Written by Salvatore DiBenedetto [@TheGrubfather]
Straight up, Schout Bay Tavern is a class act. The vision for the humble yet modern space is simple: Homage to the neighborhood through outstanding food, a quality drink program and a chef driven by seasonal, local and (mostly) organic ingredients. Within moments I knew I was going to love Schout Bay Tavern and my confidence was vindicated shortly thereafter.
“I grew up in Manhassat and love the area, there was no question that I wanted to set up shop here.” Owner Pete Keogh says as I sip on their twist on a classic, the Texas Mule. “Our goal was really to bring the community a place to sink into. Somewhere where they could trust for a great drink and awesome meal.” Pete’s commitment to his local roots can be observed in the vintage photos that adorn the walls, the local artists whom he sources from for decor and even the name Schout Bay is Manhassat Bay’s historic name back when the Dutch settled here. That’s character!
Now it was time for a drink. By the time I had licked my lips dry of the Texas Mule, I knew this place meant business. Scanning the bar, my eyes caught a variety of liquors, including Japanese whiskey (major points) and glass-bottled soda. Peter, who had already seen me eyeing replied quickly “We don’t do fountain soda here, there’s no real taste in it, we get it right from the source.” Impressive.
Interestingly enough, that idea of right from the source ran right down into Executive Chef Shawn Patrick’s menu. Though it dons the name “tavern” and is definitely stocked with great drinks, inevitably, Schout Bay Tavern is a restaurant first. And dish after dish, Chef Shawn Patrick proved that was the way it should be.
One of the most impressive aspects of dining at Schout Bay Tavern was the versatility of the menu. I went from a bite of Mexican street style corn to chunky fresh tuna & avocado to a gorgeous, refreshing watermelon and feta salad. And these were only the starters! Chef Shawn Patrick had a way of blending these regional cuisines in a way that didn’t just work but thrived.
Moving into mains, I was again impressed with how diverse Schout Bay’s dining experience could be.
Craving Italian? The spiced lobster pasta got the job done.
Want French? Chef Shawn Patrick’s Shrimp-cargo turned a classic French dish “snail escargot” into a more approachable meal to Long Island diners.
A NY Summer Classic? The cedar plank salmon hits all the spots in both flavor and quality.
“We want this to be an quality, honest and incredible experience for each of our guests.” Both Chef Shawn Patrick and Pete Keogh reiterate. “There’s really nothing quite like watching our guests having a great time, smiling and enjoying themselves.”
When I press them on if the place ever gets a little rowdy, because after all it is a tavern, Pete smiles.
“Man, we have some nights where it’s quiet and others when the music turns up and people start dancing. That’s the best part of this whole thing: The crowd dictates the night and energy… We love it!”
And so do I. This spot is deserving of a place on your list, folks!
118 Plandome Rd, Manhasset, NY 11030