When we went West to revisit the Trackside Cafe (terrific!) last month, Jeanne and I noticed that the old Trolly Barn was up and running as La Copa Dorada, so following a harrowing 133 minute early show at the Hampton Arts for "12 Years a Slave last Saturday," we headed to Speonk.
Whatever we might have anticipated, it wasn't!
Be advised that...
- English, by a wide margin, is very definitely a second language.
- The evening we were there it was very loud even though the place could not be described as crowded... there was an active juke box and a 70" wide screen showing a Mexican League fútbol match. Then the entertainment, a Spanish-language karaoke crew, arrived and began setting up with attendant sound checks.
- The bi-lingual menu is comprised almost solely of Mexican dishes... not "Tex-Mex" such as is served at New Moon Café... but auténtico Mexicano.
- Although they have been open since August, there is not even a beer and wine license... "We're having a problem with that," our server volunteered.
- The prices were refreshingly moderate. Two dinners, two soft drinks and an 18% tip was $40.00.
The cusine itself was fair-to-curious... Jeanne's fried chicken was indifferently, if at all, seasoned, and my fajitas mixtos (steak, chicken and shrimp) dish was generous but served in a brown sauce, a presentation unique to this gringo's palate. Plus the accompanying tortillas were feloniously undersized and utterly devoid of flavor.
(My personal benchmark for fajitas were the ones served on a sizzling platter at the original Milo's East up until Joe changed the name and the menu a decade or so ago... they were incredible.)
If we are to return to La Copa Dorada, I think I'd try it after they get a beer and wine license, and on a weekend night to see if it's less noisy.
Speonk continus to surprise me... with the permanent cessation of Jonesy's and the seasonal closing of The Post Stop, even with the unfortunate shuttering of Martini Grill, there's near as many restaurants in 11972 as there are in 11978.
Unscientific Cultural Speculation
At first glance, it seems that La Copa Dorada is vying for the same trade as Los Tres Diamantes while offering a more adventurous menu.
Inconsequential Aesthetic Note:
While the owners offer an English translation of their establishment's name, La Copa Dorada, as "The Golden Cup," celebrated British author Henry James (1843-1916) had his 1904 two volume opus, "The Golden Bowl," translated into Spanish with the same title.
Tenuously Tangential Film Note:
Remember the names Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o come Academy Awards time in February... "12 Years a Slave," based on Solomon Northup's 160 year old autobiography of a free black man Shanghai'd and sold into Southern slavery.
Doubtless it will garner other nominations as well... Best Picture, Best Director, etc.... but Ejiofor and Nyong'o are stand-outs!
Remember, you read it here first.
Riverhead is worth the trip for dining out of season.
Birchwood is always a place for good food service and great prices.
I'll pass on La Copa Dorada, but re-emphasize the excellence of The Birchwood... we're there at least once a month.
Commenting has been turned off for this entry.