What a perfect lobster bisque I had at Horace & Sylvia's Publick House. I was hungry, in Babylon, and had about 10 minutes before an appointment across the street, so I sidled up to the bar for a bowl of soup. All too often lobster bisque is a murky, over-sherried cream of lobster soup, but this was pitch perfect — rich but not ponderous, tasting deeply, hauntingly of lobster. The chunks of lobster meat floating in it were tender and tasted freshly cooked.
Later on I called the restaurant and spoke to the executive chef, Brian Fugit, who came on board last summer. He told me he makes bisque in the classic way, making a stock out of lobster shells and aromatic vegetables. The stock gets strained and enhanced with more aromatics, brandy and a hint of anisette (Aha! That explained the subtle hint of licorice.) After a bit of reduction, Fugit adds tomato paste, a blond roux and a very small amount of cream — “just enough to slightly lighten the color,” he said. Finally the soup is garnished with lobster meat and a drizzle of chive oil. Heaven for $9, bargain heaven for $5.50 at lunch.
Horace & Sylvia’s Publick House is at 100 Deer Park Ave., Babylon, 631-587-5081.