+-

Meson Iberia

4335 Austin Blvd. Island Park, NY 516-897-4911

Meson Iberia is located in Island Park, New

(Credit: Julie Cappiello)

Submit a video » Submit a photo »

Critic rating: 2

User rating:
4
(3) Click to rate
Type: Spanish Special features: Parties/groups Price range: $$ (Moderate) Description:

Meson Iberia, a happy flamenco of a restaurant, is going to make your taste buds dance. It's Spain with soul.

Most Spanish eateries on Long Island annex Mexican cooking. It's paella v. burrito. Meson Iberia makes some cross-border forays, but they're continental and rarely out of step.

The place does have the obligatory stucco, the requisite dark beams, the essential fans, and wall decorations that look like the world's largest salad server pieces devoted to Don Quixote. Man of La Mancha bridges all media.

Service is warm, friendly and attentive, whether you're a couple intent on a romantic evening, or three generations having a good time. They have an easygoing approach to the world at Meson Iberia.

You'll enjoy a starter of sliced Spanish sausages, nickel-size cuts of chorizo that are well-seasoned and an invitation to finish the plate. Tender octopus drizzled with olive oil and dusted with paprika also is first-rate.

Skip the routine marinated spareribs and the stuffed mushrooms in favor of tasty baked clams in a Spanish riff on oreganata, or the addictively hot clams al diablo. The clams are in a spicy red sauce that will prompt much dipping of bread.

Shrimps sauteed with garlic and olive oil guarantee the same reaction. Less adventurous appetites may be attracted by clams casino or fried calamari.

Meson Iberia's soups are led by a mild, flavorful and aromatic French onion. The house's hot potato, leek and cream soup, a variation on vichyssoise, is fine. Likewise, the fragrant, bracing garlic soup with egg.

Caldo gallego, the robust soup of Galicia, can be made with assorted recipes. Beef, greens, beans, the works. Meson Iberia's has the greens, but it's underseasoned.

One of the daily specials may be "Spanish bouillabaisse," which is closer to an Italianate zuppa di pesce than it is to the pride of Marseille. The ceramic bowl is full of finfish and shellfish, the former better cooked than the latter. The sauce is a respectable cousin of creamy tomato. But it doesn't have the seductive whiff of anise.

The zarzuela Costa Brava is a relative of bouillabaisse, a shellfish stew in a tomato, cream and brandy sauce. It's heavier on the mussels and clams and a bit pinker. The lobster highlights it, doing the same in the paella Valenciana.

Meson Iberia's paella is recommended, whether Valenciana with shellfish, chorizo, pork and chicken; or marinera, with shellfish. They have a vegetable paella, too. Good rice, cooked with skill. The broiled seafood platter, with shellfish and scrod, is an equally generous affair.

Scrod in green sauce is flaky and respectable, but the cloudy sauce is on the bland side. Broiled salmon, with a gloss of lemon and olive oil, is the equivalent of a deluxe dieter's special.

Tournedos Rossini has only a minor connection to the real thing. But the two pieces of filet mignon are excellent, wrapped in bacon, and capped with a modest Bordelais sauce. Veal plancha, a marinated and grilled scaloppine, is tough. So is loin of pork.

Chicken breast Villaroy, encased in bechamel sauce, breaded and fried, is rich stuff. The chicken itself is moist and very good. Actually, the dish is better minus the bechamel. Alternatives: chicken with a diverting, sweet almond sauce; and chicken on the bone sauteed with garlic and olive oil.

Desserts are the expected. The flan isn't very wobbly and arrives refrigerator cold. The cheesecake has a kindred caramel topping. Natilla, the custardy vanilla pudding with cinnamon, is better. Or, you could return to the 1800s with a peach Melba. The sweet was created for an opera singer.

And it playfully fits an inviting spot that has so many high notes.

-- Peter M. Gianotti

Hours: Every day for lunch and dinner. Reservations: Recommended
2

Meson Iberia, a happy flamenco of a restaurant, is going to make your taste buds dance. It's Spain with soul. Most Spanish eateries on Long Island annex Mexican cooking. It's paella v. burrito. Meson Iberia makes some cross-border forays, but they're continental and rarely out of step. The place does have the obligatory stucco, the requisite dark beams, the essential fans, and wall decorations that look like the world's largest salad server pieces devoted to Don Quixote. Man of La Mancha bridges all media. Service is warm, friendly and attentive, whether you're a couple intent on a romantic evening, or three generations having a good time. They have an easygoing approach to the world at Meson Iberia. You'll enjoy a starter of sliced Spanish sausages, nickel-size cuts of chorizo that are well-seasoned and an invitation to finish the plate. Tender octopus drizzled with olive oil and dusted with paprika also is first-rate. Skip the routine marinated spareribs and the stuffed mushrooms in favor of tasty baked clams in a Spanish riff on oreganata, or the addictively hot clams al diablo. The clams are in a spicy red sauce that will prompt much dipping of bread. Shrimps sauteed with garlic and olive oil guarantee the same reaction. Less adventurous appetites may be attracted by clams casino or fried calamari. Meson Iberia's soups are led by a mild, flavorful and aromatic French onion. The house's hot potato, leek and cream soup, a variation on vichyssoise, is fine. Likewise, the fragrant, bracing garlic soup with egg. Caldo gallego, the robust soup of Galicia, can be made with assorted recipes. Beef, greens, beans, the works. Meson Iberia's has the greens, but it's underseasoned. One of the daily specials may be "Spanish bouillabaisse," which is closer to an Italianate zuppa di pesce than it is to the pride of Marseille. The ceramic bowl is full of finfish and shellfish, the former better cooked than the latter. The sauce is a respectable cousin of creamy tomato. But it doesn't have the seductive whiff of anise. The zarzuela Costa Brava is a relative of bouillabaisse, a shellfish stew in a tomato, cream and brandy sauce. It's heavier on the mussels and clams and a bit pinker. The lobster highlights it, doing the same in the paella Valenciana. Meson Iberia's paella is recommended, whether Valenciana with shellfish, chorizo, pork and chicken; or marinera, with shellfish. They have a vegetable paella, too. Good rice, cooked with skill. The broiled seafood platter, with shellfish and scrod, is an equally generous affair. Scrod in green sauce is flaky and respectable, but the cloudy sauce is on the bland side. Broiled salmon, with a gloss of lemon and olive oil, is the equivalent of a deluxe dieter's special. Tournedos Rossini has only a minor connection to the real thing. But the two pieces of filet mignon are excellent, wrapped in bacon, and capped with a modest Bordelais sauce. Veal plancha, a marinated and grilled scaloppine, is tough. So is loin of pork. Chicken breast Villaroy, encased in bechamel sauce, breaded and fried, is rich stuff. The chicken itself is moist and very good. Actually, the dish is better minus the bechamel. Alternatives: chicken with a diverting, sweet almond sauce; and chicken on the bone sauteed with garlic and olive oil. Desserts are the expected. The flan isn't very wobbly and arrives refrigerator cold. The cheesecake has a kindred caramel topping. Natilla, the custardy vanilla pudding with cinnamon, is better. Or, you could return to the 1800s with a peach Melba. The sweet was created for an opera singer. And it playfully fits an inviting spot that has so many high notes. -- Peter M. Gianotti