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Joe's Garage and Grill in Riverhead: First bites

Tokyo Drift sliders at Joe's Garage feature steamed

Tokyo Drift sliders at Joe's Garage feature steamed Asian buns, smoked pork belly, kimchee and cucumber salsa in April 2014. (Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)

A recent lunch at the new Joe’s Garage and Grill in Riverhead proved a rousing success. Not only was the hip race car-themed place something to behold — brick walls, cement floors and a mini racetrack suspended above the bar — but chef Brian Burner’s food scored majorly.

At the starting gate was an appetizer called Tokyo Drift sliders ($9.95). Rather than sliders, what I got were two bao, or steamed Asian buns, enfolding succulent house-smoked pork belly, kimchee and cucumber salsa. One bite made my eyes fly open. A smoked turkey potpie, served in an iron skillet had, instead of the buttermilk biscuit crust described on the menu, a cornbread topping. A tad sweet, perhaps, but overall, such a comforting dish.

According to Burner, everything is made from scratch —  with all smoking done in-house. The payoff,  from the looks of things, was a full restaurant at 1:30 in the afternoon.

Joe’s Garage and Grill fronts the Riverhead municipal parking lot at 40 Peconic Ave., Riverhead, 631-591-3330, joesgarageandgrill.com

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