Where to eat well while bowling, playing pool, clubbing
Lunch where you bowl? Sup where you shoot pool? Snack at a rock concert? The very thought of food and entertainment under the same roof used to mean hot dogs turning on metal rods and frozen pizza nuked on cardboard trays.
Until lately, that is. A nascent scene is marrying the concept of serious fun with serious food from serious chefs. Which means you can find herb-crusted rack of lamb at a pool hall, crab/chive/ricotta fritters at a music venue and cedar planked salmon at a bowling alley. Lest things get too highfalutin, you can always opt for a burger -- most made from sustainably raised beef -- at any of the above.
Meet the chefs who are cooking on cue, striking out for good taste and pumping up the flavor at these multipurpose venues:
THE CHEF Marc Anthony Bynum, a Newsday All Star chef, who cooked at Prime in Huntington and was executive chef at Tellers Chophouse in Islip. Bynum designed both the new small plates menu as well as the drinks list and lounge layout.
WHERE YOU EAT Near the entryway is a sleek bar and lounge area with couches and tables that has its own bar menu. There are also two dining spaces -- one, situated to the side of the pool tables, allows diners to watch games in progress. Another, in the rear, is somewhat quieter and more secluded.
WHAT YOU EAT From the bar menu, get such snack items as chiccharón, or fried pork skin tossed in Gorgonzola powder ($8), fried mac and cheese ($9) and pommes frites with truffle oil ($9). Small plates include herbed gnocchi with wild mushrooms, ($9), shrimp and grits ($9), cockles and mussels ($12) and house-smoked chipotle BBQ ribs with cornbread crumble ($10).
HOURS Sunday to Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, noon to 2 a.m.
THE CHEF Piers Stringer, who hails from Great Britain and cooked at two country hotels, one in Wales, one in Ireland, each specializing in locally sourced, sustainable fare. He strives to do everything he possibly can "from scratch" -- and that includes both bread and pasta.
WHERE YOU EAT The dining tables are spread out on several levels of this industrial-looking space. One section, with booths, overlooks the stage. The main eating arena is near the entryway, between two of the venue's three bars.
WHAT YOU EAT Choices include beer-braised short rib sliders ($11.50), vodka-flamed shrimp with spicy chorizo bruschetta ($13.95), house-made fresh lobster ravioli ($19.95), pizzeria-quality Margherita pie ($9.50), apple-braised pulled pork tacos ($14.95) and Black Angus New York strip steak ($24.95). Among finales: house-made ice creams ($5.95) and zeppoles with fresh strawberries and ice cream ($5.95).
HOURS Thursday to Saturday, 4:30 to 10 p.m.
THE PLACE All-Star, 96 Main Rd., Riverhead, 631-998-3565, theallstar.com. A multipurpose venue with bowling lanes, a billiard table and a games arcade, as well as dining space-bar area.
THE CHEF When the place opened in September, its menu was designed by consultant and Newsday All Star chef Keith Luce, who recently left his job as executive chef at Luce & Hawkins in Jamesport. New head guy at the lanes is Bayro Braga, who spent more than a decade as executive chef at Bowlmor on Union Square, a pioneering Manhattan enterprise combining bowling with a creative menu. Braga's new menu retains some of Luce's items but includes many of his own.
WHAT YOU EAT Choices include Long Island duck wings ($11.95), Thai Cobb salad ($14.95), grilled tuna sandwich with pickled ginger and Sriracha mayo ($14.95), wood-fired brick-oven baked roasted vegetable pizza ($11.95) and cedar-plank salmon ($18.95). One possible conclusion: mini zeppoles with dulce de leche and Grand Marnier chocolate sauce ($8.95).
HOURS Monday to Wednesday, 1 to 10 p.m., Thursday, 1 to 11 p.m., Friday, 1 p.m. to midnight, Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight, Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.