The heading says it all. Ate at 18 Bay in Bayville last night and was very disappointed. The NYT and other reviews gave 18 Bay high marks, so maybe we just hit it on an off night, but.... Started with a clear clam/seafood chowder that was different, but not very good. The clams had no flavor and the broth had an odd, astringent and not too pleasant vegetable taste. Points for doing something different, but the dish didn't really come together, though to be fair it might be just a matter of personal taste. A cold beet salad with local greens was good. Main courses ranged from okay to terrible. A pasta primavera was solid, but not exceptional, and pasta with braised rabbit was okay, though there was very little rabbit (really just shards here and there) and a lot of plain pasta. Very bland. The biggest disappointment was what the menu called chicken under a brick. This is the basic flattened chicken, but this version was literally burned to a crisp. Maybe this is how they serve the dish here, since two orders came out that way -- not carmelized, but burned to the point of blackness, making the skin and some of the chicken underneath inedible. The chicken under the burned parts that was edible, was just okay and a bit dry.
Maybe they have problems with the broiler -- a creme brulee also came out burned to an almost inedible crisp on top. Biscotti were good, but kind of routine. Good selection of wines by the glass though -- some different styles and fairly reasonable price wise..
18 Bay is charging close to Manhattan prices (we had an outstanding meal at Lupa the night before and spent less per person for the same number of courses and wine) but based on our experience it is not turning out food to justify the expense.