By Carina & Danny
Bistro 44 owners Kevin LaPrelle, Jose Morales, and Al Mott are bringing decades of experience to the Northport Village restaurant they purchased a year ago.
“I go back to washing dishes at The Thatched Cottage in 1980,” LaPrelle said, adding that his colleagues each have about three decades of restaurant experience under their belts as well.
LaPrelle describes Bistro 44 as an American contemporary bistro featuring seasonal menus. Specials are largely determined by what’s fresh and what’s sustainable. Morales, who is also the restaurant’s chef, serves up sustainable fish dishes that change almost daily.
“Jose usually knows three or four days in advance different things he wants to try. [Menu development is] definitely a collaborative effort, but Jose really drives that process,” LaPrelle said.
This spring’s menu features a range of dishes, from nutty, subtly sweet roasted butternut squash salad ($12.50) to tender and fresh, spicy ahi tuna tartare ($12.75) to tangy, explosive orange tequila shrimp ($28.50) and tender, juicy, mouth-watering pepperberry-rubbed ribeye ($32.00)
“Even some of the core items get some special treatment,” LaPrelle said, pointing out a ribeye special.
If you’re not quite ready to take on a full steak, LaPrelle said that the Bistro’s Coffee and Cigar ($9.00) dessert is so popular that some diners come in looking for nothing more than the creamy coffee custard and chocolate treat. The cigar is solid chocolate, and the custard is topped with a singed, brulee-style finish.
Almost as impressive as the menu is the building’s architecture. Inside the Bistro, you’ll find tin ceilings, large booths and ornate 19th century woodwork. In the front, a table for eight is nestled in an alcove, making it seem like a private room.
While the restaurant may be American by cuisine, an outdoor patio, complete with canopies, outdoor heaters, and Boston Ivy climbing stone walls, gives it a European flair. Dog-friendly outdoor seating allows more passersby to stop in for impromptu meals, which LaPrelle said, were a big part of the restaurant’s clientele.
“The foot traffic in Northport is really amazing. We’re very well established in the community; we have some great community roots,” he said.
The staff is also knowledgeable and accommodating to patrons with food allergies, doing their best to adjust dishes on the menu to exclude allergens like gluten, so that those with dietary restrictions hardly feel restricted.
In keeping with that spirit of community, diners coming or going from the John W. Engeman Theatre up the road can enjoy a special theater prix-fixe menu exclusively for patrons.
Atmosphere: Fine dining
Cuisine: American bistro
Pricing: Moderate to Expensive
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.