By Shoshanna McCollum
36 Fire Island Blvd.
Fire Island Pines, NY
Reservations can also be made online at https://pinesfi.com
The textbook definition of bistro is “a small restaurant serving moderately priced simple meals in a modest setting.” While this may sound incongruous for the Pines, or anywhere on Fire Island, our experience at this much-fabled location largely holds true.
Located on the second floor of 36 Fire Island Blvd., it is elevated above the hectic bustle of the Fire Island Pines downtown. Its décor is simple elegance in deep maroon and earthen tones. We were greeted at the door by three attractive waiters, all dressed in black. It was hard to believe this serene setting was the next door neighbor to the fast-paced Sip N Twirl.
“When the tea dances are over, they will be here for a bite to eat,” smiled Dylan, our server for the evening.
A basket of bruschetta with a colorful vegetable relish was brought to our table without delay. For this first-timer to the Bistro, the menu was something of a surprise. It offered many more pasta selections than expected – but not the heavy spaghetti dinners familiar to ubiquitous pizza joints. Instead, they boasted a full range of epicurean sauces, no two quite alike, from the hearty gnocchi alla sorrentina baked with tomato sauce and mozzarella, to the light linguini primavera prepared with olive oil and seasonal
vegetables, as well as the sublime sounding daily special – a three-cheese ravioli in pear cream sauce.
Pasta was not the only fare. For the fish lover red snapper on a bed of chickpea chutney ragù was another daily special. Chicken and artichokes as well as Hanger steak were some additional selections on the menu for the meat eater.
We shared an appetizer of stuffed mushrooms and the arugula and pear salad for starters. The mushrooms had a sausage and sundried tomato filling with quite a kick. Tip: The radish sprouts that accompany this dish are not a garnish. Sprinkle them atop for a wonderful balance of flavor. As for the arugula and pear salad it’s hard to know where to begin, except by saying this was arguably one of the freshest green salads to be enjoyed on Fire Island. The goat cheese did not dominate the greens, and were a harmonious combination with the pears that cleansed the palate for the main entrée.
For the main entrée, this writer went with the Asian Style Salmon, which was grilled to perfection over mixed vegetables and a light sesame sauce. The fish was fresh and cooked to preference – every morsel
The writer’s guest went with one of the pasta dishes, ordering rigatoni with sausage in red cream sauce. The pasta was al dente, which is always a good start, and the rich sauce that had a hint of sweetness tempered the kick of the sausage.
We saved room for dessert. The flourless chocolate cake with sea salted caramel was a decadent treat indeed, but perhaps even better was the coffee – a sleeper hit of this establishment, along with their full martini bar, which is second to none on Fire Island.
Dylan was correct, after the tea dance folks started coming in to satisfy their appetites. The Bistro’s menu will experience changes over the summer according to seasonal fish, meat and produce availability. Their intimate and welcoming atmosphere however is most certainly a constant. This is an establishment that definitely fulfills the definition of bistro in every sense of the word.
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