A midday meal at Ladakins in Moriches proved something of a revelation. For years, I’d driven right past the 27-year old restaurant, a fixture along Montauk Highway. But the other day, I stopped for lunch on the scenic patio overlooking a pond.
Truth be told, I wasn't expecting much from a restaurant whose faded (but spotless) interior was a veritable time trip back to the '80s. Then again, there was a sushi bar which, I learned, had been added two years ago.
A sashimi appetizer ($12) featured beautifully cut finfish. Two of us shared a “tiger” roll (salmon, tuna, avocado and eel crowned with spicy mayo and eel sauce, $15), the fish impeccable and at optimal temperature. The rice, too.
Chef Richard Weindler, I learned, has been in charge of the kitchen for the past 27 years. I have only good things to say about his entree: mesclun salad topped with free range pan-seared duck ($13), mango, walnuts and apples. I’d expected the coconut curry dressing (requested and served on the side) to be over-sweet, but it wasn’t. And the steak-like sliced duck was tender, juicy, smoky.
Upcoming events: Comedian George Gallo, performing July 22 at 7:30 p.m. ($15 cover charge). July 23 will be “Latin Night,” with live music from Sazon Mix, a salsa band. Price: $5 at the door.
Owner Vincent Buoniello says the restaurant will be getting a major face-lift within the next few months. Meanwhile, there’s outdoor seating (plastic flaps keep the patio warm on cooler days). A garden area, with a bridge and gazebo, provides additional al fresco dining.
“There are usually swans and turtles in the pond,” our personable waitress told us. Maybe you'll get to see them if you go.
Ladakins is at 714 Montauk Hwy., Moriches, 631-878-1919.
Pictured: A tiger roll on the patio of Ladakins, Moriches