Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Airport Dining, Belle's Cafe, 9/3/05

JB and I are on a kick. Its called “Dining Off the Beaten Path”. A few weeks ago it was golf courses, last week a car dealership and this week the airport. Gabreski airport is no typical airport though and, for that matter, Belle’s Café is not a typical restaurant.

Chances are you will never fly into Gabreski, aka the Westhampton airport, unless you are on a private jet or a military chopper. You just can’t fly commercial to the Hamptons. But you can go to the airport and eat at Belle’s Café.

Belle’s serves southern food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can sit outside and watch the planes land while you eat your ribs. And it’s BYO which us bargain hunters adore.

We arrived at Belle’s on Saturday night around 9:00. The place was packed and they were only allowing big parties to sit outside. The inside dining room was filled with several parties who had BYOBed a little too much, so we asked if there was anyway to avoid sitting there.

After a few minutes, they moved a two-top out to their back porch. You couldn’t see the planes, but you also couldn’t hear the loons inside, so we decided to stay.

We had brought our soft cooler with a few beers so we each cracked one open and discussed our other airport dining experiences. JB and I loved eating at the airport in Key West; it was one of the best meals of our vacation. JB dined at the West Palm Beach airport when he was trying to save the election for Al Gore. And my dad is a huge fan of airport dining, especially Westchester and Nantucket airports. (Coincidentally, he frequents the public golf course in Greenwich for lunch.) Guess it runs in the family.

The menu has all of your southern favorites: Gumbo, catfish, jambalaya, ribs. We opted for the jambalaya and the meatloaf. Coincidentally, they are the cheapest entrees on the menu at $18.95 each.

We were treated to a bowl of succotash and a loaf of cornbread with a fruity butter. Yum all around. We scarfed down the succotash and tried our best not to consume the whole loaf of cornbread.

When our entrees came, we were a bit disappointed. The meatloaf had the black beans it promised, and it was bacon-wrapped, but it still was pretty dry. The jambalaya had chicken, ham and sausage – no fish. Since I don’t eat ham, my choices were limited. I ate A LOT of the rice which tasted oddly of ketchup. Both dishes came with grilled peaches and sweet potatoes which saved the meal for us. Those sides went fast. It’s too bad because I think the food is good and that we just ordered wrong.

The only semi-bizarre thing about Belle’s is that they charge you a music cover charge, $5 per person because there is a live band. But as I mentioned before, we sat outside, we were not dancing (as the waitresses were) and the band was on a break for much of our meal. Still we had to shell out the extra $10.

All in all, another odd locale for dinner. Here’s hoping that next time I’ll be posting about a plain-old restaurant. But with the Bergers, you never know.

Until we eat again, KLB

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