I saw great promise when I first had a first-rate panino midday at LI pâtissier John Muscarello’s new Great Neck eatery, Jean Marie Patisserie & Bistro. Click here to read about it.
A recent dinner, though, proved less gratifying. To start, the bread basket contained a few slices of rather dry baguette, along with some whole grain bread that had been toasted. This from a master baker?
And how to account for dull, bready crab cakes? Or sliced flank steak, chewy and flavorless? Salmon, also overdone, didn’t come with the promised “Parisian pommes” but, like almost every other dish, a rice pilaf cooked to the consistency of glue.
There were a few high points. A vol-au-vent (puff pastry) with a creamy seafood filling lifted the meal. So, too, did Muscarello’s hand-cut fries, toasty and irresistible. A Margherita “personal” pizza wasn’t bad, but a topping, which included sliced grape tomatoes, brought it down a few notches.
Apple-pecan pie, at dessert, was another bright note, leading me to hope this meal might be an aberration rather than the rule. Muscarello is capable of so much better.
Jean Marie Patisserie & Bistro is at 66 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-304-5439.