(Chef Anthony Bynum is no longer cooking at this restaurant.)
Tellers always has been a first-class steakhouse. New chef Marc Anthony Bynum makes it an excellent restaurant: a destination where the stellar food at last rivals the dramatic setting.
Tellers, of course, is housed in the three-story, renovated stone building that, in 1927, opened as the First National Bank of Islip. Visiting still is an investment, but one with a real return. Bynum arrived in autumn. He'd been a chef at Prime in Huntington, also owned by the Bohlsen family, and at Rookies Sports Club in Huntington. The Farmingdale-born chef is a star here - and he earns Tellers three.
Bynum prepares a vivid, coral-hued lobster bisque and a smoky, wintry split pea-with-ham soup. He's equally at ease with sushi and sashimi, sending out a spirited "tornado" roll with spicy tuna and scallions wrapped in fried potato scales; and rich samplers of uncooked fish. Tellers' shellfish cocktails stay superior. You also can start with juicy baby back ribs, Cajun rock shrimp with Cheddar-cheese grits or crab cakes with spicy mango sauce. Bynum expertly pan-sears striped bass, updates sesame-seared tuna, and livens up the adroitly spiced, pan-fried "millennium" lobster popular at Prime and at H2O in Smithtown, another Bohlsen restaurant. The elemental Tellers: juicy porterhouse for two, rack of lamb and the namesake bone-in rib eye, an epic encounter with red meat. The delectable steaks from "boutique ranches" Painted Hills, Copper Ridge and Meyer add to the eatery's basic appeal. So do the classic sides, from creamed spinach and whipped potatoes to mac 'n cheese and hash browns. End with a root beer float - or vintage Port.
Cheesecake and crème brûlée are standard. And Jameson whiskey underscores why zabaglione usually calls for Marsala.
THE BOTTOM LINE
In a very hard year, very good news. --Reviewed by Peter M. Gianotti.
Brunch: Serves an a la carte brunch that includes, in the entree price, a Bloody Mary, Bellini or mimosa, as well as an assortment of house-baked breads and muffins. Prices range from $12 for eggs with sausage or bacon to $28 for steak and eggs.