Cue Nine

2953 Hempstead Tpke. Levittown, NY 516-796-4600

A couple sits at the bar and has

(Credit: Steven Sunshine)

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Critic rating: 2.5

User rating:
3
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Type: Billiards/Pool, Lounge, American, Steak, Burgers Price: Mon-Fri before 6 p.m.: one player $5 per hour, two $8, three $9, four $12. ; after 6 p.m. (plus Sat-Sun, holidays): one player $8, two $12, three $15, four $16. Special features: Bar scene, Pool Price range: $$ (Moderate) Description:

As much a sports bar and restaurant as a pool hall, Cue Nine has a vibe that’s upbeat and fun. The most ambitious offerings of the lot, Cue Nine’s evolving menu has a crowd-pleasing selection of salads, burgers and full entrees such as a flatiron steak ($22). Kids are welcome, too.

Hours: Mon-Thurs: 5 p.m.-1 a.m.; Fri-Sat: 11 a.m.-3 a.m.; Sun: 5 p.m.-12 a.m. Ambience: Good Service: Very Good Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: Wheelchair accessible
From the kitchen of cxecutive chef Marc Anthony

From the kitchen of cxecutive chef Marc Anthony Bynum at Cue Nine in Levittown comes The Hustler Burger topped with barbecue brisket and fried onions. (April 16, 2011) (Credit: Steven Sunshine)

2.5

Cue Nine is not your daddy's smoke-filled pool hall.

For one thing, it's got a restaurant. And the only smoking going on involves ribs and brisket, cooked in a perforated pan over soaked wood chips.

That little makeshift barbecue trick comes from chef-consultant Marc Anthony Bynum (former head chef at Tellers Chophouse in Islip, a finalist on Food Network's "Chopped" and a Newsday All-Star Chef). Bynum and well-credentialed chef de cuisine Tony Kang offer a menu of well-priced comfort classics served by a cheerful crew.

As you eat, check out the action in the game room -- or tune it out -- in an ambience best described as lounge-y chic.

GREAT SHOTS

An appetizer of spareribs comes out meaty, smoky, saucy. Forget preconceptions about calamari; the amazing version here stars tender-crisp ringlets and tentacles fried with lemon slices and hot cherry and banana peppers, every few bites a mini explosion in the mouth. Other eye-opening openers: spicy, sweet, sticky, crunchy kung pao rock shrimp. And hand-cut pommes frites with truffle oil, Parmesan and parsley. Even the house salad, gratis with entrees, is big, bright, dressed in style.

Such a treat, the juicy roasted half chicken, which is mostly deboned but still covered with crisp skin. A real kick is the subtly spicy MB's pasta rustica, long corkscrews with escarole, white beans, hot and sweet Italian sausage in a garlic white-wine sauce. I'm not usually a fan of pasta with chicken, but the penne ala vodka, made with tender strips along with prosciutto, is one arrangement that works.

How very wicked and beefy-good is the juicy hustler burger, topped with barbecued brisket, crisp fried onions and coleslaw. Accompanying fries retain their seduction factor even after cooling.

NEAR MISSES

An open-face sandwich of tender flatiron steak is somewhat skimpy, a turkey club good but humdrum. And why bother making a waffle sundae if you're going to use a frozen waffle?

BOTTOM LINE

Overall, right on cue.

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Where

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Cue Nine 2953 Hempstead Tpke., Levittown

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