56° Good Afternoon
56° Good Afternoon

Schout Bay Tavern review: Good cooking keeps people coming back to hip Manhasset restaurant

Mac and cheese at Schout Bay Tavern in

Mac and cheese at Schout Bay Tavern in Manhasset. Credit: Benjamin Petit

Schout Bay (pronounced Scout Bay) is the Dutch name originally given to Manhasset, home to this uber-hip new tavern. Decor is sleek and classy, with comfortable raised booths in the bar area and tables in the rear. On weekend evenings, the place can look -- and sound -- as if all Manhasset has squeezed inside.

Chef Shawn Patrick's small, well-edited menu is very much of the moment. Although prices look reasonable, your tab can mount, since main dishes aren't accompanied by sides.

To start, an autumn apple salad with blue cheese is that rare fruit-nut-cheese-greens combo that actually works. Comfort and piquancy define butternut squash bisque with spiced pepitas. Crisp duck confit tacos, though, are undermined by poultry that's a bit dry.

Some side dishes can double as starters. One is the lush and addictive mac and cheese with pork belly and panko crumbs. Kettle-cooked chips with caramelized onion dip are preferable to fries, which arrive undersalted and lukewarm. Bringing something new to the table are megawatt kung pao broccoli with spicy peanuts and roasted cauliflower with curried raisins.

Patrick turns out a fine, juicy burger topped with smoked cheddar and bacon, but you'll need a hinged jaw to get your mouth around its thick brioche bun. Roast Cornish hen with garlic and herbs is crisp-skinned and savory, preferable to the colorful but rather bland orecchiette with assorted vegetables and ricotta. Patrick's moist and smoky cedar planked salmon, however, can make you wish every chef knew to cook fish this way.

Weekend brunch is a good value. Avocado toast, a starter that qualifies as a main course, comprises a thick slice of crusty toasted bread topped with mashed avocado, heaped with smoked salmon, red onion and frisee and crowned with a poached egg. Three poached eggs with sausage gravy sit atop buttermilk waffles and griddled Taylor ham in a compelling dish called "country eggs." If only that waffle didn't taste deep-fried, evoking funnel cakes at country fairs. For something sweet but not cloying, there's creme brulee French toast with strawberries and maple bacon butter.

If it's dessert you crave at brunch or dinner, bypass the somewhat pasty apple crostata in favor of banana pudding. It's rich, creamy -- and trendily old-fashioned.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

Latest reviews