9 Union Pl. Huntington, NY 631-351-1200
This Italian restaurant offers cooking classes on various Sundays. Gregarious chef-owner Nader Gebrin leads the cooking classes at his restaurant since it opened eight years ago.
Part of the course is teaching the students how to order from a menu. "Do you know the different types of salmon? Lamb chops? Tuna is not always tuna," Gebrin explained.
In previous classes, he has demonstrated how to cook crabcakes, Chilean sea bass with horseradish, and potato-crusted scallops. He always ends the class with his homemade Napoleon, one of the few recipes he will not share.
Cost is $100 plus gratuities for the staff; includes meal and drinks.Hours: Dinner, Monday and Wednesday to Saturday, from 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 4 p.m.; lunch six days. Closed Tuesday. Weekend reservations recommended. Ambience: Good Service: Excellent Reservations: Recommended Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: Very tight dining area.
In 1996, Bravo! Nader announced itself with an exclamation point and earned a star from Newsday. Over the years, chef-owner Nader Gebrin has chipped out a cozy niche in downtown Huntington, in quarters as compact as the portions are generous. The 44-seater still looks a bit like an above-ground finished basement, all paneled and adorned with memorabilia. The comfortably lived-in eatery has a devoted clientele, counting some who've taken Gebrin's popular cooking classes. And these days, the food deserves two stars.
If he ever teaches how to make crab cakes, be sure to get the recipe. They're baked, meaty, first-class. Shaped like a hamburger, his Egyptian falafel topped with hummus is a flavorful, unexpected appetizer. Return to the familiar with good fried zucchini. "Spicy baked ziti" gets its fire from jalapeño peppers, which definitely do the job. House-made sausage with peppers and onions, in a light marinara, could do double-duty as a husky hero. Rigatoni Bolognese: straightforward and fine.
Chopped salad with feta cheese and the namesake salad with hearts of palm, fennel and radicchio are refreshing alternatives.
Gebrin expertly fries whole flounder, keeping it moist inside and crunchy out, finished with a snappy garlic and cilantro sauce. Tender pork chops stuffed with sausage, broccoli rabe and mozzarella rise high and could feed two.
The much-touted Napoleon doesn't have a thousand layers, but it's fragile and sweet, with a hint of almond. And the creamy tiramisu has enough espresso to keep you awake.
Routine baked clams with lemon and garlic sauce. The pillow-shaped lobster raviolo is underseasoned but in a tasty vodka sauce. Steak alla pizzaiola, in a savory crimson sauce, is chewy. Dry cheesecake. Dull chocolate mousse cake.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Bravo! Nader is located at 9 Union Place, Huntington, 631-351-1200, bravonader.com