By Danny, Alicia & Rick
Just after their one-year anniversary in the highly competitive Huntington restaurant scene, the team at Acacia, headed by owner Michael Cassano and chef Matthew Maxwell, is still proudly flexing their “mussels” to much acclaim.
The former stockbroker (Michael) and the decorated Culinary Institute of America grad (Matthew) opened the doors a year ago Oct. 13 after transforming the former Oak Room at Meehan’s into a cosmopolitan, Manhattan-inspired dining den, where 12 varieties of mussels pots are the menu’s focal point.
New to the rotation on the fall menu are a Tuscan mussels pot ($20), enveloped in a light, citrusy, lemon-lime tart broth punctuated by garlic and dressed with cannellini beans, basil, sundried tomatoes and fresh parsley. Also new is the hearty Blue Point pot ($20), simmered in Blue Point lager, kielbasa sausage, fennel, whole-grain mustard and fresh dill.
Some of our favorite pots remain, like the Cioppino pot ($26), a medley of shrimp, Little Neck clams and scallops in chunky marinara and Parmesan crostini; decadent Acacia’s Best ($27), stuffed with tender lobster claw meat, black truffles, pancetta and aromatic cheese fondue; and the Louisiana pot ($24) of shrimp, okra, scallions, smoky, chunks of spicy and smoky Andouille sausage and shrimp.
If you’re not into mussels, fear not. Oven Roasted Organic Chicken ($20), served in rich chicken-broth gravy atop sublime truffle mashed potatoes paired with haricot vert, is tender and satisfying. The 8 oz. filet mignon ($33) is another must-have for meat eaters.
Also new for fall is a trio of impressive starters. Sautéed Foie Gras ($18), paired with parsnip puree and sour cherries, melts in your mouth with a tart finish. Butternut Squash Soup ($9) warms from within with earthy flavors and a spicy cinnamon crème fraiche. Pumpkin ravioli ($12), sweet and al dente with sage and brown butter and woody toasted pumpkin seeds, is just about perfect. And don’t forget favorites like tuna tartare ($14), served atop a mound of vinegar and green tobiko-dressed cucumber, or the fabulous Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes ($15).
Pear salad ($10), a medley of mixed greens candied pecans and more tossed in a maple-balsamic dressing, introduces fried goat cheese, which is about as heavenly as it sounds. And you still can’t go wrong with Roasted Red Beet Salad ($9), a pairing of silky Montrachet Goat cheese, orange, mint and beet chunks tossed in citrus vinaigrette.
To end the meal, morsels of ooey-gooey good individual lava cakes ($9) melt in your mouth and are not nearly as sweet as you might anticipate, bringing more of a cocoa flavor to the fore. And homemade apple strudel ($8) is fresh, sweet and simply sensational.
Be sure to make room for dessert – and dancing. In addition to dining, Acacia excels at nightlife. Ladies drink half price from 5-7 p.m. Thursdays; Friday happy hour opens the half-price cocktails to all; and Friday and Saturday nights feature bottle service and live DJ sets to keep you dancing into the wee hours of the morning, bringing Manhattan cool to Huntington village – no schlep to NYC required.
371 New York Ave., Huntington
Atmosphere: Warm Manhattan chic
Cuisine: Mussels pots galore and more
Hours: Closed Monday; Tuesday-Thursday 5-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday kitchen 5-11 p.m.; DJ ‘til close; Sunday 5-9 p.m.