By Jano Tantongco
Walking up the steps of Crabtrees New York & Main, one’s eyes might just get lost in the intricate pattern of the stairs, a hint of what’s to come upon entering the establishment.
Stepping into the restaurant, a layer of old-school filament bulbs hang from the ceiling, with light globes affixed with pocket watches. Separating the bar and the dining area is a wall of pipes, valves and gauges that call to mind the spirit of industry. Meanwhile, the bar side panels are decorated with traditional flourishes punctuated with bolts around the edges.
Co-owner and chef Andrew Crabtree said that after he and fellow co-owner Dean Philippis left their shifts at Piccolo and Mill Pond Restaurant — the other establishments they run — they would sometimes travel to Brooklyn or Manhattan to satisfy their late-night dining desires.
They joked around for a bit, dreaming up their own late-night eatery. But today, that dream has become reality. The duo they created Crabtrees, something its namesake owner calls an “industry pub.”
And it manages to strike a balance between elegance and industrial in a way designed to cater to those who thrive in the latter portion of the day.
“Here, we wanted people to really just sit down and not worry about it, just to hang out, have a good time, have a burger and a beer,” Crabtree said. “That’s the vibe we try to create.”
Diving into the menu, the Stuffed Avocado ($16), is a helping of fresh tuna poke set into a sliced avocado dressed with mixed greens. Crabtree said he wanted to use heartier chunks of tuna in such a salad to pay homage to the dish’s Hawaiian roots. The tuna is juicy and the sesame soy vinaigrette adds a burst of flavor, with the sesame seeds on top adding a hint of nuttiness.
When designing his menu, Crabtree said his mac-and-cheese-fanatic daughter asked if he’d put the staple on his menu. He did, but he put a unique spin on it. The Short Rib Mac & Cheezit ($15) features white cheddar from the Vermont-based Cabot Creamery, succulent short rib and a topping of Cheez-it crumbles. The cheese is gooey with just a bit of tanginess.
Moving on to the entrees, the English Meatball ($18) is a classic pub meal that’s drizzled with a savory gravy that complements the meatballs’ light and airy consistency with just a hint of sweetness from the peas. The egg noodles are slightly doughy and work with the meatballs to create a blend of chewy textures.
The Roasted Salmon Filet ($23) is tender and lightly crispy on the outside and is served on a bed of spinach and jasmine rice. The Irish whiskey cream sauce brings out the flavor of the salmon and coupled with the maitake mushrooms, it joins earth and sea for a flavor that can only be described as decadently comforting.
One dish to close out a meal is the Graham Cracker Pudding ($8), a warm, crunchy and smooth delight that packs delightful holiday flavor into a small package. The whipped cream is perfectly light and avoids being too sweet to complement the pudding.
Another option, the Monkey Rum Cake ($8), is boldly sweet, but precisely grounded by the vanilla gelato and bits of pecan. This dessert stacks texture combinations together for a rich experience.
But Crabtrees has another feature — one that isn’t on the menu.
Taking a break from the meal, or in between sips of a signature cocktail, beer or wine, patrons can look out the window of the second-floor establishment to feel perched atop Huntington village. From the corner vantage point, guests can see the bustling activity below, and — during the holiday season — a giant, illuminated snowflake that floats from the traffic-light wire at eye-level.
It makes for a beautiful sight, Crabtree said. “This time of night, when the sun’s down and the lights of Huntington come up… it’s the best time of night I think.”
Cuisine: Modern Pub
Atmosphere: Relaxed and Cozy
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-12 midnight; Friday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-1 a.m.
Crabtrees New York & Main
330 New York Ave., Huntington village