A Restrospective For The Foodies’ Anniversary
By Pete and Mike/ email@example.com
It’s been six months since we introduced
the Foodie Section to our newspapers, to bring readers news
and reviews of the food world in what we consider to be the
restaurant capital of Long Island. Our six month-Foodie journey
has been both exciting and enlightening. Like all students
of food, we are constantly tasting, trying and learning. It’s
been an education from day one.
To mark our anniversary, we thought it would be an excellent
time to taste some of the highlights of our Foodie half-year.
We’ve consciously made an effort to sample many different
styles of cooking from every corner of the town — we’ve
even ventured outside of town. We’ve tasted some of
the best that Huntington has to offer, from home style cooking
to haute cuisine, from ethnic to American, and in every price
range. The loosely organized sampler that follows highlights
the most memorable of our experiences. Fellow foodies undoubtebly
will have opinions of your own.
IN THE BEGINNING…
…there was Tom Schaudel.
Long Island’s version of New York City celebrity chef
Mario Batali, Schaudel had recently brought his Cheffie version
of a Midas touch to Finley’s of Greene Street, which,
until their collaborative Rockfish (34 Green
Street, Huntington 631-351-3440) opened, was best know for
a near-infinite variety of beers. We knew that by introducing
our Foodie section with a Rockfish review, we were starting
high upon the food chain. His exploration of the undersea
world brought unexpected pairings to our plates. (“Who
would think to put together mangoes and tuna?” we asked.)
Rockfish spanned the globe in a single swoop with its Kung
Po Calamari, and the voodoo sauce that accompanied our tender
catfish was as memorable for its taste as it was for its name.
It wasn’t until we visited Trattoria Grasso
(134 Main Street, Cold Spring Harbor 631-367-6060) that we
learned that the true Foodie experience involves all the senses.
Our meal at Grasso, as Gail now calls the restaurant, was
a memorable confluence that satisfied all the senses: taste
through Chef Tony Canales’ sophisticated artistry; touch
through his attention to texture; smell through – well,
it goes without saying; sight by the warm décor; and
hearing by way of resident musical director Ernie Byrd’s
talented performance as part of a jazz trio. We’re anxious
to return and see how renovations that were underway in spring
turned out, and what the new menu brings.
We can’t mention the northern Italian experience without
jumping directly to Jonathan’s (15
Wall Street, Huntington 631-549-0055) where owner Roberto
Oronato has for years earned high marks from critics and repeat
visits from customers. We quickly learned why. The success
of Jonathan’s could easily be due to the menu alone
– but we attributed it to that “perfect storm”
of factors – food, ambience, attentive wait staff and
that all important comfort factor. Oronato guided us through
a remarkable evening with a signature gentle touch. His comfortable
restaurant reflects his own warmth, and his menu reflects
a lifelong love of food and an approach that’s both
serious and playful. Ahi tuna eaters, we tried a blackened
yellow fin served with a complex avocado compote that offset
the subtle heat of the blackened tuna. Another surprise –
pumpkin ravioli with butter and sage was sprinkled with Amaretto
cookie dust — was pure magic.
Our Foodie spirits also soared on one of our ventures out
of town to The Mansion at the Woodlands (1
Southwoods Road, Woodbury 516-921-5707), where owner H. Singh
has given Chef David Salony an elegant setting in which to
practice his art. It’s worth a visit just to enjoy a
meal in a Gold Coast mansion; it’s Salony’s artistry
that will have you coming back. It was there we discovered
Diver Scallops (served with toasted gnocchi and a foie gras
corn emulsion and white truffle oil. Wow!
The Foodies’ year had so many high points it’s
difficult to list them.
We discovered how much culinary artistry one can pack into
an intimate setting at Katherine Catenzaro’s
Restaurant Mazzi (493 E. Jericho Tpke, Huntington
631-421-3390). Her Veal Involitini combined prosciutto, Asiago
cheese, a Shitaki mushroom Marsala wine sauce and buttered
We were dazzled by just how high the culinary bar can go at
Aix En Provence (134 New York Avenue, Huntington
631-549-3338), where an eight-course tasting menu called the
Foodies’ name. There the foie gras flies high, but it
was the Duckling Comfit – an elaborately prepared French
specialty – that put this spot in a class by itself.
We also discovered a playfully hip hideaway at The
Blue Room (93 Larkfield Road, East Northport, 631-261-5761).
Anastasia Barbatsoulis and Nicholas Litterello earned a rave
for their charming atmosphere, skillful cooking and playful
presentation (try the Popcorn Crawfish) and impeccable musical
selections. We added our own accolades to the New York Times’
Equally high up on both the musical and culinary scales is
Huntington’s Solo (15 Wall Street,
Huntington 631-549-0055), a hoppin’ hip spot that caters
to varied tastes, satisfying all.
Huntington made it onto the Island’s steakhouse map
with the opening of Mac’s Steakhouse
(12 Gerard Street, Huntington 631-549-5300) early this year.
An impeccably detailed creation of Fabio Machado, Piero Casalicchio
and their Restar restaurant group, which includes such well-known
eateries as Bistro Cassis, Bistro Citron, Pomodoro and Pomodorino.
Memorable for, well, its steaks (one Foodie recalls fondly
the cowboy cut rib eye), Mac’s excels in atmosphere,
service, and were told, a wine list that rivals the best.
Don’t think the Foodies only head uptown to eat. Our
six months have included numerous stops in the more affordable
range. Our reviewers sampled most of the menu at Canterbury
Ales (314 New York Avenue, Huntington 631-549-4404)
– something most residents have spent half a lifetime
doing – but were taken with the comfortable English
Pub atmosphere created by owner Billy Hoest and his crew.
Likewise, Commack’s Jackson’s
(6005 Jericho Turnpike, Commack 631-462-0822)- the new incarnation
of Blue Oyster Grille, was as fun as a candy store, with an
equally playful approach to cooking. Also high up on the “fun”
scale, Northport’s Sea Shanty was a
great place to visit.
For down home flavors, the Foodies turned their sights toward
local legend Juanita Cooke’s Cooke’s Inn
(767 New York Avenue, Huntington 631-424-2181), and the newly
opened Hog House Barbeque (200 West Jericho
Turnpike, Huntington Station 631-271-2400), where ribs and
southern style barbeque reign.
The Foodies charted the ethnic food map as well, stopping
to give three “kampais” – Japanese for “cheers,”
to Huntington’s least-kept sushi secret Kura
Barn (479 New York Avenue, Huntington 631-673-0060);
to party at the festive Viva Juan (441 East
Main Street, Centerport 631-261-2851); and dining like sultan’s
at Sitar (665 West Jericho Turnpike, Huntington 631-271-8600).
We explored the strictly American fare at Gary Cicerello’s
Indigo American Grille (70 Gerard Street, Huntington
631-424-7757) and are looking forward to see equal culinary
successes in the soon-to-be-introduced all new menu. (Remember,
you heard it here first.)
MORE TO COME
The good news is that the Foodies have only scratched the
surface. While 25 weeks of restaurant reviews have given –
we think – a fairly thorough overview of some of the
dining experiences out there for food fans, we’re the
first to realize that we’ve only just begun. We know
that for every restaurant we’ve enjoyed, there are dozens
more we haven’t tried. New menus are being introduced;
chefs are exploring new cuisines and experimenting to bring
new experiences to your palate.
We’re looking forward to see what experiences the next
half a year brings. Keep your suggestions coming by e-mailing
firstname.lastname@example.org; read past reviews on our website
longislandernews.com; and when you dine out… tell them
The Foodies sent you.