81 Broadway Greenlawn, NY 631-754-9868
The warmth of the restaurant comes as much from its owners' welcoming ways and homey cuisine as from its romantic fireplace. Some nights, you may be given a gratis demitasse of soup after you order. Or an ice cream soda in a shot glass before you leave. Chef Luke Desanctis' cooking keeps getting better. Burgers, beef and turkey, excel, as do innovative sandwiches, such as ahi tuna steak with olive tapenade and a top BLT. Extra allure comes from weeknight blue-plate specials, preceded by a first-rate house salad and followed by chocolate icebox cake.Hours: Brunch, Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., dinner, Monday to Thursday, 5to 10 p.m., Friday, noon to 11p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11p.m., Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9p.m. Ambience: Very Good Service: Very Good Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: Restrooms not handicap equipped
In 1956, Elvis recorded "Heartbreak Hotel," Ike was re-elected president and Old Fields Inn opened in Greenlawn. Until last year, the steakhouse near the LIRR tracks remained under the same family ownership. Then, David and Christine Tunney (he's a partner at HONU and Besito) bought the place, giving it a renovation respectful of its history. Today, the fireplace in the wood-paneled dining room glows as warm as ever.
What's changed is the addition of Wi-Fi and the availability of iPads for customers' use. Then, there's the affordable family-friendly menu. While a few steaks are offered, there also are sandwiches, salads and homey American entrees. Weekend brunch, too.
The all-important burger aces it in terms of smoky, juicy, beefy goodness. A surprisingly close second is the hefty turkey burger topped with jalapeños, Jack cheese and green-tomatillo sausage. It's impossible to eat only a little of the creamy crumb-topped mac and cheese made with Cheddar, Fontina and Parmesan. Chef Luke Desanctis expertly deploys the original locally famous Old Fields steak marinade recipe in his tender skirt steak, served with arugula and shaved Parmesan. Roasted half chicken, offered as a special, is partially boned, moist and well burnished. One wintry night, a Guinness beef stew with root vegetables proves soul warming.
I'm wild about the pumpkin pancakes at brunch; they're hearty yet airy-light, served with caramelized bananas.
For dessert, it's hard to do better than a brownie sundae presented in a big Mason jar and garlanded with drifts of freshly whipped cream.
NOT BAD, BUT ...
Popcorn chicken is straightforward but boring. I wish the Cobb salad were more artistically presented instead of pre-tossed. The veggie burger with artichoke spread and tomato tastes fine, but it's a bit mushy. And the fries (previously frozen wedges of skin-on potato) are not in the same league as everything else.
Both Elvis and Ike would like this place. As do I.