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Southampton: Croatian connection at Plaza Café

Plaza Cafe, Southampton

Plaza Cafe, Southampton Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Last night was the first time I've eaten at Plaza Café, the elegant, fish-centric restaurant that received three stars from Peter M. Gianotti.

But wait, didn’t I recognize those dark-glass cruets gracing each of the tables in the dining room? Did they not contain the delicious Croatian olive oil brought in by wine importer Daniel Pedisich (and available at his company’s web site) that I wrote about last year? And what about those Croatian wines, the only imports on the huge and otherwise all-American wine list?

It came as no surprise that Plaza Café’s chef-owner, Douglas Gulija, is a proud son of Croatia.

Gulija’s specialty is fish, and the night’s special was king salmon from Alaska; the Copper River run has just begun. Gulija cooked it to a perfect medium-rare and garnished it with potatoes, wilted frisee and a pleasingly tart mustard seed vinaigrette. My glass of Croatian zlathina, a bold and quirky white, was a fine accompaniment. Also enjoyable were bites of my friends’ bacon-wrapped monkfish stuffed with lobster, and roasted lamb with grilled baby asparagus and morels.

Plaza Café’s commitment to wine attracts a lot of wine buffs. Gulija does three or four wine dinners a year, each one devoted to a different wine maker (not a wine distributor) who is in attendance.

On Sundays, the dining room is a corkage-free zone (it’s usually $30) and patrons are encouraged to bring their own wines. With a few day’s notice Gulija will even create a menu to pair with a customer’s selections.

Plaza Café is at 61 Hill St., Southampton, 631-283-9323

Photo by Gordon M. Grant

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