I’ve only been to Freeport a couple of times in my life, but nothing quite screams “Long Island Summer” like Freeport. However, this restaurant — Pier 95 — right outside of the Nautical Mile, didn’t quite strike the right chord with me…
The Nautical Mile, nearby, is AMAZING! It’s full of so much life, energy, and music that it’s almost overwhelming. The street leads right down to the ocean, and the entire way is filled with consecutive restaurants, nostalgic ice cream shops, and small stores that almost all have their own live music, seafood specials, and happy hour specials. There is a ton of life and energy, and you’re surrounded by nothing but sun and sea the entire time. I’ve never seen such a concentration of live music — nearly every restaurant had outdoor seating with their own band playing. The bands ranged in all genres of music — reggae, slow rock, swing, etc. There are so many restaurants that it’s overwhelming to pick one at first. They all seem to be fiercely competitive as a result, and therefore each restaurant is bound to have its own impressive food specials or offerings that overpowers the one next door.
Some people, of course, prefer a region of less hustle and action. And that brings us to Pier 95 — a restaurant located on the water, outside the Nautical Mile. Now, I’m completely fine with eating at a restaurant off the Nautical Mile, considering how ridiculously touristic that strip is and how it’s impossible to have a moment to think at times from all the energy. However, Pier 95 didn’t strike me the way I wished it did.
The restaurant from the outside, right off the bat, didn’t come off as particularly inviting. The exterior looks outdated and almost uncomfortable, lacking windows and any freshness or energy in appearance. It is, however, on the water, which is always a plus for me.
Next, something about the interior of the restaurant didn’t come off as inviting either. Now, the interior is fine… but, that is precisely it — the interior is just fine. There’s no remarkable decor or effort, and the dining room is absurdly simple. I admire minimalism when appropriately executed, but I just felt irritated by lack of interior design. There are a couple stray paintings here and there of sailors or captains, but for whatever reason — I was simply not feeling this.
So, okay. Calm down, Gabby. Give this place a try, right? Yes, sure! I wasn’t dying of hunger at this point, so I ordered a lobster bisque, and planned to share two paella dishes with my parents. Now, my lobster bisque was presented well, tasted good, and I was overall satisfied with that dish. I’ll give that to them.
I know not every paella dish could be like the paella from Cafe Espanol in NYC or from Barcelona, but I was not a fan of the paella dishes at all. I felt like if I tried to make a paella dish myself for the first time, and worked reasonably hard at it without any cooking experience whatsoever, I could’ve probably made the paella dish at the restaurant. I mean, they were fine… But that was it, once again — they were just fine. I wasn’t really driven to dig into the paella like I would be otherwise, but it was what it was.
At this point, I wasn’t really feeling this restaurant at all. I survived the meal, but I was happy to get out of the place. I’m definitely not one to speak for the majority about such sentiment towards this restaurant. The place did fill up reasonably quickly in the evening, and a lot of couples and families came. The waterfront view is also nice. There may not be windows up front, but there are nothing but windows in the back. The view is clear and one could see all the boats pulling through the area. Personally, I think the place is more fitting for older couples — the dinners are more settled, controlled, and straightforward than they would’ve been at the Nautical Mile. But, personally, I would’ve eaten at a restaurant on the Nautical Mile in a heartbeat.
The service wasn’t bad by any means. In fact, the waiters were quite personable and friendly, and our waiter took extra effort to make sure we were satisfied with all of our choices. I can’t say anything negative about service.
So, overall, for whatever reason, this restaurant didn’t strike me as a place I’d go back to a million times (or ever) again. It was acceptable, but definitely not the best choice in the area, in my opinion. I’d pick the energy, enthusiasm, and gusto of the Nautical Mile any day, and I don’t care if they serve me Fish N Chips in a newspaper basket or if the music is loud — I think the experience would’ve been much more favorable, and overall memorable. Regardless, any trip to Freeport is sure to be memorable somehow.