Dining Out: Restaurant offers magnificent cuisine, view by East River edge

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East River at 44th Drive

Long Island City

482-0033, Fax 937-8817

Nothing could be finer than dining at the edge of the river overlooking Manhattan's drop-dead-beautiful skyline. Haute cuisine. Regal ambiance. Elegant service. That's the Water's Edge.

A previous visit to Water's Edge (could it really, really be 10 years ago?) was definitely memorable. That view! Attractive interior. Good service and deluxe cuisine. Joel Somerstein, the son of the restaurant's founder, Marlika Somerstein, was the Culinary Institute of America-trained executive chef. He did a delectable job.

Now he is off to start a new venture named Marlika, for his mother, near Lincoln Center and to conquer the big city. (Congratulations. I've heard thumbs-up reports already.)

But what was the fate of Water's Edge? I wanted to find out. And things were never better. It had upped a notch in every department. Why have I stayed away so long?

The decor was more sophisticated and so was the service. There are, to pamper you, four captains at dinner. Yet it is not intimidating, Since the first of February, George Masraff, just back from years in Paris, presides at the range.

We three were seated in the cocktail lounge, a cozy spot with the river boat that scurries back and forth to Manhattan parked at the dock outside. There's piano music and a fireplace, with plates propped up along the window wall. The chairs, we noted approvingly, were plush, upholstered, a bit Frenchy.

A complimentary tidbit was brought. Not the usual. How nice. Dinner: appetizer/ entree/dessert and coffee was $55. We could choose whatever our palate fancied without perusing the right-hand column. Delicious. And, there are three menus to savor from Monday to Friday: Chef's, Seafood, and Caviar. Impressive!

Our dinner, too, was impressive: A crab bisque presented with crab in the plate with the server ladling on the bisque." Lobster canneloni with English pea emulsion and cheese shavings. Exquisite. Crispy skin duck roast with ricotta dumplings, roasted apples, pomegranate jus. Magnificent. Buffalo ribs. Interesting. Sides dishes of garlic grits, mashed potato pumpkin risotta ($6 extra). Certainly worth it. And incredibly delicious raspberries as my dessert.

"This meal," I mused, "is as fine as the great dinners I've had over the years." I recalled a 1960 dinner at the Newarker (with a captain at every table of 10). Joe Baum, the man who later made dining history by masterminding the Four Seasons, La Fonda del Sol, and Forum of the Twelve Caesars, was in charge.

Dining at Water's Edge, there was a spark similar to the spirit you sense when viewing a masterpiece.

Queens now has a chef who was executive chef of Tavern on the Green in Central Park. George Masraff, as chef/owner of le Quai des Ormes in Paris, earned two Michelin stars and three Gaulet et Millau toques, then as chef/owner of a Relaise et Chateau Inn in France was awarded one Michelin star and three Gault et Millau toques. Wow.


Spectacular view of New York skyline, river boat to and from 34th Street every hour. Deluxe water's edge dining. Haute cuisine. Pre-fixe menu and savory menus. Fine service with four captains. A celebration!


Dinner, Spring 2001:


East and West Coast Oysters

Duck Foie Gras

Seared Cooper River King Salmon

Roast Rack of Baby Lamb

Grilled Aged Angus Rib Eye Beef


Sea Shell

Chocolate Temptation

Cuisine: Haute

Setting: Water's edge. View of

Manhattan skyline

Service: Grand

Hours: Closed Sun. L Mon.-Fri. D


Reservations: Yes

Parking: Valet

Location: Van Dam Street Exit of LIE

Dress: Jackets requested

Credit cards: All major

Children: No separate menu

Private parties: To 400

Riverboat: To and from 34th Street,

Manhattan. New boat to 150

Takeout: Yes

Off-premises catering: No

Noise level: Quiet

Smoking: Bar and cocktail lounge

Handicapped accessible: Yes

Posted 7:03 pm, October 10, 2011
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