Black & Blue's New Chef Makes Changes

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Black and Blue restaurant has been a staple of the Huntington village dining scene, but a new chef is looking to add his own personal touch to the menu.

For just over two month chef John Brill has been at the helm of Black and Blue’s kitchen, and already the chef, who has worked in kitchens alongside the likes of Bobby Flay, has injected new items and new life into the menu.

Brill, whose culinary background includes seafood restaurants like Fish on Main in Port Washington, has placed a strong emphasis on fresh ingredients and achieving consistency.

While Black and Blue’s menu still has plenty of the traditional chophouse dishes, Brill said his cooking doesn’t necessarily “follow the words on the awning.”

“It’s different from the previous chefs,” Brill said. “We are making a lot of very fresh seafood.”

In addition to more seafood, Brill said the restaurant has added some more casual items to the menu, including new pasta dishes.

The goal of the new menu is to “broaden horizons,” Brill said, and he praised the skill and dedication of the kitchen staff that he has brought on board at Black and Blue to help him implement the menu changes.

The flavor profile of the dishes at Black and Blue speaks for itself, but Brill’s attention to detail when planning the aesthetics of each plate means that each leaves the kitchen as a work of art.

“The way to compete in a restaurant market like Huntington’s is by offering the best quality we can,” Brill said.

That quality is evident from top to bottom on Black and Blue’s new menu.

Starters include Iron Skillet Meatballs ($12) featuring beef and pork meatballs, fresh ricotta cheese and red sauce. The casual appetizer option does not sacrifice flavor for simplicity, and the dish offers a hearty, tasty start to the meal.

The Baked Clams Oreganata ($10) is served with a lemon chardonnay sauce, and provides an approachable, classic seafood dish with a buttery flavor that even the strictest carnivores can appreciate.

An interesting take on another seafood classic is the Thai Style Calamari ($14) served with scallions, cilantro, peanuts, sesame seeds and sweet red chili. The crispy calamari packs a nice amount of heat without overpowering the Asian flavors from the peanuts and sesame that help to provide a good balance to the dish.

The Truffled Lobster Mac and Cheese ($16) featuring butter poached lobster, fontina, cheddar and smoked gouda cheeses and herb bread crumbs is deliciously decadent. The lobster elevates this creamy dish that will have your mouth watering before the first bite.

The range of menu items also includes a Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Flatbread ($15) with Italian sausage, garlic braised broccoli rabe, fresh mozzarella, olive oil and cured tomatoes. The thin crust of the flatbread has a nice crunch, and is big enough for the table to share.

The Fish Tacos ($11) feature crispy cod, fresh guacamole, jalapeno, cabbage slaw and mango salsa. The fresh fish pairs well with the spice from the jalapeno and the refreshing slaw for a nice summertime dish.

Black and Blue’s seafood entrees include a Signature Salmon ($28) that features Atlantic salmon with a crusting of lobster breading, crushed fingerling potatoes, sautéed spinach and truffle butter sauce. The beautiful piece of fish is cooked well and the truffle butter sauce will ensure that you finish every last bite on the plate.

The Nori Dusted Yellowfin Tuna ($30) exemplifies Brill’s attention to detail in the kitchen. The tuna is served rare with chilled noodles, arugula, shiitake mushrooms, cucumbers, carrots and a sesame ginger vinaigrette. The dish is full of color, from the perfectly rare tuna to the ring of crunchy cucumbers, and the Asian flavors provide a brightness to match the presentation.

Another example of Brill’s commitment to highlighting seafood is the Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops ($34) served with sweet corn vegetable risotto, sautéed spinach and lobster cream sauce. The sauce ties the dish together and provides a creamy compliment to the sautéed seafood.

Lastly, the Filet Mignon ($36) shows that Black and Blue still maintains part of its chophouse roots. The perfectly medium rare steak is served with whipped potatoes, seasonal vegetables and a red wine reduction. The beautiful cut of meat is yet another example of the well-rounded menu that customers can choose from at the revitalized “Seafood Chophouse.”

Brill and his talented staff execute the new and classic items on Black and Blue’s menu with the consistency and care that these fresh ingredients deserve.

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Black and Blue Seafood Chophouse
65 Wall Street, Huntington 631-385-9255 Blackandbluehuntington.com  
Cuisine: Seafood Chophouse
Atmosphere: Casual and intimate
Prices: Appetizers: $8-$16;
Entrees: $23-$44
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Start The Presses: NY Panini Celebrates 10 Years

NY Panini is still reinventing itself after a decade on Huntington's Wall Street.

By Peter Sloggatt
psloggatt@longislandergroup.com

New York Panini is celebrating its 10th anniversary by doing what they’ve done best all along. They’re reinventing themselves.

When Joe Quirke, a retired NYPD cop from Greenlawn, and his wife, Phyllis, opened the Huntington village take-out spot a decade ago, it was under the La Bottega name. Not quite a franchise, but an independently owned part of a small chain of successful eateries, the restaurant found its groove on Wall Street with a hot-off-the-presses menu of made-to-order Panini and salad offerings that was a hit with lunchtime crowds and folks looking for a fast dinner on the go.

But the constraints of working under someone else’s rules eventually became too much and the family-owned business and its corporate parent went their separate ways, bringing about the first of several reinventions.

Under a new name, New York Panini, the storefront eatery has flourished and continually tickled and tweaked everything from its menu to the décor to way they serve your meal. And the addition of Joe and Phyliss’ son Chris to the management team a few years back has only accelerated that process.

Chris Quirke was a veteran of the food industry when he joined the team a few years back. He started as manager with the food concession at Nassau Coliseum, later helped launch Shake Shack at Citifield, and did a stint with the guys that run New York City-based Union Square Café. After leaving for Florida to attend college, Chris came home to join the family business.

He’s spiced things up, both literally and figuratively.

On the menu side, his preferences for spicy fare and a tendency to tinker with the menu offerings produced some new hits, starting with the Brooklyn ($9.95), a rustic roll stuffed with spicy hot sausage, fresh mozzarella, hot peppers and grilled red onions. Mostly a creation of “the guys in the kitchen,” the sandwich was a hit. So too were additions like the Buffalo ($11.75), comprised of chicken cutlet, bacon, fresh mozzarella, red onion, red peppers and classic buffalo sauce with ranch or blue cheese dressing. And the next big hit, “coming soon,” says Chris, will be the Fuggediboutit combining a spicy breaded cutlet, homemade spicy mayo, pepper jack cheese and sriracha peppers.

The introduction of wraps to the menu also took a happy collaborative change when, after tinkering with the sandwich contents in the kitchen, “my guy says we’re throwing it on the grill, right?” Chris said, adding that customers are enjoying the lightly grilled wraps.

The menu spans seafood, pork, beef, Italian cured meats and beef, in addition to chicken, with a healthy dose of vegetarian options as well. Fresh meats, cheeses, vegetables and sauces in tantalizing combinations on ciabata or krispina, come off the Panini press with efficiency. Nearly three dozen salad options ($6.95 to $15.95), pasta dishes made to order ($13.50 to $20.95), and appetizer favorites ($3 to $11.25) round out the menu. Family-friendly New York Panini offers a kids menu ($3.25 to $8.45) as well.

The ever-evolving restaurant recently launched a new project that extends the food day well into the night. After a few weeks of construction on the back patio area, and a few nights of soft opening, New York Panini has gone late night. From 8-11 p.m., Thursday through Saturday nights, patrons can stop by to enjoy live entertainment, beer on tap from Sand City Brewery, as well as late night snacks like the newly introduced Gnarly Fries, a basket of spicy chicken strips, Cajun fries with spicy sauce named in honor of local band Gnarly Kharma.

The band plays Aug. 4, offering a chance to have your music, and eat it too.

 

THE DETAILS
New York Panini: 9 Wall Street, Huntington 631-271-3540 nypanini.com
Cuisine: Fast, casual
Prices: Appetizers: $6.75-$11.95; Pastas: $13.50-20.95; Salads: $6.95 to $15.95 Panini: $8.50-$12.75

SIDE DISH: Prix-Fixe At Jonathan's, Brunch For Early Birds, Porterhouse For 2

  Jonathan's Ristorante offers a $35 Summer  prix fixe  menu that you can enjoy on their new patio.

Jonathan's Ristorante offers a $35 Summer prix fixe menu that you can enjoy on their new patio.

Summertime Deals…
Jonathan’s Ristorante
(15 Wall Street, Huntington, 631-549-0055, jonathansristorante.com) offers a $35 Summer Prix Fixe menu all night long from Sunday through Friday. The three-course menu includes appetizer options like the crab cake with frisee and apple salad or polenta with sautéed wild mushrooms. Entrees include salmon served with an heirloom potato and string bean salad and dill vinaigrette or Long Island duck breast with Brussels sprouts and blackberry sauce. Diners looking for something sweet can finish the meal with one of four dessert options that include a flourless chocolate cake or tiramisu. The price fixed menu is available in addition to Jonathan’s regular dinner menu.

  The Shed will open earlier, serving breakfast and lunch from 10 a.m. daily, 9 a.m. weekends.

The Shed will open earlier, serving breakfast and lunch from 10 a.m. daily, 9 a.m. weekends.

The Early Bird Gets Brunch…
Early birds will be happy to hear that The Shed (54 New Street, Huntington, 631-385-7433, Intheshed.com) announced last week that the restaurant would open its doors an hour earlier. The restaurant will now begin serving up breakfast and lunch items from its menu starting at 10 a.m., Monday-Friday. The Shed’s popular weekend brunch will also start earlier. The restaurant will open at 9 a.m. on weekends for anyone looking to get a jump on the brunch crowd. Brunch options on The Shed’s menu include Avocado Toast and Sunny Eggs ($13.50) with watermelon radish, tomato and arugula, or the Chicken and Waffles plate ($16.25) with habanero honey.

Steakhouse Specials…
Mac’s Steakhouse (12 Gerard Street, Huntington, 631-549-5300, macssteakhouse.com) is now offering a decadent date night option with its Porterhouse Special. The special menu, available Monday through Thursday, includes two appetizers, a salad, a dry aged porterhouse steak for two, two sides and a dessert for $125. The four appetizer options are baked clams, fried calamari, tenderloin meatballs and mozzarella and tomatoes. The dessert choices include apple crisp, warm chocolate cake and caramel cheesecake. On Fridays, Mac’s also offers a Surf and Turf dinner for two. The menu includes a choice of salad to start, and entrée course that features a 16 ounce filet mignon and a seafood platter with four scallops, a six ounce salmon and a six ounce lobster tail, two sides and a choice of dessert.