By The Foodies
The tunes are cool and the cuisine is hot at XO Restaurant Wine & Chocolate Lounge in Huntington village.
The music comes from weekly performers who turn a little cubbyhole space up by the window facing Wall Street into their stage. On Saturday night, diners were treated to the tunes of Badge, a first-time performer at the restaurant, and their classic-rock sound, as they drank, danced and noshed.
In contrast to the homey first-floor dining space, the second-floor lounge is sleek, accented by multiple shades of gray and punctuated by red chairs. Sound travels readily through the space; even those sitting in the back near the bar will feel the bass.
Live music has become an important weekend draw to XO, said owner-chef Jason Kitton, who opened the restaurant Feb. 29, 2012 after a brief sojourn on Clinton Street.
As summer band season revs up, Jason is working hard in the kitchen, taking a number of chances on inventive summery fare – and succeeding.
One example is the Roasted Beet Salad ($10). A presentation of chopped beets served tuna tartare-style, topped with baby arugula, dressed in blood orange vinaigrette and crowned with a goat cheese crouton, it creates an adventurous flavor profile, an attractive medley of textures, and – let’s be real – who can resist fried goat cheese?
An asparagus special Jason shared with us is similarly daring and delicious. Sautéed asparagus in a balsamic reduction sounds straight-forward enough, right? Then Jason breaks out the fried egg, over-easy. Yolk and glaze combines to create a sweet, salty and savory accompaniment for the perfectly prepped spears.
And a Salmon Bruschetta special is a light summery treat for fish-lovers, topped with red onions, tomato and cubed mozzarella, paired with a nice spinach side that’s flecked with shaved peanuts and bits of garlic.
For after-dinner desserts during a performance, crème brulee ($8) is a must-have, regardless of the season. Or, seal it with a triple-chocolate kiss and a tasty tri-colored mouse ($10), or a sharable array of fabulous fondues ($18-$21). Then again, who can ever go wrong with chocolate-covered strawberries?
Entertainment starts at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, 9 p.m. on Saturdays, and a complete listing of performances are available online. And for daily dining pleasure, enjoy a $24.99 prix-fixe, available ‘til 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.