Emporium, Patchogue: Mixed revue

No shortage of cowboy hats when a country No shortage of cowboy hats when a country singer is performing at Emporium in Patchogue. (Nov., 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday Joan Reminick

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Feed Me

The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.

The Emporium in Patchogue is an all-in-one music venue, bowling alley, restaurant, club and bar. The night I went, there were more cowboy hats in the house than in an old Roy Rogers movie. The reason? A country-western singer was scheduled to perform, preceded by two opening bands and a line-dance lesson.

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That, plus the acoustics, made for a deafening din in an industrial-looking space with multiple bars, bowling lanes, tables, a sunken dance floor and a stage area. The show I had come for wasnt the one on the stage but, rather, on the plate, courtesy of chef Piers Stringer.

The meal began with crusty slices of first-rate house-baked white bread; I could have kept buttering up and eating all night.  An artisanal-quality Margherita pizza ($9.50) had a crisp, wholesome-tasting crust and a bright roasted tomato, pesto and fresh mozzarella topping. Another winner: an appetizer of crisp crab, chive and ricotta fritters with avocado herb salsa ($9.95).

But a thin, overcooked pork chop ($19.95) harbored unappealing tartness and came with fishy-tasting lump crab mac and cheese. Fortunately, a manager happened by, asked how everything was; he took the dish back, no questions asked.  As a replacement, I ordered a bacon cheeseburger. Meanwhile, I nibbled on my companions commendable fish and chips Guinness-battered haddock with fried and crushed fingerling potatoes, the fish topped with a bright green pea puree an unconventional touch, but an inspired one. The medium-rare bacon cheeseburger Id ordered came after half an hour and was lukewarm. Even so, it had a lovely, rich beefiness. Ordinary freezer-to-fry basket fries accompanied.

 House-made Stoli-orange ice cream ($5.95) was slightly boozy but lacked the intensity of flavor hoped for.

 What was intense, however, was the ringing in my ears on my way out.

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The restaurant serves only three days a week: Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m. It's crucial to reserve, since the place fills up early.

The Emporium is at 9 Railroad Ave.,  Patchogue, 631-627-8787.

Above: No shortage of cowboys dining when a country star performs at the Emporium in Patchogue

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