Mansion: A Feast For All The Senses
By Pete & Mike/ email@example.com
Mansion (man´ sh n) n: A large and
When we set out for “The Mansion at
the Woodlands,” we were a bit concerned that we might
encounter a stuffy place, perhaps better geared to the foodie
fogey than today’s fun-loving foodies. Worry not; although
the building and décor said stately, the warmth and
hospitality said “casual, enjoyable, upscale quality.”
A gentle touch of elegance, a dab of classic
refinement, professional service, and the finest food you’d
expect to find anywhere in the exceptional kitchens of Long
Island’s Gold Coast complements the Mansion and its
glorious surroundings. The inspired traditional American fare
with flair, represents the best work yet of executive chef
Over the past decade, Salony has been the
main man behind the menus of a number of the Island’s
outstanding eateries owned by restaurateur H. Singh and often
guided by celebrity chef Tom Shaudel. Salony has taken the
best of Shaudel’s kitchen magic and gilded it with “Gold
Coast” verve. His menu tweaks, blends and modifies some
of the excitement you’ve found in the group’s
other kitchens at Thom Thom, Coolfish, Tease, Passionfish
and more. But here in the Mansion, every dish is important
and care has been taken to satisfy the most discriminating
taste buds and the fussiest of diners.
We feel the need to overemphasize that they
are not stodgy. Perhaps the square bread and dinner plates
make the statement most effectively that the Mansion should
not be categorized as one of those places only for dress-up,
special occasions. At one table, there was a woman with shiny
sequined top and clingy bottom, while the foursome to our
left wore polo shirts and slacks.
The Mansion is upstairs at the Woodlands,
the first-class catering facility located on the beautiful
golf course of the Town of Oyster Bay. Reached by a central
staircase (they also have an elevator) you enter a dining
wonderland housed in a turn of the century mansion. An immense,
outdoor patio that overlooks the lush greenery of the golf
course will soon be the site of some planned Thursday night
magic. Manager Jude Renneisen – formerly at Majors Steakhouse
– promises wonderful things for both the outdoor patio
and private parties from 15 to 50 in one of the Mansion’s
rooms decorated with Impressionist paintings and tasteful
subdued lighting. While we were there, a pharmaceutical industry
crowd of about 20 were treated to fine wine, great food and
a Powerpoint sales pitch . They were in a beautiful room of
their own, out of view from those of us who came for dinner.
The menu was best conveyed by Chef Salony’s
smile as he described each dish. Here is a man who loves what
he does, loves food and has poured that affection and enthusiasm
into his work. It shows on his face as he speaks, and in each
dish you savor. Salony has stepped out of the shadow of his
mentor, Shaudel, and shines as brightly as any of Long Island’s
creative culinary craftsmen. Everything his kitchen produces
is worth trying, talking about, and remembering.
While you’re choosing from the extensive
bar and wine lists, you get to point to the roll you want
from the very big bread basket. We sampled all three types
offered: a crusty French type, a dark multi-grain, and the
dark bread with raisins. All were crunchy on the outside,
and soft and tasty inside. Go for the ones with raisins; we
promise they’re good enough to ignore the carbs.
The Summer Menu, which just made its debut,
starts with some incredible first courses: Fried Blue Point
Oysters with Tobiko aiolli and frisse salad ($12); Maryland
Lump Crab with tropical fruit soup, basil, chili oil and avocado
($16); Summer Beefsteak Tomato and Buffalo Mozzarella, with
sliced Portobello mushrooms and a 12-year-old (!) balsamic
vinegar ($12); Toasted Hand-Made Gnocchi and Diver scallops
with a foie gras corn emulsion and white truffle oil ($13);
and one we must go back for, “Tuna, Tuna, Tuna”
– a tuna triple threat of tartare-yuzu, tempura teriyaki,
and sesame seared chili vinaigrette, with a wasabi leaf, radish
salad ($15). Wow!
We however were dazzled with our Watermelon
and Watercress salad – a vertical sandwich of yellow
seedless watermelon (yes, we said yellow) with watercress
in a citrus vinaigrette sprinkled with toasted sesame, drizzled
with beet paint and served with chilled watermelon soup ($9)
– is a refreshing summertime change of pace starter.
The Butter Poached Crabmeat over a tomato tarragon risotto
($15), although heavier, blended two wonderfully rich tastes.
The sweet crab meat – the regular menu offers the dish
with lobster meat – and an incredible tomato-based sauce
forced us to leave not a drop, even though we knew the feast
The entrees are equally exciting, and each
plate is a work of art –tastewise and visually. Pan-Seared
Salmon is served with 12-hour tomato, zucchini, black olive
tapenade lemon oil ($26); the Grilled Prawns in an olive caper
emulsion with roasted peppers and purple potato puree are
a riot of color ($29); Pan Seared Chilean sea bass in corn
broth is accompanied by baby red and gold beets, and fingerling
potatoes ($30); Grilled Breast of Chicken in a green herb
pesto comes with Portobello mushroom and warm potato salad
($21); and the Grilled NY Sirloin is rich with a lobster bearnaise,
creamed spinach and truffle-Parmesan fries ($34).
We two devoured three with delight. The Seared
Tuna and Diver scallops in a beurre blanc with toasted sesame
seeds and broccoli rabe ($28) was perfectly prepared with
the freshest tuna and the sweetest sea scallops of the summer.
The cinnamon-anise glaze of the Roasted Rack of Lamb with
savory bread and butter pudding and caramelized fennel ($32)
was the best tasting lamb dressing we’ve ever been served.
The Grilled Beef Tenderloin in a red wine butter with potato
bacon scallion cake and asparagus ($30) is a terrific tender
and tasty choice for the beef lover. Each was worthy of the
feast we enjoyed.
It didn’t stop there -- four desserts
(most $8) on those chic square plates were squared off, two
by two, in the center of our table. Our task was to taste
them all. As tough as it sounds, the Foodies came through.
The cherry cheese cake with walnut crust was sheer delight.
The banana glace with walnut nougat was a refreshing and exciting
taste. The warm apple crepe with cinnamon ice cream was upbeat
traditional. But the flourless chocolate cake – the
Foodie favorite -- won first place out of four winners.
The dessert menu also offered a cheese plate
(3 for $8, 4 for $10, 5 for $12), and chocolate tasting ($12)
– we’ll be back.
While the 1912 Mansion may be born out of
a Gold Coast era past (industrialist Andrew Mellon gave it
to his daughter as a wedding present in 1928), it has been
brought into the 21st century with imagination and spirit.
For an intimate, romantic dinner for two, a table of four
friends, or a small group gathering, an evening at “The
Mansion at the Woodlands” will be a memorable one.
At the Woodlands
1 Southwoods Road, Woodbury, 11797
New American fare with flair
Tuesday to Thursday and Sunday, 5 to 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m.