Left Coast Kitchen: Exuberant in Merrick

At Left Coast Kitchen in Merrick, a lobster At Left Coast Kitchen in Merrick, a lobster roll is served with chips and cole slaw. (March 13, 2013) Photo Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus

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Left Coast Kitchen & Cocktails is so assured, so comfortable in its skin, that its hard not to have a great time here. Certainly this is one of the South Shores hippest spots, with an open kitchen, lots of old-timey decorative accents and servers outfitted in the retro-lumberjack style of so many of-the-moment Brooklyn boites.

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We started with fried oysters, good if not improved by their peanut-sauce garnish, and a kinda warm spinach salad ($9), which was elevated by its use of delicate baby spinach leaves and grape tomatoes that had been blistered into sweet juiciness.

Entrees were generous. My pals LCK burger ($13) turned out to be two patties loaded with bacon, cheese, onions and slaw. It was not easy to eat, but very tasty. Fries, good and peppery, were excellent. Another pal got the more long than short rib ($26), a brontosaurian bone whose meat was braised into tenderness but served too dry. My lobster roll (a bargain at $20) was overstuffed with lobster meat, most of which was moist and tender.

There was no chance that we could have handled dessert, even if the dessert menu werent composed of gleefully belly-busting mixed metaphors such as deep-fried Juniors cheesecake (Like funnel cake and cheesecake had a baby!) and the Cinnaboncotion (Cast-iron skillet with a shucked cinnamon roll, caramel, walnuts, white chocolate, caramel gelato and schlag. Topped with cinnamon roll oyster.)

To me, the cooking at Left Coast Kitchen is exuberant to the point of excess, as hard not to like as a big, boisterous puppy.

Left Coast Kitchen is at 1810 Merrick Rd., Merrick, 516-868-5338.

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