A Year Of Dining In Huntington
By The Foodies/ firstname.lastname@example.org
2009 was full of surprises for Huntingtons culinary
world. We bid farewell to some old friends, said hello to
a few new ones, and sought out some of the best deals in town.
We also embarked on the Towns first Restaurant Week
to showcase all that the Little Apple has to offer.
The result? A year of new adventures in the foodie business.
New Kids On The Block
Huntington welcomed several new restaurants to town this year,
with Blond and Porto Vivo and La Bottega in Huntington village
among the ranks.
Less than seven months old, Blond (335 Main St., Huntington
www.blondrestaurant.com) boasts a New American menu incorporating
strong flavors like wasabi, pesto and goat cheese masterfully
used by Blonds chefs. Approachable but sleek, the restaurant
is warm and inviting, with carpeting, a fireplace, tables
and fancy booths against walls of creams and wine colors.
The work of owner and executive chef Sam Nelovic and head
chef Seth Sloan, our favorite dishes included yellow fin tuna
tar-tar, served raw atop a crispy wonton square, and sautéed
chicken breast Napoleon with vegetable ratatouille, roasted
tomatoes, goat cheese and herb chicken demi.
And who can leave Blond without dessert? The fried Oreo shot
stole our hearts, simply for the uniqueness of it. An Oreo
cookie dipped in batter and fried, it is served atop a shot
glass of milk. Its small, its delicious, its
$2 its perfect.
Since opening at the end of August, Porto Vivo (7 Gerard St.,
Huntington 631-385-8486 www.porto-vivo.com) has established
itself as a deserving contender on the Huntington hot list,
with an Italian menu designed to give guests freedom of economic
choice (entrees range from $14 to $48). Owned by Joy Mangano
of Home Shopping Network fame and her Swiss-born, European-kitchen-trained
son-in-law, Philipp Seipelt, the restaurants stunning,
multi-level contemporary interior has made a former antiques
warehouse inviting, and a host of celebrity sightings
from Billy Joel to Serena Williams to chef Todd English
have made for plenty of buzz.
At a Chefs Table food and wine experience
showcasing the kitchens creativity, executive chef Steven
Lecchi and consulting chef John Doherty presented a warm,
roasted butternut squash flan flavored with garlic and porcini
mushroom theatrically served in an eggshell, and the star:
a single Blue Point Oyster topped with an icy pomegranate
granite. Coriander and orange dusted venison tenderloin and
braised venison short ribs were delightful.
La Bottega (9 Wall St., Huntington 631-271-3540) boasts 68
panini, but thats far from the whole show. Greenlawns
Joe Quirke co-owns the Huntington location with his wife Phyllis,
Raymond Polito and his wife Rose. Entrees, salads and pasta
dishes are generous and tasty, making this a great stop.
Café Buenos Aires (23 Wall St., Huntington 631-603-3600
www.cafe buenosaires.net) is where food and culture converge
in an experience that can be described as exotic, delicious,
unique and enticing. The face of the restaurant is Argentina-born
Hugo Garcia, whom we like to call Huntingtons unofficial
With a glass of sangria in hand, we love the corn empanadas,
grilled lobster and filet of anything inside a puffed pastry
over risotto. The four-cheese fondue with bread and assorted
meat skewers is definitely a dish to order at the bar with
friends. A crepe filled with dulce de leche from Argentina
served with bananas is a standout dessert.
La Spada (315 Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station 631-549-3033
www.laspadarestaurant.com) is not your typical Italian restaurant.
With a portion of the menu dedicated to grilled specialties
and an emphasis on fresh and simple, the restaurant
caters to those seeking a high-end Italian dining experience.
Owned by Joe Tamburello, of East Northport, and his partner,
chef Emilio Valle, the restaurants stars include bruschetta,
Arrosticini - grilled lamb shiskabobs and a pork chop
topped with spinach and gorgonzola.
Five Guys Burgers and Fries (350 Rte. 110, Huntington Station
631-271-4144 www.fiveguys.com) brings big juicy burgers to
town in a jiffy. The portions are ample and affordable, and
despite your good intentions to have just one
fry, it aint happening. A regular burger ($4.39 - $5.79)
comes with two patties sandwiched between a roll with all
the fixings your little heart desires; if its one patty
youre craving, ask for a little burger ($3.29
- $4.29.) We go for a regular cheeseburger with grilled onions,
mushrooms and barbecue sauce. The fries are crispy, salty
and savory while keeping that all-important potato flavor
in the skin-on morsels.
We also enjoy Fazs Tex-Mex Grills (38 Gerard St.,
Huntington 631-271-4333 www.faztexmex.com) sizable Tex-Mex
pizzas, and Northport Feed and Grains (73 Main St.,
Northport Village, 631-651-2684 http://feedandgrainnorthport.com)
promise of a good meal at a good price, the $14.95 lobster
and mussels special and the Feed & Grain Burger.
Jonathans (15 Wall St., Huntington 631-549-0055 www.jonathansristorante.
com) will always be one of our favorite places. We revisited
the restaurant many times this year to enjoy owner Roberto
Oronato and executive chef Tito Onofres masterpieces.
As the ristorante in the name implies, the 15-year-old
restaurants menu is rooted in Italian cuisine. Our must
order is the Fritto di carciofini tender baby
artichokes sautéed in basil oil. Stars among the entrees
include the Risotto ai Funghi, a delicate preparation of Italian
Arborio rice balanced with earthy mushrooms and truffle oil;
Salmon con Favetta, a hunk of gamey-tasting Scottish salmon
atop a pile of favetta, escarole and lemon citronette; and
Capesante e Carciofini, a trio of seared jumbo scallops with
those sautéed baby artichokes and string beans.
At Bravo Nader (9 Union Place, Huntington 631-3351-1200 www.bravo
nader.com), chef / owner Nader Gebrins idea of a great
meal is to catch a fish in the morning and cook it for dinner
that same day. It happens often enough and when it isnt
Gebrin hooking the fish, its one of his network of local
fishermen. As far as were concerned, fish, pigs, beef,
even lowly vegetables, can consider it an honor to pass through
the kitchen at Bravo Nader. The pork chops that started his
career are still stars on the menu. The crab cake is a generous
patty of fresh crab meat with a crisp baked, not fried
coating and served on a bed or it is bath
of fresh tomato, corn and vegetable compote. A hearty lamb
shank is expertly spiced and cooked to falling-off-the-bone
tenderness, while a classic seafood fra diavlolo over angel
hair pasta offers the fruits of the seas in there finest form.