Latest fine dining reviews
The latest fine dining reviews from critic Peter M. Gianotti.
Viaggio Tapas(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Viaggio Tapas, Rockville Centre: While other restaurants annex the word "tapas" almost as fast and freely as they appropriate "bistro" and "grill", Rockville Centre’s Viaggio Tapas earns the right. The look is mainly exposed brick and unvarnished wood, with some windowlike accents and stylized artwork. Recommended: smoked Basque oysters (pictured), seafood paella, zucchini flatbread
Koi Kokoro(Credit: Doug Young)
Koi Kokoro, Islip: Koi Kokoro in Islip looks pared down, streamlined and minimalist, but the food is a different story. The modest storefront spot prepares fine, traditional sushi. Then, the kitchen goes in for a bright, stretch-the-definition spin on tapas-- and succeeds. Recommended: Kokoro "bon bomb", Miru mountain roll, Miru mountain
Amara Kitchen & Cocktails(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Amara Kitchen & Cocktails, Blue Point: A sprawling, mostly Greek, renovated restaurant, Amara Kitchen & Cocktails moved into the former quarters of Blue. Its contemporary style gives this Blue Point restaurant a nice overall ambience, but its fare at times falls flat. Recommended: Pan-seared dry scallops (pictured), hand-rolled pita, Saganaki.
Kurofune(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Kurofune, Commack: Recently gone under new ownership, Kurofune Japanese Restaurant has been serving Commack for the last two decades. The current version is a lot better than its predecessor, with a more polished dining room and sushi bar, as well as an updated menu with a few pleasant surprises. Recommended: The rainbow roll, soba soup, fluke usuzukuri.
Hush Bistro(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Hush Bistro, Farmingdale: Meticulously designed, with almost industrial-style space, Hush Bistro in Farmingdale is decorated with reclaimed wood and vintage scones. The space is small-- it fits only 26 diners-- but the flavors are big. Meals here are thoughtful and flavorful. Recommended: Berkshire pork chop (pictured), lobster bisque and house-smoked ribs.
P.J. Clarke's(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
P.J. Clarke's, Woodbury: The newest P.J. Clarke's has uncorked in Woodbury, leading with eight burgers and six ryes. It's precisely designed and polished, and can have a pretty good meal here if you order carefully. Recommended: The "Cadillac" burger (pictured), lobster-salad roll, and dry-aged sirloin steak.
The Refuge(Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan)
The Refuge, Melville: The Refuge Food & Spirits, heir to Four Food Studio, is a bold, whimsical redesign that almost turns the site into a movie set with amusement-park flair. The vibe inside is eclectic, with distressed wood, no chairs that match and a pop-and-rock soundtrack. With excellent Latin fare and tasty Italian dishes, you can tell the party is just getting started.Recommended: paella (pictured), baked eggplant with pappardelle and ropa vieja nachos.
Imperial Meat Company(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Imperial Meat Company, Huntington: Sleek, neon-lit and clubby, IMC (Imperial Meat Company) erases all memories of Buoy One, the classic fish restaurant that used to occupy this prime Main Street location. Though excessive in style, the menu is far more simple. Recommended: Filet mignon (pictured), lobster-salad sliders and foie gras.
The Arden(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
The Arden, Port Jefferson: Situated above a Starbucks in the town of Port Jefferson is The Arden. Enter at street level, pass a velvet rope line, and climb a seasonally decorated stairway to reach the "ultra lounge" for "vibe dining." Recommended: Tuna two ways (pictured), fig-and-goat cheese flatbread and root-beer braised short ribs.
110 Japan(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
110 Japan, Huntington Station: 110 Japan opens opposite the Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station, and owner Sonny Ling's showcase offers a colorful, something-for-everyone approach. The eye-catching presentations for much of the food suit the surroundings. And the flavors, while neither bold nor subtle, are fresh and focused. Recommended: House-made lobster bisque(pictured), Miyazaki roll and Miyazaki short ribs.
Grotta di Fuoco(Credit: Linda Rosier)
Grotta di Fuoco, Long Beach: Exposed brick and industrial metal steps give this spot a Brooklyn-esque appeal, but it’s the food that will really catch your attention at Grotta di Fuoco in Long Beach. From start to finish, this “cave of fire” is smokin’. Recommended: Baccalá alla puttanesca (pictured), tre porcellini pizza and fettuccine alla carbonara.
Brook23 bar + kitchen(Credit: Barbara Alper)
brook23 bar + kitchen, Lynbrook: Lynrbook’s newest gastropub, brook23 bar + kitchen, is devoted to craft beers on tap, fare that goes with brews, major TV sports and the perpetual pursuit of a good time. Choose wisely and you can have a tasty meal—and a fantastic brew. Recommended: Duck fries, "crispy double cheese" sandwich and their house burger (pictured).
Caci North Fork(Credit: Randee Daddona)
Caci North Fork, Southold: A rustic spot that already has a niche on Main Road in Southold, Caci North Fork is an experience for expertly prepared food, served in a contemporary dining room that creates a look free of interruptions. Recommended: Seared duck breast with apple chutney (pictured), potato gnocchi and bistecca alla Fiorentina.
Cafe Testarossa(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Cafe Testarossa, Syosset: A newly renovated interior brings in more subdued and soothing artwork at Cafe Testarossa in Syosset, but chef-owner Billy Sansone's meticulous cooking, from crudo to meatballs, is humming, with heightened flavor and refined style. Recommended: Seared swordfish (pictured), pan-seared halibut and poached pear-and-red beet salad.
Kashi Sushi Lounge(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Kashi Sushi Lounge, Syosset: The newly opened third branch of Kashi Sushi Lounge in Syosset makes the branches in Huntington and Rockville Centre seem like vow-of-silence retreat houses. You come here for a show, and you get it, in the design of the spot itself and on the plate. Recommended: Takayama sushi roll (pictured), sashimi and beef tenderloin stir-fry.
Pentimento(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Pentimento, Stony Brook: New chef, Massimo Fedozzi, has transformed Pentimento into a destination for regional Italian fare with the taste of authenticity. Start with well-sourced cheeses and cured meats, but order small plates and save room for the exceptional pastas. Recommended: Pan-seared pork chop is paired with braised cabbage (pictured), veal-filled agnolotti del plin with porcini mushrooms and Peconic Bay scallops.
Swallow(Credit: Tadej Znidarcic)
Swallow, Huntington: At the newly expanded Swallow, the theme is small plates, and the results are big. (The sibling Swallow East also flies high.) Recommended: soy-braised short ribs with green onion, cashews and chilies (pictured); grilled baby octopus with pomegranate seeds, pancetta and shishito peppers; grilled skirt steak with horseradish, capers, shallots and a hint of pinot noir; shrimp po'boy with heirloom tomatoes and sauce rémoulade; deviled eggs with Serrano ham and chipotle pepper; Vietnamese barbecue pork bun; butternut-squash cappuccino; Key lime pie.
True American Kitchen(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
True American Kitchen, Mineola: Get a quick geography lesson at this lively spot that serves regional cuisines from all over the country. Recommended: Grandma's meatloaf poppers (pictured), filet-mignon sliders, lobster roll, Buffalo-style chicken wings, the house hamburger (with slab bacon, smoked Gouda cheese, avocado, crisp fried onions and chipotle-spiked aioli, all piled on a pretzel bun), Wagyu beef Chicago-style hot dog, Lower East Side Reuben with Gruyère cheese, pickled cabbage slaw and spicy mayo.
George Martin's Grillfire(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
George Martin's Grillfire, Syosset: This third Long Island Grillfire is a bit different from the branches in Merrick and Rockville Centre, with a more ambitious menu and style, plus some higher prices. The look is mainly modern, mostly striking, in earth tones, with splashes of color, stone-like veneers and a popular bar with the obligatory TVs tuned to sports. Recommended: flat-iron steak and sesame-crusted tuna equal updated surf-and-turf.
Tony Colombos Italian Bistro(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Tony Colombos Italian Bistro, Rockville Centre: Tony Colombos in Rockville Centre is the joint effort of chef Tony Colombo, formerly of Cirella’s in Melville, and Art Gustafson, chef-owner of Chadwicks American Chophouse & Bar near the Rockville Centre railroad station. Filament light bulbs give it a contemporary accent, and a caricature of actress Sophia Loren takes up an exposed-brick wall in the dining room gives off a cool vibe. Recommended: spaghetti and meatballs, Beef braciola, Pappardelle alla Bolognese, rice balls, striped bass.
Moonstone(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)
Moonstone, Great Neck: Sleek and contemporary, bright and handsome and with reliable a repertoire, this gem is a welcome addition to LI's dwindling Chinese restaurant scene. Recommended: sanpei chicken claypot (pictured, with with Chinese sausage and cloud ear mushrooms), Shanghai-style soup dumplings, hoisin-glazed bacon sliders, wheat noodles in sesame-peanut sauce, pork pot stickers, roast pork-and-taro puffs, chicken-and-Chinese chives dumplings, Beijing duck, Frenched rack of lamb with spring-onion sauce, kung pao monkfish, lettuce wrap with chicken or seafood, citrus flavor crispy beef, shrimp with lobster sauce, "green'' shrimp with asparagus and broccoli, "kung fu" halibut in a Sichuan-style mala sauce, eggplant in garlic sauce, stir-fried string beans with minced pork, coconut tofu pudding.
Brewology(Credit: Doug Young)
Brewology, Speonk: Brewology refers to the science of beer, and this gastropub, with 24 taps and chef Lia Fallon creating the cuisine, is very systematically, precisely and meticulously put together in almost every way. Recommended: scallop BLT (pictured), the grilled flatbread du jour, short-rib burger with Cheddar cheese, smoked pork belly with maple-bean ragout.
The Seawater Grill(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
The Seawater Grill, Montauk: At Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, you'll find more than just a great view thanks to the restaurant's playful molecular gastronomy plus good sushi and comfort fare. Recommended: tuna tartare tacos with molecular soy-sauce "pearls" (pictured), Montauk fluke crudo, toysters Rockefeller fritters, seared diver scallops with cauliflower puree and roasted cauliflower florets, pan-roasted striped bass, seared yellowfin tuna crusted with black-and-white sesame seeds, two-pound lobsters (broiled or steamed), chicken Parmesan.
Cinque Terre(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Cinque Terre, Huntington Station: The new Italian restaurant, with a respectable wine list and on-point staff, is comfortably old-school, but surprisingly refreshing at the same time. Recommended: pappardelle Bolognese (pictured, topped with ricotta and peas); pan-seared sardines; citrus-dressed braised octopus; fritto misto of shrimp, squid, cuttlefish and red snapper; trofie pasta, with a roasted tomato puree and pesto; bow-shaped farfalle with eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, basil, olives and white anchovies; meat-filled tortilli; chocolate mousse.
Nissos(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Nissos, Syosset: Dressed in bright white and Aegean blue, the new Greek restaurant is airy and fresh, too, from the billowy, sail-like cloth above the main dining area to the display of the day's catch on ice. Recommended: moussaka special (pictured); preads, including taramasalata, with fish roe, and melitzanosalata, of eggplant; fried zucchini and eggplant chips with garlic-yogurt dipping sauce; grilled octopus; saganaki; grilled black sea bass; grilled jumbo shrimp; fried whiting.
H20 Seafood & Sushi(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)
H20 Seafood & Sushi, Smithtown: Updated with a very satisfying remake, there's a bigger emphasis on the uncooked thanks to Wayne Cafariella. Recommended: millennium lobster (lobster dusted with spiced flour and sauteed, pictured), New England-style clam chowder, fried oysters with rémoulade, shellfish cocktails, clams casino royale (with bacon, red pepper and an herb crust), spicy tuna crispy rice sliders, king crab "klub," sashimi platter, lobster bake (with clams, corn, potatoes and andouille sausage), lobster-enriched macaroni and cheese, Hazelnut-Parmesan-crusted swordfish, zeppole-inspired doughnuts.
Petulant Wino(Credit: Randee Daddona)
Petulant Wino, Aquebogue: The North Fork's newest must-eat, must-drink restaurant is co-owned by Courtney Schaudel and her father, perpetual-motion chef Tom Schaudel, and housed in an 1830 building. This is his third North Fork production, following A Mano in Mattituck and A Lure in Southold, and he brings along chef Lenny Campanelli (formerly of CoolFish). Recommended: pan-roasted Long Island blackfish (pictured, served in Thai green curry with black rice and banana salsa), lemongrass-poached shrimp with green-tea soba noodles, striped bass crudo, tuna "pizza" with scallion pancake, grilled oysters, mini grilled cheese sandwich with braised short rib, chipotle-braised duck taco, slow-roasted pork belly with pickled rhubarb, duck breast with mushroom-and-blueberry risotto, Black Angus burger with fruitwood-smoked bacon, warm fig cake with salted caramel gelato.
Matteo's(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)
Matteo's, Roslyn: Open since 1992 but overseen by new owners since 2008, the recently refreshed restaurant has a dining room that's gone from drab to fab and a chef, Anthony Martarana, who has kept much of the family-style Italian menu but added New American and modern Italian dishes. Recommended: Nonna's ragu, featuring hunks of short rib, meatballs and sausage (pictured); clams oreganata; grilled octopus with white beans and tomato; whole branzino; shrimp Wendy, shrimp sauteed with green beans; chicken ultimate, lightly fried cutlets in a lemony sauce topped with mozzarella and cherry peppers.
Claudio's(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)
Claudio's, Glen Cove: Co-owners Claudio Zustovich and son Fabrizio have overhauled and brightened the spacious, high-ceiling dining room formerly occupied by La Pace. It now is called Ristorante Da Claudio. Salmon carpaccio is an appetizer.
Harlow East(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Harlow East, Sag Harbor: A new outpost of a Manhattan hot spot run by Richie Notar, the spacious restaurant offers comfy nautical striped banquettes along the dining room wall and a wraparound deck overlooking yachts in the harbor. Recommended: root vegetable salad (pictured), Niçoise salad, grilled shrimp with lemongrass aioli, burger (served with bacon marmalade), lobster mac and cheese, lobster sliders, deconstructed strawberry shortcake.
The Savoy Tavern(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
The Savoy Tavern, Merrick: Chef Kevin Liebov revives and freshens The Savoy Tavern with New American flair and a fondness for homey dishes too. With a diverse and satisfying list of beers on tap. Recommended: roasted chicken with broccoli raab (pictured), braised pork belly, panko-crusted lump crabcakes, roasted artichokes, steamed mussels, fish and chips, pan-seared soft-shell crabs, pan-roasted Scottish salmon with a honey-and-mustard crust, warm-croissant bread pudding.
Volpe(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Volpe Ristorante, Woodbury: One floor up at Fox Hollow, tucked into the sprawling inn and catering complex, is Volpe, which offers a traditionally furnished, very polite dining room and a barroom that's a bit more modern and frequently accompanies dinner with live music. Recommended: filet mignon (pictured), three-course lobster dinner (served Wednesdays), shrimp cocktail, eggplant Siciliana, paccheri alla Barese, Rigatoni Siciliana, Shrimp Francese, grilled branzino, and a fritto misto of shrimp, squid and zucchini.
Parlay Gastropub(Credit: Aaron Zebrook)
Parlay Gastropub, Rockville Centre: Long Island's latest gastropub pulls 48 tap handles, beer you can enjoy while seated at heavy-duty picnic-style benches (tables in back), amid exposed brick and ductwork, and industrial-style lighting. Recommended: onion-crusted chicken (pictured, with mashed potatoes and asparagus), chicken wings, "Peking duck" steamed buns, flatbread with sausage and broccoli raab, beef short-rib sliders, bacon-wrapped shrimp, cowboy burger (with manchego cheese, barbecue sauce, onion rings, bacon and a fried egg), shrimp with Cheddar grits and bacon.
Ristegio's(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Ristegio's, North Patchogue: Chef and co-owner Richard Lanza's stage is a big, brick-and-stone monument with two dining rooms, a sushi section and a centerpiece bar with four TVs. Lanza smoothly segues through New American, French, Italian and Japanese cuisines. Recommended: stew of Nueske's slab bacon and beans (pictured), sherried lobster bisque, tempura-battered artichokes, macaroni and cheese with Black Forest ham, bacon-wrapped pork medallions, braised short ribs, pan-seared diver sea scallops, "stuffed pasta pillows" with a four-cheese filling in a meaty sauce, Ristegio's roll (tuna, yellowtail, salmon, avocado), cheesecake, flourless chocolate cake.
Schafer's(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Schafer's, Port Jefferson: This sprawling downtowner boasts a harbor view, postcard look and all-star chef in Heather West, who won season two of "Hell's Kitchen." Recommended: seared scallops (pictured, with whipped potato-and-parsnip puree), fish tacos, fish and chips, braised short ribs, chicken rustico, pan-seared filet mignon, broken-down s'mores.
Polo Steakhouse(Credit: Craig Ruttle)
Polo Steakhouse, Garden City: The $26 million makeover of the Garden City Hotel includes this player in the LI high-steaks competition with an opulent, clubby feel and 28-day aged prime steaks. Recommended: oysters Rockefeller (pictured), crabcakes, porterhouse for two, bone-in filet mignon, grilled swordfish, lemon meringue pie.
Nisen 110(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Nisen 110, Melville: A striking, sharp-angle, high-decibel, sleekly modern spot. Recommended: yellowtail-jalapeño appetizer (pictured), sashimi or traditional sushi (especially the fatty tuna), trio of beef sliders, fried oysters, lobster taco, Black Forest cake.
Nick's Tuscan Grill(Credit: Yana Paskova)
Nick's Tuscan Grill, Mineola: Originally in Long Beach, the Sandy-damaged restaurant has reopened with an emphasis on Italian-American favorites. Recommended: osso buco (pictured), ricotta-stuffed meatballs, rice balls, baked clams, pappardelle Bolognese, eggplant Parmigiana, linguine primavera, filet mignon au poivre, braised beef short ribs, bone-in roasted chicken, cannoli.
Reel(Credit: Nicole Horton)
Reel, East Rockaway: Chef Adam Goldgell (TV's "Restaurant Express") oversees the kitchen at the seafood restaurant with plenty of waterside, alfresco tables for warmer days. Recommended: cold lobster roll (pictured), "oysters 2 ways," hot smoked trout salad, New England-style clam chowder, buffalo chicken wings, seafood gumbo, mussel pots, fish and chips, monkfish Caribbean-style, cedar-planked salmon, grilled tuna.
Latitude 121(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Latitude 121, Stony Brook: Taking over the former home of Brook House, the polished dining room has been given a nautical theme, but it's subtle and confident, like much of James Cavorti's cuisine. Recommended: lobster Thermidor potpie (pictured), mini pork wings, duo of sliders, mussels with tomatoes, lobster bisque, grilled swordfish, sea scallops in a citrus beurre blanc, New York strip steak, filet mignon, chocolate fudge layer cake.
La Marmite(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
La Marmite, Williston Park: At 40 years old, the classic continental restaurant, housed in an early 1900s Victorian, has found a younger self in new ownership and new chef in Greg Kearns. The familiar northern Italian-French menu has been refreshed and updated. Recommended: roast lobster (pictured, with creamy morel sauce and English pea puree); baked, local top neck clams; pappardelle Bolognese; seared diver scallops, with endive marmalade; chargrilled octopus with chickpea salad; steamed mussels in coconut-lime broth; pan-seared red snapper; duck breast on a puree of sweet potatoes; herb-crusted rack of lamb; chocolate mousse cake.
Painters' Restaurant(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Painters' Restaurant, Brookhaven: A colorful, entertaining spot with real personality that's back after being destroyed by a 2012 fire. Recommended: buttermilk fried chicken (pictured), arroz con pollo, barbecued ribs, red-wine-braised pork chop osso buco, sesame-crusted ahi tuna, pan-seared sea scallops, grilled pizzas.