Prix Fixe Lunch Is An Affordable Intro
By Peter Sloggatt
The holiday season is approaching and for many that means
a busy social calendar. If a midday meal fit into your schedule,
many restaurants offer a prix fixe menu at lunchtime that
gives the serious foodie an opportunity to enjoy a top rate
dining experience at diner prices.
Few restaurants are filled to capacity during lunchtime hours,
and many restaurant owners see the prix fixe menu not just
as a way to fill seats that might otherwise remain unoccupied,
but also as a way to entice diners back for the dinnertime
experience. Here’s a sampling of three prime dining
spots that offer a prix fixe menu for lunch. An Internet search
will turn up many more.
In addition to a deal on lunch, daytime diners at 105 Harbor
(105 Harbor Road, Cold Spring Harbor, 631-367-3166) get an
added bonus – the beautiful view. During winter months
when the sun sets early, evening-time diners don’t get
to enjoy the spectacular harborfront vista. Thanks to a $20
prix fixe menu, lunchtime patrons get to enjoy not only the
view, but also an affordable version of a celebrated dining
The prix fixe menu offers a soup, salad or appetizer, choice
of four entrees plus dessert and coffee or tea for $20 per
person, weekdays. Choose from a mixed field green salad, soup
of the day, rigatoni ala vodka or 105’s famous baked
clams to start. (Even salad fans may want to go for the plump,
just caught whole baked clams.) For the main course, choose
from roast Atlantic salmon, chicken parmesan, veal marsala
or medallions of filet mignon. Follow it up with dessert of
the day and enjoy the view.
105’s regular lunch menu is also available, including
the famed lobster bisque ($9) and this Foodie’s favorite
— crab cakes on tropical fruit salsa ($12) – among
the appetizers. Sandwiches range from a hamburger on a brioch
($11) to honey barbeque chicken wrap ($12) and grilled steak
sandwich ($16). Pasta entrees are also available ($12 to $18).
Across town a northern Italian standout Ruvo (63 Broadway,
Greenlawn 631-261-7700) attracts a loyal lunchtime crowd with
an extensive prix fixe lunch at $18 per person. Ingredient-driven
Ruvo’s creative approach extends to the pre fixe menu.
Diners choose from escarole and white bean soup or soup of
the day, or salad of organic greens with shave romano, or
hearts of romaine Caesar. Ten entrée offerings include
some Ruvo favorites: grilled chicken Milanese, salmon over
greens with saffron aioli; sole oreganata with Roma tomatoes;
and North Shore clams over linguini.
Add in dessert – chocolate mousse cake, tartufo, tiramisu,
cannoli or biscotti with coffee or tea, and the Ruvo experience
is yours for little more than the price of an appetizer.
One of the best bargains in town is the prix fixe lunch at
the famed Panama Hatties (872 E. Jericho Turnpike, Huntington
Station 631-351-1727). Panama Hatties was catapulted to the
restaurant A-list during the early 1990s through its creative
cookery, and current owner Matt Hisiger upholds the tradition
of fine food, excellent service and elegant surroundings.
The prix fixe lunch offers an opportunity to enjoy them all
at a surprisingly affordable $21 per person (or twenty-one
dollars, to adopt the formalism of the menu). Lunch is served
in the front room at Hattie’s, which is brighter and
– in my book — more comfortable.
First course is soup of the day or: salad of mixed greens
with Hatties’ special golden raisin vinaigrette; baby
hearts of romaine salad; goat cheese ravioli with whit truffle
bullion; or Arborio crusted diver scallops. The diver scallops
is all I can recommend because that’s what I order.
For the second course, choose from grilled pork loin, pasta
of the day, seared organic salmon with a fruity nectarine
marmalade, truffle-stuffed organic chicken, or the tropical-influenced
lump crabmeat salad, with plaintain mash, fruit relish and
a coconut aioli.
So there you have it. Three of the town’s finest restaurants
at a ballpark $20 a head. The service, the surroundings and
yes, even the food… it’s the same as the dinner
hour, though portions are adjusted for lunchtime appetites.
But as a way to introduce yourself to some of the finest restaurants
in town, the prix fixe lunch is unbeatable.