By Connor Beach
While it’s found in Huntington village, Fado transports diners to the Portuguese countryside by offering up the traditional sights, sounds and smells of the Iberian Peninsula’s Atlantic coast.
Fado owner and Centerport resident Alison Steindler opened the 10 New St. restaurant just over seven years ago, bringing the traditional dishes and flavors of Portugal to Huntington.
The restaurant, which seats 30 on the first floor and 35 in the second floor dining area that can also be reserved for private parties, and its staff are devoted to giving customers a truly Portuguese experience — from the music to the wine.
“Our wine list is 100 percent Portuguese; we won’t accept anything else. The only beers we carry are from Portugal,” Steindler said. “We’ve had some really famous Portuguese winemakers come and visit us because in all of their years of experience, we are the only restaurant that they know is 100 percent in on their wines.”
In Portuguese, “Fado” means “fate and destiny,” but it also describes the traditional Portuguese folk music that, along with the afternoon sun streaming through the inviting front windows, completes the almost Mediterranean-style atmosphere.
Steindler’s menu matches the atmosphere, spanning Portugal’s seafood-rich coastline to hearty dishes of the mountainous interior.
For starters, from the complete dinner special menu that includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert for $31, the Ovos Cozidos, or Portuguese style deviled eggs with chouriço and smoked paprika, offers diners a creamy bite that has the added texture and spicy taste of the Portuguese sausage and paprika.
Also on that menu, the Peixinhos da Horta is a fried string bean dish dressed with a piri piri dill aioli that gives these “little fish from the garden” an almost addictive combination of fried crunch with a spicy kick.
The Portuguese Mac n’ Cheese, an entrée option from the special menu, offers a creamy mixture of cod, potatoes and onions baked in a Parmesan garlic cream sauce.
To round out the complete dinner, the Dark Chocolate Mousse is a chocolate lover’s delight that offers the richness of dark chocolate, but still has the whipped texture of a mousse.
From Fado’s standard appetizer menu, the Afternoon in Portugal ($18) is a unique combination of Portuguese ingredients including white anchovies and grilled pork belly on top of aged Portuguese cheese and marinated spicy olives with garlic toast points. The savory flavor of the pork belly provides just the right compliment to the saltiness of the anchovies in this take on surf and turf.
The Cascas de Batata Frita ($8) is an unexpectedly light and airy version of thinly cut fried potato skins that are served with Fado’s signature piri piri aioli.
Fado’s twist on lobster bisque, the Seafood Soup ($8) combines shrimp, cod and scallops into a creamy broth that is the right thickness to allow for the taste of the seafood to shine, without compromising the velvety texture of the soup.
Moving to entrees, the Carne de Porco a Alentejana ($29) is a traditional dish of northern Portugal that includes pork and whole clams stewed with potatoes and a roasted red pepper puree. The dish offers diners a complex blend of textures and flavors from the tender pork to the soft potatoes, and the garlic and white wine bridge brininess of the clams to create a satisfying, well-rounded entrée.
The Camarao a Fado ($29), or bacon wrapped jumbo shrimp, are prepared with a lemon glaze and saffron rice. The bacon flavor coating and the juicy crunch of the perfectly cooked shrimp make it worth disturbing the dish's striking presentation.
The Sohla a Cascais ($27) is an example of the creativity and American flare on Fado’s menu. The flaky sautéed flounder is broa (Portuguese corn bread) crusted and topped with apricots and red currants that add a sweetness to compliment the texture, added by the crust on the fish.
Steindler said the staff at Fado works hard to provide the personal atmosphere that is a proud part of Portuguese culture.
She added, “There is a newly infused family love in the restaurant, and we want to make sure that the customers know that.”