Dockers Waterside Marina & Restaurant has been a Dune Road, East Quogue, destination for three decades — the view alone is worth the trip. Every table has a water view, and there is outdoor dining and an outdoor bar, to boot.
The view would be enough: vistas of water and marsh grass, homes in the distance, and the blue, blue sky. On the day of my visit, a family of swans with fluffy baby cygnets waddled up on the sand to preen and rest, delighting the other diners. But the food, with an obvious accent on le cuisine de mer, adds to the pleasure.
My lunch date was none other than Chris Hall of CP Complete, a high-end landscape and construction company, who also used to co-own Peconic Online, which made The Independent the first newspaper on Long Island to be up on the internet. He hosted Mixed Bag Radio on Sirius XM and other radio shows, has had a plethora of other personas, and is one of my oldest and dearest friends.
You used to be able to just say the words “Bruce Springsteen” and watch Chris talk animatedly for the next 20 minutes about the thousands of Springsteen concerts he had attended. Only 20, if you were lucky. These days, we talk about our mates, our kids, and our fun times in the old days.
But back to Dockers, which features a casual and fun but elegant menu, with the eye-catching “INSANELY! Large Shrimp Cocktail” with a price tag of $65.
“So how insanely large are they?” I asked our server, a young man named Terry, from East Moriches.
“Really big,” he said.
“The size of puppies?” I ventured.
“No, but three of them equals a pound.” Those are some big shrimp.
I figured that was too much for my appetite to take. Instead, I opted for Tuna Two Ways, a delicious starter beautifully presented — sesame seared tuna and tuna tartare wrapped in avocado, plated with black rice crackers and a ponzu sauce served in an Asian soup spoon.
Hall started with the Maine lobster bisque, a savory, buttery blend with chunks of lobster, scallions, and a gougére of cheesy dough on the side. “It’s really good,” he said, but he didn’t have to, because I already had my spoon in his bowl. Old friends can cop tastes without asking.
Other choices include a raw bar, which features a deluxe shellfish platter and a half-chilled lobster (“Is the other half wearing a sweater?” I posited to Terry), salads including mache with goat cheese, pralines, and a fig vinaigrette, calamari, mussels frite (mussels with fries), and a trio of sliders — a sashimi tuna BLT, lobster salad, and crab cake.
I ordered the Lari Salad as my main course — baby arugula, mango, shrimp, papaya, and avocado, with champagne-grapefruit vinaigrette. It was fresh and delicious, just the perfect thing to eat while watching baby swans sleep on the sand under an azure sky, with Bob Marley coming over the speakers.
Hall had the lobster mac and cheese, which was delectable, offering up large chunks of lobster in a creamy sauce with the pasta cooked just right. The portions were large, and we were full before even getting to the entrees, which included the Bigeye tuna BLT, which looked fabulous, served with wasabi mayo and lattice chips, chipotle swordfish tacos, a Wagyu bacon cheeseburger, eggs oscar, and other beachy, country club-style choices.
All in all, Dockers is a perfect place for an outdoor lunch or dinner with friends, family, or someone you want to impress. The view is divine, and the food will appeal to those seeking a chic Hamptons waterfront lifestyle, if only for an hour or two.
Dockers Waterside Marina & Restaurant can be found online at www.dockerswaterside.com.