By Lorna Luniewski
135 Maple Ave. Bay Shore, NY 11706
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, noon-3 p.m., lunch / 5-10 p.m., dinner
Friday, noon-3 p.m., lunch / 5-11 p.m., dinner
Saturday, 5-11 p.m., dinner
Sunday, 10:30 a.m.-2 p.m., brunch / 4-9 p.m., dinner
When my husband Tom and I moved to Bay Shore almost 35 years ago, the town as it was cannot compare to the town it has become. Today there are so many restaurants to choose from, and recently, we decided to go to The LakeHouse and enjoy dinner on the expansive deck overlooking the water. Outdoor dining on a hot August night may sound crazy, and truth be told, the indoor dining room was more crowded, but the breeze off the water made dining alfresco more than comfortable.
Eileen Connors (a co-owner along with her husband, Executive Chef Matt Connors, and Jay Gut) greeted us at the hostess desk, and Annie seated us promptly. Out water glasses were filled immediately (and were refilled all evening) and our waiter, Gustavo (Gus), who has been at the restaurant since it opened, was there with a drink menu in seconds. After looking at the selection of wine, beer and mixed drinks available, I decided on a Spicy Margarita and Tom chose The Lakehouse Cosmo – Svedka Clementine Vodka, White Cranberry Juice, Fresh Lime, Triple Sec and Champagne Float. Both were refreshingly tasty.
The eclectic menu features appetizers such as Littleneck Clam Chowder, Rock Shrimp Bucatini, Wild Mushroom Risotto, Yellow Fin Tuna Tartare, and a selection of salads. Tom chose the Grilled Octopus Salad, with Spanish chorizo, chick pea purée, clementines and aged sherry vinegar, which he declared delicious. I opted for the Creamy Tomato Bisque with Gruyère-Prosciutto Toasts. The soup was full of flavor and the toasts, like mini grilled cheese sandwiches, were crisp-perfect.
I should mention that before the appetizers we were treated to shrimp atop guacamole with red pepper aioli. It was some of the best guacamole I’ve ever tasted. We also tried the evening’s special appetizer, an incredibly light potato gnocchi in a warm salad with truffles, mushrooms, peas and lima beans.
When it came time to choose an entree, Gus was only too happy to offer suggestions, among them the Roasted Berkshire Pork Chop and the Crisp Long Island Duck Breast and Crisp Leg Confit. Other choices included Mustard- Crusted Scottish Salmon, Caramelized Local Sea Scallops, Pepper-Crusted New Zealand Venison, and Grilled 21 Day Dry Aged NY Strip Steak.
Tom listened to Gus’ suggestion and ordered the duck, with apricot wheatberry pilaf and a pomegranate pistachio glaze, and he was glad he did. “It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I have tastebuds I never knew I had.” I chose the Organic Herb-Roasted Chicken with brioche, mushroom and prosciutto stuffing, honey- glazed cipollini onions and a Madeira pan gravy. The chicken was fork-tender, the stuffing was superb and those onions were as sweet as candy.
We decided to share a dessert and ordered A Snickers Bar, fudge cake, peanut butter mousse, caramel, ganache and hazelnut crunch; and decaf coffee, which was hot and strong. To our surprise, Gus returned with an additional dessert, the S’more Sundae, vanilla ice cream, hot fudge, marshmallow and a chocolate covered graham cracker. I cannot resist ice cream so I dove right into the sundae with its marshmallow swirls; it was so good! By the time we “picked” at both desserts, they were just about gone.
Other dessert selections are the Lakehouse Black Magic, Summer Peach & Blueberry Crisp and a selection of gelato and sorbet, to name but a few. There are also dessert cocktails and a choice of whiskeys, brandys and cognacs.
I cannot say enough about the service or the staff, who were all friendly, helpful and efficient. Several tables were turned over while we enjoyed our meal, and that was just on the outside deck. When we left, the dining room inside was packed and the Tap Room, which offers a separate bar menu (also available to us on the deck), had many customers as well. Eileen was on the floor walking from table to table talking with everyone, an unusual sight in many restaurants.
The LakeHouse, which was located on Main Street in Bay Shore for 10 years, moved to this larger location in 2016, and boasts rooms for private events, eight boat slips and a fire pit with outdoor seating overlooking the water. Catering is also available in your own home and the Sunday Brunch is popular.
Eileen, Matt and Jay have created something special at The LakeHouse, where the food, atmosphere and service all come together to create a wonderful dining experience.