Thursday, July 13, 2006

i love ditch plains

I’m not sure why, but I think I can count the number of new restaurants I have been to in the past year on one hand. Ack—maybe even on 2 or 3 fingers. I read about restaurant openings, but it is so hard to keep up; they are cropping up like weeds. A few weeks ago I made a short list of places I intended to try this summer, and on this past Monday night, I checked off my first one.

I love Ditch Plains.

Named after a surf area on the North Fork of Long Island, this place purports to be a beachy fish shack, but it’s a bit too clean and classy for that. It serves the ubiquitous NYC $23 lobster roll, clam chowder, mussels, oysters, salmon, burgers, fries, etc. But the food is elegant and excellent, and if it was served in paper baskets and brown paper cones, I really didn’t notice. I remember white porcelain; I wonder if that’s the case.

P and I had:

1. Friendly service. We stayed for nearly 3 hours taking up a huge booth and we were treated with nothing but smiles, and languorous generosity.
2. Good white wine.
3. A spicy fried calamari salad that was unusual and delicious: chopped romaine and radicchio with battered and fried calamari and a spicy red chili salad dressing.
4. Oyster shooters: basically bloody Mary shots with a raw oyster at the bottom. Fantastic.
5. Steamed littleneck clams with our chosen sauce of shallots, white wine, parsley, and butter. They were tiny and flavorful. My only complaint: no bread to soak up the marvelous leftover sauce at the bottom of the pot. We used spoons (classy).
6. A lobster roll that certainly rivaled, if not surpassed, Mary’s Fish camp, served with excellent sweet potato chips.
7. Mississippi Mud Pie, served with our own bottle of whipped cream. Awesome.

So, my dear readers, surf on over to Bedford and Downing, in Manhattan, and if you can walk by ‘ino without being sucked in there first, pop into Ditch Plains.

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