By Dave Seel, Long Island Food Correspondent
It seems every time I decide to eat at La Plage, I can’t remember how to get there. It’s somewhere near Wading River by the beach, hence the name “La Plage,” but the exact route I take always seems to allude me. Eventually though, I do happen upon Sound Road that winds me to the small restaurant.
For years now, Chef Wayne Wadington has been making waves across the North Shore with his eclectic, French-inspired cuisine. Clean, straightforward and always delicious, Wadington's food is based upon fresh, seasonal ingredients. Recently, my wife and I visited for their Valentine’s Champagne Brunch with Sparkling Pointe, Long Island’s sparkling wine-only winery.
We both chose the homemade lobster ravioli as our next course. I always jump at the chance to try a chef’s homemade pasta and Chef Wadington’s did not disappoint. Homemade pasta has a wonderful soft, delicate texture when made well. The ravioli melted in our mouths, giving way to delicious buttery lobster. The tomato-based sauce, created with a homemade seafood stock, had a nice creamy, briny taste that complemented the lobster perfectly.
The course was accompanied with Sparkling Pointe’s 2006 Blanc De Blancs. A beautiful golden color, this wine surprisingly held up to the brininess of the sauce and its almond, pear, and buttery notes paired perfectly with the lobster.
The best moment of the meal arrived with my main course: Berkshire pork belly eggs benedict. I still have dreams of this dish. Seriously. I do.
Crisp, smoked, maple-syrup glazed pork belly topped with perfectly poached eggs and a rich hollandaise sauce. It was eggs benedict-meets eggs with bacon, taken to a whole new level. Again, the dish was simple, but the flavor was astounding.
The main course was paired with one of Sparkling Pointe’s top wines, their 2002 Brut Seduction. Again, I was impressed when this sparkling wine stood up to the richness of my pork dish. With notes of ginger and apple, the velvety mouth feel gave a light, but flavorful complement to the savory and sweet pork belly.
We finished off the meal with a passion fruit ice cream sundae and a final tasting of Sparkling Pointe’s NV Cuvee Carnivale. The cuvee is a slighty sweeter-style sparkling wine, which generally I’m don’t prefer, but was a nice touch with our dessert. The citrus and floral notes paired well with the sweet vanilla and fruit flavors of the sundae.
Finishing with an espresso, we chatted with Sparkling Pointe winemaker, Gilles Martin. We learned Martin is now working on a 100% pinot sparkling wine to be released in the coming months. He is also hosting many tasting dinners across the region as well as at the Sparkling Pointe tasting room. It’s indicative of their commitment to making sparkling wine accessible to many palates.
After the meal, we took a short walk on the beach to take in the whole experience. The reminiscence of sparkling wine combined perfectly with the salty air of the Long Island Sound. One of the wonderful aspects of La Plage is the reflection of its place along the water in its cuisine. Alongside the beach, it merges the sea and land on a plate bringing the flavors of French cuisine and Long Island ingredients to life. Whether visiting for brunch or dinner, it’s a wonderful spot for an adventure…if you can find it, that is.