If you’re like me you don’t visit Shelter Island often, and if you do it’s just to pass through to Greenport or Sag Harbor—but I’ve just found a reason to make it a destination, and that reason is called La Maison Blanche. Whether you are looking for a day-cation with the family or a romantic getaway, La Maison Blanche, which is also an inn, is a place you need to try.
The menu is French-Italian, with a few American touches. To start we sampled the traditional French onion soup, and I look for an onion soup that has thin, wonderfully caramelized onions in it and I found that here. The onions were sweet and incredibly tender, almost melting in my mouth. The broth was rich and flavorful, seasoned to perfection. The soft melted cheese—a mix of mozzarella and swiss, perhaps—was slightly tangy and paired wonderfully with the robust beef broth. We also sampled the soup of the day, which was a delightfully woodsy cream of mushroom soup. It was not as heavy as I was anticipating; instead I found it to be wonderfully light and full of hearty mushroom flavor.
Next we tried the Burrata and Tomato appetizer, and if you’ve never had burrata, this is the place to try it! Burrata—which means “buttered” in Italian—is a deliciously fresh Italian cheese. The outer shell of the cheese is solid mozzarella, while on the inside there is both decadent cream and mozzarella, creating a silky, soft texture that begs to be spread on bread, although eating it straight up isn’t a bad option either. At La Maison Blanche, this creamy cheese is served surrounded by haricots vert and olives, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and sweet balsamic vinegar. Although a most decadent appetizer, I enjoyed every single bite and I hope to go back to enjoy it again.
The Calamari appetizer also caught my eye, as this version was baked rather than fried and so I was intrigued. Would they be crispy enough to satisfy me? Our server explained that the chef marinates them (in buttermilk most likely) to make them tender, and then they are breaded to order and baked. They came out and I found myself amazed. Not only were they crispy, they were tender and flavorful, with a bit of spice to tease your taste buds.
For my entrée I chose the Confit de Canard, a duck leg and thigh served atop sautéed wild mushrooms and roasted fingerling potatoes. Our server asked if I wanted my skin crispy and of course I said yes; is there any other way to have your duck? It came out flawlessly crisp, and I savored each bite. To me, duck tastes like a combination of chicken and beef, and I prefer the juicy dark meat pieces laid before me. Paired with all kinds of mushrooms, including chanterelles, creminis, oysters and buttons, all cooked together and eaten with a mouthful of savory duck. A perfect bite.
Hubby had the Filet au Sel, a beautiful filet medallion paired with fingerling potatoes and dusted with some French salt. The meat was cooked superbly, and we enjoyed the surprise little sprinkling of salt on top. It’s very French, very fancy, and it makes you feel very special.
For dessert we chose a classic crème brulee, which was slightly sweet and wonderfully creamy on the inside, with that crispy sugar crust to offset the creamy custard and create quite the party in your mouth. We also had a made-to-order chocolate fondante, a creation of chocolate cake with a hot chocolate center, paired with vanilla ice cream. This one would satisfy your most intense chocolate craving.
Located near the famous Crescent Beach on Shelter Island, La Maison Blanche is a gorgeous setting for any occasion. For more information, visit them on the web at maisonblanchehotel.com.