Swallow Masters The Small
By Peter Sloggatt./ firstname.lastname@example.org
Its a bird. Its a verb. As a name for a restaurant,
Swallow has a certain edge to it which is right where
owner/chef Jimmy Tchinnis likes to be.
Tchinnis and his wife, Julie, opened Swallow last October
in the former Kozy Kettle space on New York Avenue after a
months-long search for a home. The tiny restaurant (between
a half-dozen seats at the bar and a handful of tables, Swallow
seats under two dozen people) occupies a space under the façade
of the Paramount Theater and Tchinnis is banking on the audiences
that the venue will bring to jumpstart his restaurant. In
the few months Swallow has been open, though, Tchinnis has
been attracting a steady flow of fans by, pardon the pun,
word of mouth alone.
Swallow serves small plates those servings somewhere
between appetizer size and entree which suits his growing
fan club just fine. This Foodies favorite seat is at
the bar, closest to the window-front grill at the front of
the house where Tchinnis creates refreshing and new taste
combinations. Half the fun is watching the chef at work as
he speeds about his small workspace, raising the occasional
big flame from the grill, pots and pans clattering, before
turning his full focus to plating his creations.
And they are creations. Although Tchinnis has a soft spot
for comfort food, his dishes often have an element of surprise.
The one that keeps me going back is his butternut squash soup
with cappuccino and truffle froth. The rich and creamy squash
soup is a tummy-warming treat flavored with a hint of coffee.
The truffle flavor has an earthy depth, and while that coffee-flavor
brings an element of surprise, it tastes so right youll
find yourself wondering why youve never had it before.
Its that way with a lot of dishes at Swallow.
Tchinnis makes a killer mac and cheese. Flavored with orzo,
its rich and cheesy, like mac and cheese ought to be.
A regular on the constantly changing menu, filet mignon kebabs
($12) are skewered chunks of tender filet, simply grilled,
but that tomato jam will have you coming back. Fried calamari
a reliable benchmark on which any restaurants
cookery can reliably be gauged are among the best Ive
had. Tchinnis calamari ($12) are soaked overnight in
milk to sweeten and tenderize, tossed in a chopped peanut
and chili lime glaze and lightly fried. Crispy, sweet, just
Another seafood specialty is steamed mussels ($12)
tender mussels in a light broth rich with fennel and garlic
flavors. The braised short ribs ($12) are a classic, savory
and sweet. Fall-off-the-bone tender with a somewhat smoky
flavor, the ribs are complemented by a red onion marmalade.
Ive been watching for a pulled pork sandwich, and so
was excited to see a recent addition to the menu: chicken
and waffles ($12), featuring a smoky maybe bourbony
pulled barbeque chicken on a crisp, freshly made waffle
with a tangy, sweet slaw. I might prefer it on a roll, but
Tchinnis interpretation of a southern classic was spot
Tchinnis trained in the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan
and was a founding partner of Bistro 44 in Northport. His
mastery of the small plate concept perhaps comes from the
time spent as chef at Bin 56, not far from his present restaurant.
Im not generally a fan of small plates, yet I am here
because it offers me an opportunity to try so many different
dishes. I also enjoy mixing and matching off the menu; its
as close as Ill ever come to being a chef.
Swallow welcomes the BYOB crowd and will happily pour whatever
vintage you bring. Desserts are housemade, the espresso outstanding,
and the entire experience both intimate and satisfying. Reservations
are a must. Just tell Jimmy a little birdie told you
366 New York Avenue, Huntington