International Dining 2011: Le Soir

imageLe Soir
Montauk Hwy, Bayport

As far as French restaurants go, Long Island is simultaneously blessed and cursed. Cursed because we have so few authentic ones, but blessed because the few we have are the real deal, Francophile at the helm variety. Among them is Le Soir. Leave the casual “bistro style” eateries for lunch, brunch or quick early evening bites. Le Soir is for the night (as the name suggests), meaning it’s an authentic setting for your next dinner rendezvous.

Let’s start from the back forward. Chef Michaël Kaziewicz, originally from Limon, France (in Burgundy, to be exact) and his wife Jasia have owned Le Soir since 1977. It is a testament to the operators’ ability to consistently deliver tasty, truly good, food “as advertised.” Patrons rely on the establishment to be what they expect time and again, and Le Soir does not disappoint.

From the moment you enter the light, open, airy restaurant with white walls and tablecloths accented by dark, wood beams, lace curtains, exposed brick and elegant impressionist paintings, you sense you are in a tasteful, not stuffy, little French country cottage that does not give way to fads. The owners are in it for the long term, conscious of value for the money as well as taste and freshness, and it resonates with the mature foodie crowd that packs in even on a Sunday night.

Don’t expect tiny portions and impossible-to-eat towers of art. This is classic, bourgeois cuisine. Honest and open, hearty and finessed…suffice it to say, truly French.

Star ingredients:

Basic veal bone and veggie stock (used as a base for sauces, demi-glace and steak au poivre), garlic butter, onion soup and foie gras.


Pâté de Campagne: Super fresh, plated with mini gherkins, silver skinned pickled onions and chive bits. Perfect after a kiss of salt, made only better by a touch of mustard.

Potato leek soup: Smooth, light and fresh because it’s more leek than potato.

Quail with braised polenta: This is exquisite quail—not greasy, fatty or gamey—stuffed with shallots, mushrooms and a little bit of liver with a pickled cherry sauce and plated over braised polenta.

Rabbit over fresh linguini: Perfect “lapin” cooked up with caramelized fresh onions and lardons, melded together in a flavorful sauce that’s practically a broth.

Of course: Duck l’orange, clams, escargot, frog legs. This is French cuisine, just do it already.

PS. All entrées come with soup, salad and dessert and the homey waitstaff encourages doggie bags. The gentle jazz lapping from the speakers is free.