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LI Wedding Halls - What is a Foodie to do?

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  • jmax Jan 3, 2008 06:00 AM
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I don't think I have ever been to a wedding on LI where I though the food was great - it's more about quantity (am I asking for to much if I want the food hot and properly cooked?!?!?) Well, I got engaged last month - so I am in a bind.... Where am I supposed to get married where my guests and I will be impressed with the food.

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  1. What part of long island exactly?

    1. The food I've had at affairs at Giorgios in Baiting Hollow has always been way above average. And if you want to spend big bucks, check out Louis XVI in Patchogue. Both of these venues have gorgeous views as a bonus.

      1. I went to a wedding at Flowerfield a few years ago and was not impressed at either the facility or the food. I went to another one at Watermill about 2 years ago and the food was definitely better than typical catering hall food and actually quite nicely presented, though definitely not looking super-duper fancy nor tasting super gourmet-unusual. I have been to some affairs at some temples--Temple Avodah in Oceanside does a fabulous job and is competatively-priced, given what they give you.

        It would be helpful to know what part of the Island you are looking at, approximate # of guests and approximate price range you are thinking (remember, you will have to pay tax and also a gratuity of 12-20%, depending on the hall).

        3 Replies
        1. re: Shayna Madel

          We have been to the Watermill a few times. The last time, the food was so bad that it was inedible. They should chop off the hand that the chef uses for the salt shaker. Other times the food was just awful.
          ..
          They also do a cute trick if it is an outdoor cocktail hour. when you come back in, they tell you that you cannot get a drink until they do the toast by the best man. After an hour elapses, you can get another drink. Meanwhile, people have paid for bar and table beverage service.

          1. re: Fred19

            Boy how things must have changed in the last 2-3 years. What a shame. As catering places go, I sorta liked this one the one time I was there for a summer wedding.

            1. re: Fred19

              OH GOOD THIS PLACE WAS HORRIBLE!
              We went to a wedding at the Watermill and we were shocked... We pulled up to this beautiful place and we were prepared to be impressed but that never happened. The cocktail hour did not have a lot of options and the what was there was not cooked very nicely. Our main meals were all not cooked properly. They only way they serve a steak is Burned.

          2. You might try the combination of Coindre Hall in Huntington, LI and Philip Stone Caterers (used to be in Lake Success but they moved-not sure where). Food was excellent and venue very nice

            1. I got married 11 years ago at Timber Point managed by Lessings and my guests raved about it and the food. Now I would probably pick one of their newer, nicer architecturaly properties (bourne mansion has a gorgeous room with high ceilings) but do recommend you look into them. We were able to do a tasting before we signed our contract.
              http://www.lessings.com/les_weddings....

              Also, as I said in another thread the local boards on www.theknot.com can be helpful.

              1. I just thought of Carlton on the Park in East Meadow too. I was super impressed the few times I was there. Or if your wedding isn't for a couple of years, you always have the Trump/Carlton place opening at Jones Beach.....

                1 Reply
                1. re: coll

                  My sister went to a wedding at this place and really liked it. You might want to poke around on the boards at www.liweddings.com.

                2. Try the Harbor Club in Huntington - they mainly present themselves as a place that knows how to prepare food, and from experience (my own wedding and several other events there over the past 5 years), the food actually is good enough that I'll actually save room for the main course there.

                  1. I'm with you. Been to many weddings on L.I. and never came away raving about the food. Two weeks ago attended a wedding at Russo's on The Bay in Howard Beach. OMG. The food was incredible. It's about 10 miles west of the Nassau border. If that fits your parameters give it a try. The room was elegant and service 5 star.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: MKS

                      That's where I got married...man, it's good. Many choices, excellent food, army-like service, nice people, good facility...and the Venetian hour...to die for.

                    2. I got married at The Roslyn Claremont Hotel. The food was delicious at the tasting, but the wedding itself was a blur. I also remember that the Oheka Castle had an upscale menu & a faboo tasting. I saw an ad in the sunday NYT for Trumps Jones Beach place. Wonder what the food will be like there.

                      10 Replies
                      1. re: monalisawoman

                        Good thing about the Roslyn Claremont is that it's a place where out-of-town guests could stay and not far from shopping for guests to kill down-time during the wedding weekend...Fabulous $$$ bakery, Diane's, at the other end of Old Roslyn Village.

                        I hear Oheka Castle has a MAJOR location fee, but is beautiful. Not sure about the food.

                        I saw the same Trump ad--booking for 2009. I would be nervous about the Trump thing, as he's still fighting with local authorities about architectural plans. Yeah, buildings can be put up pretty fast, but I would hate to take the risk of booking a place where the plans aren't even final. And how do you do a tasting for a place that hasn't been built yet and has no staff? (My sister gambled and booked her son's bar mitzvah reception for a temple ballroom then not yet built, but at least had tasted the caterer's food at another reception.)

                        1. re: Shayna Madel

                          I was at a charity event at Oheka Castle and the food was horrific. Pigs in a Blanket and mini-egg-rolls bad.

                          1. re: sbp

                            I guess they do the bait & switch? There were fresh cracked crab claws on ice at the tasting we went to. We didn't choose them for the weddingbecause the price was waayyyy out of our range.

                            1. re: monalisawoman

                              I find it hard to believe that Oheka serves pigs and egg rolls at all of their events. Maybe the person who chose the menu figured they would pick "crowdpleasers," rather than chowhound pleasers. Or maybe someone ran so far over budget by picking that location that they cut whereever they could when it became too late to change the expensive location. Or then, there are those who actually want the pigs, black-tie affair or not, like my brother-in-law.

                              I don't think it's a bait and switch to have things at a tasting that are a costly upcharge. There are almost always going to be choices you can make that are more elaborate and result in an upcharge. Sushi makers (live, not just pre-made platters) at the coctail hour? Chilean sea bass? More elaborate than usual wedding cake? I guess the lesson on this one is to insist on seeing menu choices and asking what upcharges might be before the contract is signed, so you have an idea of what's coming down the road.

                              1. re: Shayna Madel

                                When I was planning my wedding, mind you this was 8 yrs ago, you had to find separate catering for Oheka Castle. They would give you a list of vendors that they had success with at other events but it was ultimately your choice. The location rental fee's were crazy even back then so we chose the Watermill, of the Scotto properties we liked that one the best. You can choose to make it as fancy as you'd like. We got decent reviews on the food but I must recommend that you insist upon a tasting prior to picking your menu anywhere. That wasn't offered to us and I was too young and naive to insist upon one.

                                1. re: LaurenNJ

                                  I just peeked at the Oheka site and though they do mention having an executive chef and an executive pastry chef, it's anything but clear as to what the story is about who does their catering. And what's more galling is that they charge a $500 "approval fee" if you use a vendor not on their list of approved vendors. Frankly, that's offensive and ridiculous. What the heck would they be doing except reviewing an insurance certificate?

                                  I really liked the wedding I went to at Watermill a few years ago and thought the food was good, especially as catering places go, particularly the cocktail hour.

                          2. re: Shayna Madel

                            Carltun is gong to be the caterer at Jones Beach, so you could try the food at Eisenhower or Bethpage.
                            I wouldn't worry about the place going up, it's hard enough for the state to get concessionaires with all their weird demands, if anything Trump would back out which I don't see happening. This is a big ego thing for him! If they're advertising, it's probably a done deal.

                            1. re: coll

                              Agreed that the whole project is a major ego thing for Trump. And it seems the food issue is "solved," if there is a signed and sealed contract with the caterer, but given that there is still haggling going on over construction plans, the design of the structure could change and there still is no guarantee as to that the construction will be done on time. And all a performance bond does is put money in Trump and/or Carltun's pocket if the construction isn't finished. I would hate to be scrambling for an alternate location 6 weeks out when my invitations should already be in the mail. Too many other things to be dealing with. Just a thought--are the ads a ploy to try to steamroller the authorities to have things go Trump's way?

                              1. re: coll

                                FYI.... Trump's partner at Jones Beach is Steven Carl who operates Carlyle on the Green at Bethpage State Park. And in reality, Carl is the one who got the contract based on his performance at BSP and brought Trump in as the builder. Carltun on the Park at Esienhower Park is operated by Anthony Capetola, John Tunney and several other partners, although Tunney has been spending most of his time with that burger joint he's been developing in Huntington.The two companies, Carltun and Carlyle, are not related. At this point in time, with Trump threatening to sue New York State over being denied permission to build a basement, I don't think anyone should be considering booking an event at the Beach especially for 2009.

                                Being in the restaurant and catering biz for a long time, I have heard and seen it all when it comes to weddings. When it comes to booking a venue, look for a place that is a restaurant and caterer. Why? These places generally give a more personal touch. The big factory caterers and their salespeople are only interested in filling up dates and making commissions. Also, restaurant/caterers tend to do only one event at a time and because the restuarant portion is open to the public, you can go in, eat dinner and be in a position to observe what's going on with the wedding or event happening. The only other thing I can say is to be realistic in your expectations. Unfortunenately, expectations often exceed what's delivered so make sure you are specific in what you want and that you get it in writing. One more thing. you have a better chance of getting every thing you want if you book out of season. outside of the spring and early fall, places are looking for events to book and are more willing to make a "deal" Good Luck!

                                1. re: tastelikechicken

                                  Following up on tastelikechicken's post (love that name btw) my second choice for wedding venue was George Washington Manor in Roslyn. I did not pick it because I felt the room was too small for my wedding, but we did do a tasting in the restaurant and the food was good. The room is or was very nice also.

                          3. Garden City Hotel always seems to be a winner. Co-worker just got married there 2 mos ago and couldn't stop talking about it.

                            4 Replies
                            1. re: GCGuy

                              Never went to a catered affair there, but have done the Sunday brunch buffet thing there several times over the years. Food great. Staff seems to be top notch, friendly and attentive.

                              I hear Russo's is fabulous also. I am sure it is not inexpensive, but may be more approachable than the Garden City Hotel.

                              1. re: Shayna Madel

                                When I was married in 2001...it was $110 plus -> $150 or so per person for Sat night. My friend's was over $200pp in the GC hotel. Of course, Russo's must have gone up in 6 years, too.

                                1. re: GCGuy

                                  Given that Sunday brunch at the Garden City Hotel is $60pp (or was when Mom turned 75 a year ago), $200pp doesn't shock me for Saturday night there, nor does the price you mention for Russo's. If anyone thinks these prices are ridiculous, just try Kosher at GCH or any of the temples along the north shore of Long Island, in season. Scary. 18 years ago, my sister was quoted $135pp for summer and decided that $85pp in the winter was much more appealing.

                                  1. re: Shayna Madel

                                    It IS scary. If i had it to do all over again, i would have a clambake & invite EVERYONE. Seriously.

                            2. as a long island native, i can agree that most of the traditional catering halls/wedding venues are pretty bad, food-wise. now that i've been looking for my own wedding, i've come across a few venues where the food is a major highlight of the event. specifically, the de seversky center in old westbury comes to mind. the old mansion is on the nyit campus and the catering is done by the professional culinary staff on the grounds (the instructors of the culinary school, not the students.) i've been to an event there and the food was fabulous. and i'm a bit of a foodie, myself.

                              in general, steer clear of large catering places and check out smaller, more personal venues. de seversky can do about 200 people inside, and it amazingly beautiful to boot.

                              1. You can also try The Nassau County Museum of Fine Arts in Roslyn Harbor. Elegant Affairs is the exclusive caterer there, and there food is much more unique that at a normal catering hall.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: robinsilver

                                  Elegant Affairs catering is top notch.

                                2. Here is a post of mine from 2005 if HIGH end gourmet Kosher is wanted...4 star quality....and I've never been to a wedding with kosher food that I ever liked, except for this one that I describe below..........also been to many of the banquet places all over LI from Leonards, and the rest of the ilke, crest hollow, etc...many of them, and they all sucked.
                                  :
                                  I've reccomended them before, and I will gladly do it again, the best, and most elegant wedding I have ever been to was last May in Melville, Long Island at Temple Beth Torah--caterers were Morrell Caterers, food was like a 4 star restaurant, amazing stations, absolutely high end gourmet kosher, have never, and I mean never mean to a kosher affair like this one---took their card, it's rare to actually have great food at a wedding, and this was one---

                                  here's their website---www.morrellcaterers.com
                                  I believe they do offsite catering--very nice people, ask for Tom Cataldo, he's the gentleman I spoke with who runs the show.

                                  Janie Jan 06, 2005 01:44AM

                                  1. I'd say Oheka. Sister had her wedding here. Food was good-v.good.

                                    Or check out Altantica in Westhampton Beach
                                    http://www.tierramar.com/

                                    1. i was married at hamlet willow creek- i thought the food was fantastic
                                      http://www.hamletwillowcreek.com/

                                      sister was married at oheka- if you have $300-400 per person to spend, go for it.

                                      1. I went to 10 weddings this summer (the majority on Long Island) and the best one by far was at ATLANTICA in West Hampton. The food was amazing (I had the duck and it was incredible). They served intermezzo sorbet in baby ice cream cones on the dance floor too! The only thing I was undeimpressed with was the Venetian hour - very small and desserts were nothing special. Hope this helps!

                                        1. The Culinary Studio in Huntington catered my wedding at the Vanderbilt Mansion. The food was very good. Not typical wedding garbage, but actually good, quality food and they are very professional. I'm sure they would travel the hour out east. Website below...

                                          http://www.theculinarystudio.com/

                                          1. Several people have asked what part of Long Island and the poster has not replied. I'll throw in my 2 cents anyway. Last night I was at Windows on the Lake, in Ronkonkoma. The place was nice and the food was good. It was better then most catering halls I've been to. Had a good prime rib and the people that had the chicken said it was also good. The Chef did a nice job on the penne' ala vodka too. Prices were reasonable.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: HDT

                                              blech. prime rib, chicken and penne alla vodka...sounds like Wedding Menu Option "A".

                                            2. We went to a wedding at Land's End in Sayville, and I thought everything was wonderful. The setting is gorgeous, and the food was excellent.

                                              1. we were married in summer 97 at la grange in islip.i think it's changed hands since but might be worth checking out.we did a buffet so everyone had lots of choices and it was above average although as i said,i think they have new owners.nice old style place.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: davmar77

                                                  I am sorry but this place, which is in west islip, is a time warp and highly not recommended. Stay far away from this place. Food is not remotely good. I wouldn't even recommend this place for a Friday night dinner, nevermind a wedding. If you are looking to go this route at least head to Riverview in Oakdale/Sayville. Or Timberpoint Country Club. All of these places are nowhere near in the league of Oheka, Tierra Mar, etc....

                                                  1. re: jenniebnyc

                                                    I agree about La Grange, it's a very depressing place, better for a funeral. We used to have meetings there often so I got a good feel for the place. Sometimes we'd have meetings at Gatsbys in Islip instead, and it was like day and night, what a beautiful place with wonderful food. I think they do weddings....

                                                    1. re: coll

                                                      Gatsby has gotten a lot better than when it first opened. We are friends of the owner. This is his first restaurant and glad to see it's doing well. We had our doubts in the beginning, but he changed some things and it seems to be doing really well now.

                                                    2. re: jenniebnyc

                                                      We went to LaGrange after a funeral and it was appropriate. The word is that they are either closing or reducing their size in the near future.

                                                      1. re: Fred19

                                                        i had heard they changed hands so i can't say much.when we were there,it was actually fine but things change.believe me,we wouldn't have considered it if it was anything like the comments i'm reading now.

                                                  2. We just had our sons wedding reception at The Metropolitan in Glen Cove. Friends were calling to tell us how wonderful the food was. I didn't eat any of the hor dourves as I was busy greeting people, but the dinner was wonderful. Ask for Eileen Long. She was very helpful.

                                                    1. I don't know if this suits your needs, but how about setting the venue yourself? We had my daughter's wedding at home. Rented a huge tent (2 actually--good, if you have the room for 2) and call a great caterer. I just happen to have one for you, too! Richard G. Allen Co. is, for my money, the best. The wait staff is amazing--great kids. You can supply the alcohol and mixers, or have him do everything. The duck spring rolls and Thai chicken lollipops were fantastic starters! 516-747-8855. We liked him and his services so much that we've used him for other private parties since. In 2 weeks, we're going to simply take-out from his storefront in Mineola.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: RickTheClamBellyFan

                                                        If you do it at home you have to rent everything, tent, tables, chairs, portapottys, and a floor for the tent (trust me my cousin skipped this and it was a mud fest), etc.

                                                      2. When my children got married, we resarched the catering halls (no great food) and the idea of renting and "event"space and bringing in a catering (very expensive) and then decided to focus on restaurant with very good dining ratings -which had some rental space for 150 people or so, and found the whole experience to be a painless one and we were very confortable that that the food and presentation would be good, etc. And it was...

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Nathaniel Siegel

                                                          That sounds like the best bet.

                                                        2. In my experience,the bottom line with all these places that everybody is familiar with on the island is what you pay is what you get and a cnote these days gets you sandwiches and soda.

                                                          1. The best halls we have been to would be Russo's On the Bay, Leonards of Great Neck and the Westbury Manor

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: NJfoodLover

                                                              Leonards of Great Neck is hideous.

                                                              1. re: janie

                                                                OMG that brings back memories of a long-ago company dinner. There was a wedding going on in the next room, and the girls wore gold lame wedding dresses and enough hair spray to blow up the place, if a cigarette had gone missing.

                                                                The food as I remember was an Italian buffet, about on a par with an Olive Garden, but the canolis were good.

                                                            2. Have you had any luck with this? If not, i would check out the Old Field Club near Port Jefferson.

                                                              1. I've been working on events for a while on Long Island. And only a few places stick out in my mind in terms of food:

                                                                Carltun on the Park - Eisenhower Park. Excellent, different food. Beautiful atmosphere.
                                                                Garden City Hotel - Top notch food, beautiful setting and EXCELLENT service.
                                                                Fox Hollow - Haven't been to eat since the huge addition of the hotel, but the last time I was there (10 or so years ago) I remember being impressed.

                                                                That being said, my own wedding was at of all places a Sons of Italy that does catering. It's very "Column A, Column B" but the food was well prepared and delicious. My friends still talk about the food from my wedding. It's called Marconi Manor in Islip.