Quogue, New York
December 22, 2005
The fact that this place was voted the most romantic restaurant on St. Martin certainly inspired us to visit. We drove by during the daytime to make a reservation—it's easier to find during the day. It's a bit away from the mainstream but worth the effort. The husband and wife team, he a chef and she a decorator, transformed a "little house" in the Cul-de-Sac area (just beyond Grand Case) into a delightfully romantic restaurant and seven-room Inn.
As you approach, the candle lighting on the porch tables makes the restaurant quite inviting. We had a table for two there, surrounded by lush greenery and up-lit palm trees—the night sounds with the tree frogs and rustling leaves added to the ambiance. You see the decorator's touches everywhere... sea grass and reed furniture with overstuffed cushions, comfy and attractive chairs, and even love seats around tables. Candlelight is everywhere, reflecting light in the crustal wine glasses. The open kitchen and bar are busy but not distracting. Your focus is more on billowing curtains, flower arrangements, and more candles.
The crowd is well dressed and comfortable in the environment, chatting, drinking wine, and enjoying the moment by lingering over after-dinner drinks or espresso. The menu seems a blend of French and Moroccan cuisine with superb flavors that are beautifully plated, each dish with it's own accompaniments.
Lobster bisque is described as "lobster pie"—it's served in a crock with a huge puff of pastry. As you pierce the crispy topping, a wonderful puff of lobster steam escapes. It's very rich with chunks of lobster and a great beginning. Another great presentation was a chunk of medium rare duck breast that shared a skewer with a boneless leg, confit style. This was served over flavorful lentils, crepes, mushrooms, and haricot vert with two small spoonfuls of mashed potato. Absolutely superb! The lamb was cooked in Moroccan spices for seven hours, boned, wrapped in philo dough, and baked until crisp. This was served with dates that were full of incredible flavors. The menu featured lots of fish, homemade lobster ravioli, meats with wine sauces, and exotic, wild mushrooms decorated many plates. The desserts looked wonderful, but we had to wait until next time—as is the custom on the French side of St. Martin, you'll be offered a homemade rum digestif after dinner.
The wine list is extensive, and the prices match the high quality of the food and decor of this restaurant. Do make the effort to find this gem because it's a pleasant, romantic, gourmet experience that you'll long remember. Take a look at their ever changing menu at Sol e Luna.
From journal Two weeks in St. Martin