There’s a new player in the Moriches restaurant game: La Buena Vida. Located on Montauk Highway just east of Barnes Road with a scenic view of Mill Pond, La Buena Vida brings a new type of cuisine to the community that bursts with love, history, and passion.
Owned by local resident Tom Freck, who has been living in Moriches and Center Moriches for 15 years, the restaurant takes authentic Spanish cuisine with Mediterranean influences to new levels. Freck and his team took over the building in September, which was formerly occupied by Asian fusion restaurant Watami. They made some design and aesthetic changes, but left the layout largely the same.
The space also comes with a catering hall that can seat over 100 people. The food is meant to be enjoyed by all, and is at affordable prices while still being fresh and well-made. Freck recruited his longtime friend and chef, Luis Nunez, to help craft and cook the menu. Nunez has been cooking for over 30 years and said he puts a lot of love into his food every night.
The menu has a lot of options to craft a meal. You could get yourself a nice paella ($26-$34), or chops of NY strip steak ($32) or salmon ($24), or mix it up with different appetizers.
“It’s the way I like to eat,” Freck said of his efforts to craft the menu.
The owner added that he chose Moriches because he wanted to bring a new type of food to the area, as well as loving the community. The restaurant has a comforting ambiance that makes it suitable for any occasion, from not being in the mood to cook all the way to an anniversary dinner.
“We’re just really excited to be part of the community,” he added.
We tried a few dishes on the menu, and the favorite had to be the pork chop drowned in a classic Spanish garlic sauce ($24). Named Chuletas de Cerdo a la Bilbaina on the menu, the dish gives you a thick cut of a pork chop, drizzled in a savory sauce with diced red peppers, garlic, and parsley bringing out a great balance of flavor. (Nunez said he has been told multiple times to bottle this sauce, which isn’t surprising.)
We also tried a few appetizers, which make great picking plates when you’re with a group (or by yourself—we’re not judging). Our favorite of these was the bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese ($14). The date brings a sweetness to the table as the vehicle for really thick goat cheese that melts perfectly and seared bacon that easily rips apart when you bite into it. There’s a rich, complex combination of flavors that makes this something you won’t want to stop grabbing for. There’s also stuffed mushrooms containing shrimp and scallops ($12) that put a little twist on the classic appetizer. We also enjoyed the lamb chops ($15), which were tender and juicy.
Freck said he also keeps a good stock of quality Spanish wines. For inquiries about catering or renting the space, call 631-909-1985.
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