The commute over the East River from Long Island (which enables one to behold three boroughs at once) is possibly one of the most breathtaking sights in the world. (The part that involves driving through the middle of the island via 34th street is not. Never again, as I will override the car's GPS and tweak the route next time.)
Suffice to say, after we located parking in the fifties and made our way to the London, we were delighted with the best of company and a real culinary treat. Maze had a slightly dated, seventies glow to it, but it also had a warmth. Though the place was very busy, we didn't find it noisy or overcrowded. The service would have made Chef Ramsey himself blush, so we'll be charitable and skip right to the food, which was excellent. We all went with the five-course tasting menu. The cauliflower soup was excellent, and the little parmesan crisp acompanying it was absolutely delightful. The ovenbaked beetroots with celeriac and lemon confit were heavenly. The sea scallops were perfectly done; the black cod was fair. The Valrhona chocolate fondant had a depth without being overwhelmingly sweet, and the ice-cream that accompanied it presented a lot of unexpected flavours.
Yesterday, Jay Cardinal and I took a little road trip. Since the summer craziness has ended, I've had a strong desire to go for a drive on the Ocean Parkway. After Sandy, that became impossible; two months after the storm, the road has been partially reopened, and we were able to do just that. We traveled as far as the western most barrier islands to Lido Beach and Long Beach. It is amazing the amount of cleanup that has transpired in such a short time, but there is still a long ways to go. Signs of the storm's devastation were visible everywhere, in the dumpsters and filth that lined the streets as well as the boarded up garages and lower floors of townhomes. How these people manage is beyond me. At the same time, the businesses along the main drag have reopened, and it was so good to see the parking lots and streets full.
Views of Jones Beach from Field 6
On the way home, we travelled a stretch of 27a and found ourselves in Islip at Port Royal (which was featured in an episode of Man vs. Food). Our ambitions weren't as lofty as Adam Richman's; we just wanted a decent pint and a tie-one-over-to-dinner snack. The bartender couldn't have been lovelier, and she let us try a few beers. Palm was a polite, Belgian ale with a curious nose ---pickle--- (I'm not kidding), and Jim went with a wonderful, floral Peak Organic (don't laugh) seasonal beer. We split the Seven Seas Sampler. For pub food, it hit the spot, and the service was excellent. If we're in the neighborhood again, I'm sure we'll stop in.