Making the most of good food and scenery

With summer almost upon us, Bridget Foy’s, 200 South St. , with its picturesque Queen Village locale and wonderful patio seating, is an excellent place to dine al fresco. It also helps that the food, for the most part, is spectacular.

The two biggest bangs for your buck among the appetizers are the goat cheese salad and the mushroom flatbread ($11 each). The salad starts off as an above-average tossing of mixed greens, beets, pears and honey-thyme vinaigrette. But it’s the warm goat cheese crusted with pistachio that really sends this dish over the top, adding a slight sweet and creamy but solid richness to the salad that complements the tanginess of the dressing.

We weren’t looking forward to the mushroom flatbread because we feared the mushrooms would overpower the other ingredients, as we’ve experienced in similar dishes around town. But Bridget Foy’s flatbread surprised us. The mushrooms here were quite tasty and in perfect balance with the tantalizing blend of artichokes, arugula and the garlic cream sauce.

By comparison, the BBQ duck tacos ($10) were good, but not as spectacular. The rich texture of the duck, combined with pineapple salsa and guacamole, would have benefitted from a spicier barbeque sauce for added balance.

This time of year finds many people craving hamburgers, and Bridget Foy’s offers some tempting examples of the summertime staple. If you prefer a version with training wheels, you can opt for the standard burger ($11), with cheddar, lettuce, tomato and red onion. The more adventurous diner should go for the New Mexico burger ($13), which brings the heat with green chilies, pepperjack cheese and chipotle aioli. For more refined flavor, check out the Head House Market burger ($13), with herb mayo, fried egg, Gruyère and mushrooms. All of these beefy burgers are juicy and thick and served with hand-cut russet fries, some of the best fried spuds you’ll find on South Street.

Vegetarians aren’t left out of the burger fun at Bridget Foy’s either. The excellent veggie burger ($11) is satisfying enough to charm most meat lovers, with a housemade black-bean patty, mushroom pesto aioli, spinach and Gruyère.

If you require something a little more substantial, Bridget Foy’s offers a fine selection of upscale comfort food. The mac and cheese ($14) is creamy and decadent with the seductive crunch of a potato-chip crust, even before you add extras like bacon, grilled chicken or roasted tomatoes ($2 each). The Cadillac meatloaf ($17) is also a crowd-pleaser, with mashed potatoes, asparagus and a seriously delicious crimini gravy.

If your tastes are more Martha Stewart Living than Hungry-Man Dinner, the eggplant napoleon ($16) makes one hell of an impression, topped with broccoli rabe, roasted peppers, marinara and provolone. Even better is the blue-corn-crusted mahi mahi ($21), whose light and crispy texture is a perfect match for the poblano cream sauce and pineapple salsa that comes with it.

For good food and good people watching, it’s hard to compete with Bridget Foy’s.

Larry Nichols can be reached at [email protected].

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