South Ocean Grill: Small place, huge taste

For a late Valentine’s Day dinner, my husband and I made reservations for South Ocean Grill in Patchogue, New York. I had heard wonderful things about the food and that the location was very small and intimate.

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Inside South Ocean Grill

We took a ride service to the restaurant because I figured parking would be an issue and we wanted to have a few glasses of wine. I believe the only parking is on the street with signs that specify where patrons can park. When we walked in, the desk to check in was right there, so we told them our name and sat right down. The hostess sat us down at a table with two plush round leather armchairs with little red pillows on them for added comfort, and they were really comfortable.

We looked over the drink menu to choose wine and I ordered a Pinot Grigio and TK got a Sauvignon Blanc. I can’t remember the winery for either of them, but they were enjoyable. The waitress poured the wine into our glasses and left us a little carafe to refill at our leisure. We skipped appetizers and ordered our entrees with our wine. I decided on the Pan Seared Jumbo Scallops and Rock Shrimp and TK chose the Palm Beach Ribeye. My scallops and shrimp were served on a bed of creamy risotto. The scallops were cooked perfectly. They were little soft pillows of flavor. The risotto was buttery and wonderfully tasty. I made sure to share some of it with TK because a meal this good is meant to be shared. He agreed that the scallops weren’t chewy at all, like they sometimes are. They were cooked exactly as they should be. He also enjoyed the risotto I shared with him and remarked on the flavor.

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Pan Seared Jumbo Scallops and Rock Shrimp

He shared his ribeye with me and it had a tasty marinade on it. I could taste an Asian flavor and TK reinforced my thoughts and told me that it was marinated in soy sauce and ginger. He loved it, but did say that he didn’t like the amount of fat that was left on the meat. To that, I told him that he should get the Filet Mignon next time, because there will be a next time and he agreed. The Ribeye came with a baked potato and he was pretty happy with that.

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Palm Beach Ribeye

I was finished with my meal before TK because it was delicious and I like to eat seafood before it gets cold. I sipped on my wine in my comfortable chair and waited for TK to be finished with his steak. When he finished, we ordered the Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie to share. Peanut butter and chocolate is my favorite combination and whipped cream is a great addition to anything sweet. Of course, we scooped up some whipped cream to start every bite. It was a great ending to a fantastic meal.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie

Fortunately, South Ocean Grill offers reservation options on Open Table. I strongly recommend booking a table at a specified time because I counted approximately 28 table seats at the restaurant. I will be doing so when I plan my return trip. After all, I heard great things about their salads and their flatbreads.

South Ocean Grill, 567 S. Ocean Avenue, Patchogue, 631.307.9999

Mannino’s is Great for Dates

After a long week, TK and I made plans with our friends to go out for a double date to Mannino’s in Oakdale, New York. It was a Saturday night, so when we arrived there was a one hour wait to be seated as a party of four, but fortunately, I was able to find a seat at the bar and enjoy a glass of Riesling beforehand. It was cool and refreshing, and I could feel myself relaxing more and more with every sip. Thank goodness.

White Clam Combo

       White Clam Combo

The food at Mannino’s is reasonably priced and very good. There is a great variety of dishes to enjoy, including the seafood and pasta dishes which are quite delicious.

We started our meal with the Rice Balls and the Clams Oreganata. The Rice Balls were small but crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside; exactly how they should be. The Clams were smaller than I like, but they had a great taste to them. I preferred the Rice Balls to the Clams Oreganata.

I guess I didn’t get enough clams because for my entree, I ordered the White Clam Combo. It had linguine, an assortment of different-sized clams, bay scallops and shrimp submerged in garlic, wine and oil. I made sure to empty all of the shells first to get them out of the way. This dish was very enjoyable and I finished the whole thing, even though it probably could have used a touch of salt.

TK enjoyed the Frutti Di Mare. It was chock full of seafood with shrimp, crab meat, clams, mussels and scallops. I made sure to take a snapshot of it before he started eating and he was super annoyed with me. That didn’t last and neither did his entree.

Frutti Di Mare

    Frutti Di Mare

After this delicious meal, we decided to make it a habit to go out on dates and to go to Mannino’s.

Mannino’s, 1575 Montauk Highway, Oakdale, NY, 631.218.0909

My SJCNY Top 5 Summer Foods

When I am not eating, I work for a liberal arts college on Long Island. I created a Top 5 list of foods to eat this summer in the New York metropolitan area and St. Joseph’s College published the list to its website this week.

Check it out here, and then let me know what you think in the comments below.

My Top 5

A summertime favorite now for every season: Flo’s Luncheonette

Every Memorial Day, I would get really excited that Flo’s was about to open at Corey Beach in Blue Point, New York. However, Flo’s has expanded and there is another location that will be open all year in Patchogue. We have visited several times already and it is only the beginning of August. The staff is really friendly and have even played with my son from time to time, and Connor, the owner is very accommodating. In the Patchogue location, there are indoor and outdoor tables and an indoor bar that serves beer, wine and cider. I’ve taken TK, Jax, my parents, my colleagues and my friend Catherine and her son Joey to Flo’s to enjoy the fresh and extensive menu.

Each time I visit, I try to order something new. At this point, I’ve eaten the Baked Clams, Fried Calamari, the Big EZ Wrap, Fried Beer-Battered Shrimp, Fried Clams, Sweet Potato Fries, Regular Fries, Waffle Fries and Onion Rings. My father loved the Fish & Chips, Manhattan Clam Chowder and the Clams on the Half Shell. My mother gets the Coconut Shrimp every time and Catherine enjoyed the Lobster Roll. I just don’t see how you can go wrong, especially washed down with a refreshing Summer Blend.

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Out of all of the delicious meals that I’ve eaten, I’ve liked the Big EZ Wrap and the Fried Calamari best. I’ve reviewed the Big EZ Wrap before in my post: Summertime Hangout. The Fried Calamari is so good because the squid is soft and not chewy, and the breading is crunchy and flavorful. With the marinara sauce, it is a great appetizer or meal. A side of their thick Onion Rings with zesty horseradish dipping sauce is also a great accompaniment to any sandwich, wrap or seafood option.

Now you can get Flo’s in two locations and even find them at local festivals with their Flo’s to Go food truck. The only negative to the Flo’s to Go truck is that they don’t serve their full menu, including the Summer Blend, which maybe you can tell is quite important to me, but everything is still delicious nonetheless.

Flo’s Luncheonette, 225 West Main Street, Patchogue, NY, 888-FLOS-TOGO.

 

Summer is on its way!

How do you know that summer is coming on Long Island? SEAFOOD!

Yesterday, I had my first lobster roll of the season at the Harbor Crab Co. in Patchogue, N.Y. for a fundraiser luncheon and it was great. Can you see all that chunky lobster?

Lobster Roll

Lobster Roll at Harbor Crab

Summer is when you eat steamers, oysters on the half shell (not me, other people) and steamed lobster on Long Island, and you don’t do so at a Red Lobster. You go to one of the dozens of seafood restaurants/cafes/shacks in the area. This may be my favorite thing about living on Long Island, aside from the wineries and beaches.

This Lobster Roll at Harbor Crab was a great option for lunch, or ever, but my favorite dish from them is still the creamy She Crab Soup, which is only on the lunch menu. If you like chowder, you need it.

But, if you want a delicious Lobster Roll on Long Island, try one from the list of Must Eat Lobster Rolls on Long Island that Newsday created. (I’ve only had #1.) I think I need to head out to the PJ Lobster House in Port Jefferson and have theirs (#3) because they offer the option of an actual roll or toast instead of a hot dog bun. When I am spending $20 or more for a sandwich, I would like some substance. Am I right?

Welcome to spring on Long Island!

A Rockin’ Restaurant: Rockin Fish

A ladies’ lunch with two of my girls had me searching Northport, N.Y. for great eateries. After a recommendation from a couple of Facebook friends, we decided on Rockin Fish on Main Street. This quaint “burger, oyster and brew house” had 16 craft beers on tap and a menu full of specialties. How could we go wrong?

We all ordered a beer and I chose the Ramstein Double Blonde. It was crisp and refreshing. Colleen chose the Saranac Tramonay and it was delicious. It tasted like a mix of white wine and beer because it was very grapey. We were all very happy with our choices.

For lunch, Nicole and I decided to share two plates. I ordered the Shrimp Tempura Wrap with a side of Mixed Greens and she ordered the Pulled Pork Quesadilla with a side of French Fries. The Shrimp Tempura Wrap was very fresh and crunchy. The Tabasco frightened us at first, but it didn’t add too much heat to the taste of the dish. The Pulled Pork Quesadilla had a BBQ sauce that made it sweet and the sour cream on the side added a coolness. The two dishes were a great lunch combination, and their sides were delicious as well.

The Rockin Fish was a great choice for lunch, and it probably would be a great choice for dinner too. We will have to try it in the future. We chose from the sandwich part of the menu for lunch, but the entrees include tuna, bacon-wrapped scallops and short ribs. One of those dishes with a craft beer to wash it down would be perfection. We will be back, but I think I said that already.

Summertime Hangout at Flo’s

As soon as the sun starts really shining and the mercury starts to rise, Flo’s opens at Corey Beach in Blue Point, N.Y. This outdoor eatery is bustling whenever the sun is out and the beach is open. Good luck finding a seat at one of their many picnic tables. You may have to share with a polite stranger, but it will be worth it.

Summer Blend

A Large Summer Blend

Start your meal with a refreshing Summer Blend, which is their version of an Arnold Palmer (iced tea and lemonade), or you can really treat yourself with one of their milkshakes or a Flo’s Fizzle (vanilla ice cream and orange soda). For your meal, you can choose from an array of wraps and sandwiches, with ingredients from land or sea. I had the Big EZ, which is not on the menu on their website, but it is listed on their on-site menu. This tasty wrap had grilled shrimp, bacon, avocado, lettuce, tomato and spicy mayo. The shrimp and bacon were warm, the lettuce and tomato added a cool crunch, and the spicy mayo added some heat. It was the perfect lunch combination.

In the past, I’ve had their Maryland Crab Cake Sandwich and it was good too, but nothing about it really sticks in my mind. However, the Big EZ was quite memorable. There are other menu items to add to your meal as well, like waffle fries, Manhattan clam chowder and a variety of fried items. I say, try them all!

Next time I visit Flo’s to enjoy a meal, I will walk up to the window and try their Fried Clam Wrap or maybe another wrap or sandwich with a unique name. It seems that they add more and more interesting options every year.

Flo’s has also added the Flo’s On the Go truck to their business. So, if you can’t get to Flo’s, maybe Flo’s can come to you or you will see them at a local fair or festival. They also added a bar on the side where you can find a bartender on certain nights.

Big EZ

The Big EZ Wrap

If you are looking for a fun place to eat under the sun, Flo’s is it and you don’t even have to wear a shirt, but a bathing suit would be a good idea, if you are a lady.

Flo’s Famous Luncheonette, 302 Middle Road, Blue Point, N.Y., 1.800.FLOS.TO.GO

UPDATE (2014): Flo’s now has a second location in Patchogue, N.Y.