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The Plaza Cafe in Southampton: First bites

Lobster-and-corn chowder at The Plaza Cafe in Southampton.

Lobster-and-corn chowder at The Plaza Cafe in Southampton. (July 2012) Credit: Newsday / Peter Gianotti

Pictured above is the best soup I have eaten this year.

It's the generous, full-flavored, very rich, lobster-and-corn chowder currently served at The Plaza Cafe in Southampton.

Chef-owner Douglas Gulija has retooled this excellent restaurant, giving the A-frame a less-formal look. Now, the dining room has a sea-breeze hue and a mosaic bar, among other things.

These touches are all welcome. But the real headline about the updated Cafe is that the seafood still is outstanding, starting with the exceptional chowder.

You'll find some delicious holdovers, especially the lobster-and-shrimp shepherd's pie and the grand swordfish "chop."  Gulija has added winners, including grilled wild Pacific shrimp wrapped with prosciutto atop porcini risotto; and grilled wild striped bass with seafood chowder and aioli.

The desserts are terrific, too, from a black-cherry trio of cake, ice cream and fruit to the classic strawberry shortcake and apple-pecan cake with ice cream and caramel sauce.

Gulija opened The Plaza Cafe in December, 1997.

It feels new.

The Plaza Cafe, 61 Hill St., Southampton; 631-283-9323.

Lobster-and-corn chowder at The Plaza Cafe.

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