By Tes Silverman
When asked what spurs his success, Nader Gebrin replies, “I treat my diners like family. I aim to make my diners happy by listening to what they want and if I have the ingredients to make it, I will at no extra charge.”
The owner and chef at Bravo! Nader continues, “If my diner wants half of an entree or half of a dessert, I’ll make it happen because if there’s a will, there’s a way”.
This has been Gebrin’s mentality ever since he opened the doors of the 9 Union Place Italian restaurant in Huntington 20 years ago. Originally hailing from Cairo, Egypt, Gebrin made his presence known when he decided to introduce his culinary passions to Huntington diners after working in the food business for many years.
As diners walk into the restaurant, they may admire the wall decor, which is themed around Gebrin’s adventures as a fisherman. He takes his fishing prowess seriously, and his love of the sport is evidenced by various plaques of fish that line the walls of the restaurant. His love of fishing is equaled to his passion for creating amazing dishes for his diners.
Gebrin’s zest for creating delicious dishes can be tasted, starting with the baked crab cake appetizer ($19.95). It’s made with jumbo lump crab meat, mixed with onions, peppers, shallots, basil and tarragon and is topped with a sauce made from tomatoes, garlic, basil, scallions, light mayonnaise and panko bread crumbs. The result is a crab cake filled with complex textures and flavors that will whet diners’ appetites for what’s to come.
The crab cakes serve as a perfect segue into one of Gebrin’s entrees, the stuffed calamari over linguine with mussels, clams and scungilli in red sauce ($39.95). The stuffed calamari is packed with lobster meat and, while this dish could easily have a chewy consistency, it’s far from it. The calamari is tender and, with the lobster filling, it takes on a meaty consistency. Combining the calamari with mussels, clams and scungilli with a light marinara sauce topping, the dish becomes a seafood lover’s paradise.
To satisfy a sweet tooth, diners might want to try the tiramisu or the Napoleon.
The Tiramisu is delicate and creamy, but not overly sweet.
The filling of the Napoleon is light and the pastry in between melts in the mouth, so diners can savor every bite.
To further introduce his culinary passion to others, Gebrin also holds cooking classes either in the privacy of one’s kitchen, or at the restaurant. For $100 per person, chefs can learn how to create a few of Gebrin’s amazing dishes, as well as taste them, along with drinks, dessert and coffee or tea.
9 Union Place, Huntington
Ambiance: Casual Elegance
Hours: Lunch: Monday-Friday & Sunday 12-3 p.m.; Dinner: Monday-Thursday 5-9:30 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 5-10:30 p.m.; Sunday 3-9 p.m.