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Insignia in Smithtown: First $$$$ bites

"Insignia" sushi roll with lobster, foie gras and

"Insignia" sushi roll with lobster, foie gras and Waygu beef at Insignia restaurant in Smithtown. (December 2011) (Credit: Newsday, 2011 / Peter M. Gianotti)

Insignia swaggers into town as hot as a branding iron and just as subtle. All that's missing is a casino.

Restaurateur Anthony Scotto's latest palace of protein, where the tab effortlessly rises above $100 per person, is embodied by the house's namesake sushi roll, which combines Wagyu beef, lobster and foie gras, for $40.

And the style and look of Insignia make Scotto's other star turns, Blackstone Steakhouse in Melville and Rare650 in Syosset, seem like monasteries.

That said, Insignia's steaks are excellent and so's the seafood, raw or cooked. The Kansas City steak, aged 32 days and served with unnecessary truffled foie gras butter, is grand, and comes in at $59. The Wagyu steaks rise to $115, the shellfish plateau at $99. Whole finfish: $25 to $45. Surf and turf: grilled halibut and cider-braised short ribs, $39; lobster tails and 16-ounce filet mignon, $79.

They're all served in a space that makes the term "over-the-top" seem under-the-radar.

An oversize black-and-white photo behind the greeters has women from another, not smoke-free, decade dancing on a table at what's clearly a very lively party. On a rainy weekday night, a parking lot as tightly packed as a new deck of cards indicates plenty of diners are ready for one here.

What recession?

Insignia, 610 Nesconset Hwy., Smithtown; 631-656-8100.

Above, the "Insignia Roll."

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