July 7, 2010

Penne alla Vodka

This was quite a delicious dish. I'll first explain the photos: Looking at the first two pictures, the plate doesn't look too intimidating. But closely examine the third photo (discreetly taken of a table next to us): it only becomes intimidating when you realize you aren't being served a plate, you're being served a BOWL. Now, I'm not opposed to large portions, so long as you plan accordingly. I think I even prefer large portions when you're dining at an expensive restaurant (such as this incredible one) - that way you really feel that you're getting your money's worth. Plus, what's better than eating a delicious meal once?? Eating it again as leftovers, the next day!! There is absolutely something to be said for not wasting food, and for the "perfect portion," but I for one don't mind taking a little bag home at the end of the night, either. It should be noted, however, that at Lombardi's on the Sound, one of their pasta dishes could EASILY feed a family of four, especially if you throw in an appetizer (and you absolutely MUST throw in one of their appetizers - more on that coming soon though!!).

Now, back to the actual food at hand: the vodka sauce was on the thinner side overall (often the case with vodka sauces - completely personal preference if you prefer thinner or thicker) with a few nice tomato chunks spread throughout. The flavor was light enough to make a nice meal in the summer but heavy enough to not get lost against the penne. What was especially unique, and at first a little odd, was that the meat in the sauce wasn't pancetta or anything pork-based (again, as is frequently the case): it was ground beef. Not enough to make it a heavy meat-sauce, just enough to flavor it and add some "beef" to the dish. It was surprising; I don't think I've ever had a vodka sauce with beef in it before. But they made it work!

Where you can enjoy this yourself:

Lombardi's on the Sound
44 Fairway Drive
Port Jefferson, New York

It should also be made known that this very well could be the best restaurant I've ever experienced. We came upon it by pure chance one day driving around, and despite its exclusive country club exterior, the restaurant is quite open and welcome to the public. I've been there three times over the past two years and verifiably would drive all the way out there for their food. Every single time we've gone, every single person's meal has been incredible - not just good, but really, excellent. They price accordingly - I couldn't make a habit of dining there five nights a week, or even one night every week - but I cannot stress enough that it is worth every penny. If you go during the summer, there is a beautiful view out over the Long Island sound; the staff is pleasant and attentive, with a host regularly making the rounds to assure your overall satisfaction; the atmosphere is relaxed and calming. Throw in truly excellent food, and you have a five-star winner, by my standards (which I like to think are pretty high).

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