Add Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar in Babylon to Newsday’s list of Long Island’s loudest restaurants. The rustic little place, clearly a crowd magnet, had my ears ringing, the decibel meter app on my cellphone hitting 100 — and then someone turned on background music.
It had been a couple of years since I’d been there; now, former sous chef Frank Falgiano heads the kitchen, this following the departure, last January, of opening chef Pierre Rouget.
While I liked much about the thin crisp-crusted Margherita pizza ($13), what were whole cloves of garlic doing on top? Turns out I should have read the menu more carefully, since the roasted garlic is listed and, said Falgiano in a later phone conversation, could have been withheld. A grilled-pressed vegetarian sandwich ($10) — grilled zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, pesto and mozzarella — would have been a genre standout had there not been a fully dressed side salad carelessly thrown atop. A watermelon salad made with field greens and feta might have lived up to its refreshing potential had it not been dressed with way too much white balsamic vinaigrette. Kudos, though, for the spot-on lamb Bolognese ($16), even if a too-big piece or two of sliced garlic intruded. For dessert, a mini Key lime layered construct in a glass ($4) wasn’t bad; it just wasn’t great.
Next time: Request lightly dressed salad, tell kitchen to keep dressed greens off the top of sandwich, order pizza sans roasted garlic, skip dessert. And pack a pair of earplugs.
Barrique Kitchen & Wine Bar is at 69 Deer Park Ave., Babylon, 631-321-1175.