[...for many schoolchildren, teachers, public servants, etc. on Long Island] and we are already off to a great start here at Pond House. Jay Cardinal has taken it upon himself to cook several improvisations off the Charlie Trotter cookbook. Coming home from an engaging, wonderful but busy day at work, I was rewarded with the most incredible smell as I entered. Sitting in the nook, it's been a trip watching the pond. Mystery Shorebird has been hanging out again in the dead branches, and a Red-Shouldered Hawk just made a pass at the Mourning Doves. (Caught a few feathers, but not much more.)
Yesterday found us at H20 Seafood Restaurant on Main Street in Smithtown. We were greeted right away by the congenial staff, who were eager to make sure we had a positive experience. The Taste of Spring weeklong prix fixe featured 3 courses for $40, with an option to add in wine pairings with each course for an additional $10. (From a cost standpoint, it was a great deal--- the price was very reasonable, the portions a good size, and the plating immaculate.) The waitress handled our requests and concerns graciously, and the busboy was attentive. While we couldn't enjoy the White Burgundy we had hoped for (unfortunately, it was not available per the curse of Jay Cardinal), the gently-oaked, slightly-floral Sancerre brought a taste of early Spring to accompany our dishes. Jay's Fried Oysters with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Red Pepper Aioli were "well executed" (the oyster were quite moist, even after being fried), while my Spring Salad with Red and Yellow Beats, Local Goat Cheese and Verjus Dressing was healthy-tasting, in the most pleasant sort of way. We both had the Chilean Turbot with Cornmeal Crust and Spring Pea Lobster Ragout. It [the turbot] was quite good, but further seasoning of the fish would have put this dish over the top. The Strawberry Rhubarb Napoleon featured a brilliant creme, but the puff pastry lacked the desired warmth and flakiness. Valet service took expediency to a whole new level (which was very much appreciated.) This would be a great return place for an early evening cocktail and light plates.