North Fork Restaurant Review: Pace’s Dockside

Tucked away in beautiful Mattituck, Pace’s Dockside is a hidden gem on the North Fork. Gearing up for its fourth summer season, this family owned and operated eatery is committed to offering the best of local cuisine the area has to offer, and sources ingredients from the bounty around it. From produce to seafood, it doesn’t get any fresher than what Pace’s is cooking up.

On a warm spring night, we were treated to an exceptional sunset view from inside the elegant yet comfortable dining room at Pace’s, while we sipped on glasses of chilled Barton & Guestier chardonnay, a crisp and delicious choice. We started with a colorful organic beet salad, with red and orange beets, mandarin oranges, goat cheese, candied walnuts and a white balsamic vinaigrette. Beets and goat cheese are one of my favorite food pairings, and this version was bursting with flavor and freshness. The locally sourced produce is beautiful to behold, and I savored each bite. The tart and sweet dressing paired perfectly with the ingredients, and didn’t overshadow the sweetness of the beets.

Beet Salad from Pace's

Beet Salad from Pace’s, Photo: Genevieve Horsburgh

Next, we tried some of the starters offered at Pace’s. The most popular appetizer on the menu are the duck wings, sourced from nearby Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue. Tossed in a Hoisin sauce and sprinkled with sesame seeds, these wings were slightly sweet, smoky and incredibly tender. The meat all but fell off the bone, and the skin was cooked until crispy and it nearly melted in my mouth. A must try when you visit Pace’s.

We sampled the clams casino, which exploded with tomato and bacon flavor. The oysters Rockefeller were delightful and cheesy, with the essence of spinach and garlic. The jumbo lump crab cake was perfection—pan fried until delightfully crisp on the outside, the inside bursting with chunks of sweet crab, served with a basil aioli, although I enjoyed mine with a few splashes of fresh lemon juice.

Pace’s prides itself on its fresh pasta, so the homemade Mafalda pasta, paired with shrimp and scallops in a fresh plum tomato sauce, was a necessity. Mafalda pasta is long like spaghetti, but crinkly, like the end of lasagna and it captures the fresh flavors in the sauce. The shrimp had a little bite and the scallops were seared on the outside and succulent inside—perfect. The fresh basil running through the dish created the most heavenly aroma.

Pace’s Dockside filet mignon is a great choice for meat lovers. Served on a bed of gorgonzola mashed potatoes (hello!) with baby spinach, drizzled with an earthy Malbec demi-glace and topped with crispy fried onion straws, this beefy dish has huge flavor. Those frisée onions on top add a flair and a much-needed crunch factor to the dish—they’re just delightful.

We tried a new entrée item soon to appear on Pace’s menu: pan seared swordfish in a buttery caper sauce. I don’t often eat swordfish, but this dish was so good. The fish was meaty and moist, and melted in my mouth. The caper sauce was tart, salty in a good way and creamy but not heavy, complementing the swordfish nicely. Served with mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked and seasoned vegetables, this one is sure to be a favorite on the new spring menu at Pace’s.

Mafalda pasta

Mafalda pasta. Photo: Genevieve Horsburgh

We ended this incredible foodie experience with a few bites of dessert—luscious house made cheesecake, house made carrot cake (a Pace’s family recipe) and a chocolate lava cake that satisfied my sweet tooth.

Owners Ron and Joanne Pace, along with their daughter and Restaurant Manager Kristina, and Chef Pedro Arriaga, have something magical going on at Pace’s Dockside. The combination of elegant dining with farm-to-table cuisine is a match made in heaven.

Join Pace’s Dockside and Strong’s Marine for their summer concert series, featuring live performances on the green by the docks, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking views, fabulous music and mouthwatering food.

Pace’s Dockside is located at 2224 Wickham Avenue in Mattituck. For reservations, call 631-315-5252.

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