If you’re looking for miserly portions of the hot-topic unpronounceable food of the week, served on interestingly shaped plates with micro garnishes, then the New Moon Café is definitely not for you. But if you’re in the mood for a good steak and a brew, a comfortable atmosphere, and some stick-to-your-ribs cooking, then come on in through those swinging doors, pardner.
New Moon Café is a family owned and operated Tex Mex restaurant located in the heart of East Quogue. Serving the East End since 1978, New Mooners Shana and Ron “Ole Tex” Campsey have been offering up hearty fare, late night drinks, a bar menu, and a weekend breakfast for the past 40 years, and have pleased both locals and out-of-towners who make up their loyal base.
My guests for the evening were fellow “Westies” (those who live west of the canal), the Press News Group’s Executive Editor Joe Shaw and his wife, the Group’s Photo Editor Dana Shaw, two of the finest people the East End has to offer. It made sense for us Westerners to go full-on cowboy for the night, and New Moon was the ideal spot for that.
The décor at New Moon is down-home diner style. License plates, oil paintings, and old advertising signs compete for space in a large, wood-paneled room, which features a friendly “saloon” atmosphere with drinks and pub grub.
Joe and I shared a salad to start, a deconstructed Greek with greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and feta cheese, in a cilantro-lime vinaigrette. We just sort of picked at it, which wasn’t the salad’s fault. We were waiting on the main courses, which heavily accented meats of the smoked and slathered variety.
Dana chose a mac-and-cheese appetizer that could have been a main course (for an additional couple of bucks, you can add chorizo sausage to the dish). Now, you’d think you can’t go wrong with mac-and-cheese, but I beg to differ. I’ve had some pretty nasty, gummy, chewy M&Cs in my lifetime.
But the mac-and-cheese at New Moon was just right. It was topped with crunch, filled with cheesy goo, and the pasta was perfect. Just what you want if you’re seeking a dairy-and-gluten filled extravaganza of comfort food.
For my main course, I got the special, a sliced marinated steak with mushrooms, onions, and balsamic. It was very flavorful and filling, and lasted me for three days.
Joe opted for a mixed kebob dish — a medley of chicken, shrimp, and steak with grilled mushrooms, onions, and peppers, served with a side dish of a delicious Asian-style dipping sauce. The meal came with a mound of seasoned rice on the side, and fresh vegetables. “This is really good,” said Joe of the sauce. It was indeed tasty, and I test-drove a piece of chicken in it.
Dana got the crème de la crème, however, a barbecued brisket dinner with mashed potatoes, baked beans, and a piece of watermelon, to boot. This is where the New Moon Café really shines. Whether it’s steaks, burgers, or other grilled goods, the restaurant delivers full platters of moist and mouthwatering concoctions.
There is a veggie burger and other choices for those who prefer to go meatless, but the accent here is on all things blackened and barbecued. There are nightly specials like Tex Mex Mondays and Taco Tuesdays, and margaritas come in all flavors from blueberry-ginger to strawberry-jalapeno. For the rest of this month, enjoy music on the porch on Sundays, and breakfast is served all year round on the weekends, along with dinner seven days a week.
If you’re in the mood for a steak with all the trimmings, or some downhome ‘cue, or a place to bring the family where everyone can find something they like, then look no further than East Quogue for a Western feel.
For more information, visit newmooncafeeq.com.