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

Mangia at Mannino’s

 

Mannino’s is very close to Tao Show East on Montauk Highway in Oakdale, but the food is countries apart. At first, I thought that the wait and the prices would be atrocious and I would be under-dressed because there was valet parking, but that was not the case with Mannino’s. The prices on the menu are reasonable, with nothing more than $40, but if you want a side of pasta or mashed potatoes, that may take your dish above that.

To start, we ordered the Hot Antipasto and the Rice Balls. If you are a hefty eater or you are planning to share, you may want to order more than one order of each because the rice balls were delicious, but there were only three small balls and the antipasto had some great ingredients, but there was only one of each baked clam, shrimp, eggplant rollatini, stuffed mushroom and stuffed pepper. The stuffed pepper was my favorite, but I had to share it because there were four of us at the table. I do have table manners, most of the time.

For my meal, I ordered the Chicken Mannino which was breaded chicken with fresh mozzarella, Bermuda onions, plum tomatoes and a balsamic vinaigrette drizzled over the top. It was a great combination of crunchy and soft, hot and cold, and zesty and sweet.  TK got the Penne Dolce Vita (as recommended by me) and it had penne pasta mixed with chunks of crab meat, scallops and shrimp in a creamy sauce. His dish was very good and I would have ordered it instead if I was in the mood for seafood. At least I was still able to taste it because he sat next to me and I stole a forkful, as per usual.

After stuffing our faces with this delicious meal, we still had some room for dessert. Strangely, TK got a cappuccino and we shared a Warm Cookie Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a picture of it because I couldn’t even wait a minute before stabbing it with my fork. Even though it was delicious, I was glad I was sharing because I was full and quit eating before it was even gone.

Fortunately, we had a great time and a great meal and just had to tip the valet on the way out. This is the place to go if you are looking for a nice night out with your lady, or your man—whichever, as long as you are hungry.

Mannino’s, 1575 Montauk Highway, Oakdale, N.Y., 631-218-0909

Get Wrapped Up

When you think of a wrap, what do you think of? A thin tortilla wrapped around some lettuce and turkey? Well, forget that business because Sonoma Grill has wraps on roids.

They use pillowy dough and wrap it around chicken, steak or shrimp, and it is the opposite of flimsy. For instance, the Bayou Wrap is stuffed with chicken, BBQ sauce, tomatoes, fried onions and Monterey Jack cheese. The wraps also come with fries, macaroni or potato salad on the side. However, these wraps aren’t the only items on the menu and you should try as many items on the menu as you can, especially the pasta dishes.

Bayou Wrap

Bayou Wrap from Sonoma Grill

On Tuesdays, there is a special on burgers and, apparently live music plays in the background as you choose your burger toppings. You can pay a little more to top your burger with one of seven different cheeses, nine varieties of vegetable and five other gourmet options, so you may even earn the Jeopardy theme while you make your choice. It actually may be a good idea to scope out the menu online before you get there.

Also, my mother hosted my baby shower at Sonoma Grill, and everyone loved the food. Honestly, my family and friends were telling me how delicious everything was and I didn’t even ask … that time.

Sonoma Grill, 5745 Sunrise Highway, Holbrook, NY, 631.218.3888

UPDATE (2014): Sonoma Grill has changed locations. It is now located on North Ocean Avenue in Holtsville, N.Y.