By Tes Silverman
From the food to the décor, French cuisine is usually thought of as formal. But not at Crew Kitchen & Bar. Formerly Aix en Provence, the cuisine has undergone changes that give off a more relaxed atmosphere. Situated in Huntington Bay, Crew’s nautical decor and walls filled with photos from local artists give a nod to nearby shores. A courtyard provides patrons with additional seating options.
The cuisine, says manager John Angrisani, is “New American,” a lighter version of French fare.
Diners may choose at any time the Chef’s Tasting Menu ($85 per person), in which the whole table is offered a five-course meal prepared by the chef. Wines can be paired with each meal for an additional $40. The Chef’s Tasting Menu may vary depending on what the chef wants to serve that evening, but here are examples of what to expect.
To start off, appetizers such as goat cheese spanakopita, duck wontons served with hoisin sauce and crab bites give the diner distinct tastes and textures. While the appetizers may seem hearty, pairing them with the Tidal Wave martini (Ketel One citrus vodka, peach nectar, guava & lime), which is light and summery, decreases the heartiness on your palate.
If you would like to taste an unusually good salad, the one to try is the Maine lobster, goat cheese and grilled asparagus crepe. Over organic greens with strawberries and grape tomatoes, the lobster and goat cheese is very creamy, and combined with the crepe, produces a light and silky texture. To pair a wine that is meaty and full-bodied to complement the lobster and crepe, the Baby Bandol (grenache, syrah and mourvredre) is the recommended choice.
For entrees, the 12-hour baby-back ribs and the grilled halibut are great selections. The baby-back ribs fall off the bone and are marinated with a Kentucky bourbon glaze that has some sweetness to it, but not too much. Paired with a Sin Zin zinfandel (red fruits with raspberry, strawberry and blackberry), the fruits provide a lengthy finish to the ribs’ glaze.
The grilled halibut is served with crispy polenta, French string beans and shrimp étouffée. The halibut has a clean taste, which goes well with the crispy polenta that melts in your mouth. The string beans are cooked until lightly crisp and combined with the smokiness of the étouffée, creating a complex dish. Paired with Tally chardonnay (light oak finish with citrus flavors), the halibut becomes the main focus of the dish.
Another entree that should be ordered is the Long Island duck, prepared two ways – crispy breast and confit-style leg. Served in a pineapple and fruit demi sauce with wild rice, sautéed spinach and summer fruit compote, it is a hearty dish. Paired with a full-bodied red wine such as the Americano (petite syrah, Cabernet blend, toasted banana and black fruits), brings out the complex flavors of the duck with the wild rice.
If you still have room for dessert after this sumptuous meal, the selection of salted caramels, peanut butter brownie and chocolate banana crisp are worth the calories. The delicate balance of salt and sugar of the caramels and the creaminess of the chocolate banana crisp is in great company with the decadent brownie. If you decide to pair it with wine, the Santo Vino, which has a hint of caramel and nutty flavors is the one to have.
Starting in October and lasting through March, Crew will be offering new a Wine Tasting Dinner ($100 per person). The purpose of this five-course dinner is to tailor the cuisine for that evening around wines from certain regions or countries. This dinner will start with passed hors d’oeuvres, then continue to dinner and dessert. Each event will feature an expert on wines who will guide diners to wine pairings with each course.
Along with the tasting menus, Crew Kitchen & Bar provides patrons with various dining options, from bar bites to regular dinners. If, on the other hand, you want to experience a more adventurous dining experience, try the Chef’s Tasting Menu or the upcoming Wine Tasting Dinners in the fall. The beautiful presentation of each course, combined with the extensive knowledge of wine pairings make dinner at Crew a night to remember. For Angrisani, Crew’s goal is to provide the diner “an oasis for your senses” and there is no doubt they are doing just that.