mashed potatoes were both very good.
Overall, I came away disappointed with the meal. Nena said to me towards the end "You are really complaining about a lot of things tonight" and I guess she was right. When you're at a restaurant with entrees that cross the $30 barrier, you expect certain things. The stale bread, while not a deal breaker, was annoying. As was the fact that we were drinking our wine out of the same glasses they use for by-the-glass drinkers. On a slow night, there's really no excuse for incorrectly cooking both of our steaks.
It had been a while since Nena and I had gone to Andrew's but neither of us remembered the menu being so "standard" either. I remember there being a lot more creativity and uniqueness to the menu, but as it is today, it's basically a steak house with a lot of standard seafood dishes too.
We'll probably go back, mostly because there is a severe lack of quality dining options in our immediate area, but it's not at the top of the list. After dinner we drove down the street to La Plage, just to see if maybe they were closed for the week or something. They were very much open and packed on a night when Andrew's was very slow.
That probably says it all, right?