Nothing Sad About The
By Danny & Alexander/
Some things change over time, but one thing has not
make the Blue Room a top stop on your list if you want to
eat well in East Northport, especially if you love seafood.
The Blue Room, commandeered by Anastasia Barbatsoulis and
chef Nicholas Litterello, has been a fixture on Larkfield
Road for four and a half years. What was once a vacant sports
bar has become a cozy, inviting space awash in regal, rich
navy blues, exposed brick and wood floors. Lighting comes
from the abundant windows, skylights and a curved metallic
track, which runs the length of the ceiling and has lights
fixed to it. It feels like a music-drenched jazz den of years
gone by, as it should: Anastasia sings on Sunday nights, and
the Little Wilson band performs on Wednesdays. Also worth
noting is Sundays $25 prix fixe special.
When we opened the worn, blue door and walked through the
blue curtains, we were greeted by Gladys Knight and the Pips
as we emerged into a wonderfully welcoming space. Its
not big at capacity, it seats about 50. Its cozy,
well-lit and charming, aptly earning the title of foodhouse.
For the record, its also the first restaurant, coffee
shop anyplace, for that matter weve heard
Stevie Wonders You Havent Done Nothin
an angry, funky protest song about Richard Nixon
playing. The music comes from the staffs iPods and covers
funk, classic R&B and the blues.
The menu has been affected in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike
we were eyeballing the popcorn crawfish ($8) but many
restaurants have been unable to get crawfish and redfish.
Presentation is perhaps one of The Blue Rooms strongest
suits. When the situation calls for it, the food is cleverly
presented in a manner appropriate to the dish. For example,
fried rock shrimp ($9 is) is served in a jaunty miniature
fry basket, and the Asian-glazed takeout shrimp served in
a white Chinese takeaway-style dish with chopsticks ($9).
And, the flavors that create the dishes dont overwhelm
the food they complement them and make it shine. Nick
sure has a way with his spices, and a quick or, in
our case, fairly thorough jaunt across the menu uncovers
that fact in a hurry.
After considering a jumbo lump crab cake ($12) and the takeout
shrimp, we started with the rock shrimp and farmers
salad ($9). The crispy, tender, lightly salted shrimp are
served alongside chipotle and citrus aioli dipping sauces.
The chipotle is tangy and savory without having that get-me-a-fire-extinguisher
quality many associate with chipotle, while the aioli, with
its zesty lemon kick, is a perfect complement to the dish.
At first blush, the farmers salad showcases lush, fresh
greens bathed lightly in a sweet, gentle dressing that enhances,
rather than dominates, the salad. However, a bit of digging
and eating will uncover a flaky, buttery custard tart that
evokes thoughts of croissants. Its filled with a rich
layer of crumbed goats cheese. In addition, the butternut
squash soup ($8), marked by its delightful cinnamon flavor,
is an excellent, seasonal choice to chase away any forthcoming
Moving to the main course, the pan-seared filet mignon ($33),
baby back ribs ($23) and Australian rack of lamb ($34) were
all contenders in the entrée battle royale. A raw bar,
featuring selections from Long Island, Nova Scotia and the
west coast, was also tempting. But, the ravioli of the day
($21) and Cajun cast-iron catfish ($21) emerged victorious.
The melt-in-your-mouth catfish, served in a black skillet-styled
dish, is marked by its subtle, yet sultry spice and a warm
crispy exterior. The phenomenal sweet potato mash it comes
with has a sweet, poignant flavor, and the warm, leafy greens
are marked by a garlic flavor. Anastasia describes it as her
go-to dish when shes having trouble making a decision.
In terms of our ravioli, our selection featured spinach, shrimp
and ricotta cheese, creating a delightful smoky flavor. It
was served in a mix containing artichoke, sliced nuts and
tomato, creating a flavorful, savory broth.
The tender, slightly blackened diver sea scallops ($24) are
also a top contender, served on a cinnamon-flavored bed of
granny smith apples and butternut squash.
In the dessert column, consider the zeppolis ($7, serves two),
which are served festival-style in a brown paper bag. The
hot, moist balls of fried, powdered sugar goodness come with
chocolate, blueberry and caramel dips. Try it with one of
the Blue Rooms delightful cappuccinos, served with cinnamon
and rock sugar on a stirrer. If youre a tea person,
the English Chamomile tea, served in a tall, thick teapot,
is a good choice for a soothing nightcap.
However, a trip to the Blue Room is not complete without taking
a crack at Nicks Cheesecake ($8). When we took a bite
of the rich caramel-dressed confection and savored the crispy
crust, we, two fairly loquacious young lads, were rendered
momentarily mute. After the first bite, we responded to the
other with a nod, unable to process a more erudite verbal
response. Its that good. Get the cheesecake.
The Blue Room
Cuisine: New American with a southern flair
Atmosphere: Bluesy, hospitable, cozy
Price: Medium to expensive
Hours: Monday to Thursday,
4:30 10 p.m.
Friday & Saturday
4:30 - 11 p.m.
Sunday 4:30 to 9 p.m.