The Grill Room
160 Adams Ave. Hauppauge, NY 631-436-7330
The Grill Room seems more refreshing and easygoing at lunch, more studied and excitable at dinner. It will depend on your mood. But you should expect an enjoyable meal anytime.Hours: Dinner six days, from 4 p.m. Monday to Friday and 5 p.m. Saturday; lunch, Monday to Friday, from 11:30 a.m. Weekend reservations recommended. Ambience: Good Service: Very Good Reservations: Accepted Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: Y Notable dishes: Crab cake, duck tostada, sesame-crusted tuna, braised short ribs
The Grill Room still turns up the heat. Under chef Miguel Berrios, the 16-year-old upbeat New American restaurant keeps dinner lively and lunch on target. The hard-surface dining room does get noisy, and you'll immediately know everyone is having a very good time, especially during Saturday night's live jazz. The office-park corridor where The Grill Room is situated does become easier on the eyes after dark. Inside the modern, streamlined look and the friendly, no-nonsense approach are appealing come-ons. What really will attract you, however, is Berrios' sure hand with dishes both traditional and not-so. Berrio succeeded late chef Hal Goldman four years ago. And his idea of fusion works. Get ready for both the aioli and the hoisin.
First-rate starters include the sharp duck tostada, backed by mango salsa, black beans and chipotle-flavored aioli; and the hoisin-glazed, hibachi-seared baby back ribs. The chilled shellfish plateau, briny and pristine, is a minimalist's pleasure, with bluepoints, littlenecks, crabmeat and shrimp. Veer Asian with the lobster-and-crab spring roll, finished with a drizzle of wasabi and ponzu sauces. Continue with the chicken lettuce wrap, a riff on chicken Soong with a soy-hoisin glaze and cilantro aioli. Even better: a special with spicy swordfish given the lettuce-wrap treatment. Tomato aioli is the foil for the house's meaty crabcake, which is accompanied by potato-and-corn salad. The Black Angus strip steak is fibrous, juicy, excellent; the filet mignon, very tender. The red-wine braised short ribs also are recommended. And Berrio sends out a moist, toasty, satisfying paella alla Valenciana, with shellfish, chicken and chorizo sausage. Conclude with a professional crème brûlée or cheesecake.
Dry grilled pork tenderloin; chewy marinated skirt steak; standard sesame-crusted tuna, boosted a bit by black rice; routine "Old World" meatloaf and chicken quesadilla; tired shrimp "two ways;" dull pastas; limp apple crisp.
THE BOTTOM LINE