By Jano Tantongco
Michael Meehan, chef and co-owner of Radio Radio, has brought the simple, yet truly hearty cuisine from below the Mason–Dixon line to Long Island with the newly-opened Southern bistro.
During his several trips to Nashville in recent years with fellow musicians and co-owners Eric Finneran, Salvatore Mignano and Dan Valentino, Meehan has been sampling local fare between his bass sessions. He said staple establishments like Husk and Mason’s have been inspirations for his dishes.
Back in Huntington, he’s whipping up the dishes with North Fork freshness through a partnership with Cutchogue-based Satur Farms, which is supplying him ingredients that make Radio Radio’s offerings as delicious as they are natural and humane.
“I’m excited, I go every week. Tomorrow I’m going to pick up all the greens. It’s fun to bring some of the North Fork into here,” Meehan said. “I hope it’s a solid experience, good value, something a little different in the area. We’re trying to stand out.”
Meehan has previously run Tupelo Honey’s in Sea Cliff, and also formerly served as head chef at H20 in Smithtown. He’s also the chef at Vauxhall, which is also co-owned by Finneran, Mignano and Valentino, and neighbors Radio Radio on Clinton Street.
Radio Radio manager Kevin Qualls said minimal seasonings and fresh ingredients are one of the bistro’s hallmarks.
“It’s comfort food, with comfortable service and just making people smile,” Qualls said. “We like to keep things simple.”
The Organic Bistro Salad ($8) featuring frisee, endive, watermelon radish, candied pecans, dried peaches topped with sherry citrus dressing tasted incredibly fresh, straight from Satur Farms. The frisee and endives were crunchy and light, enhanced by a nutty sweetness from the pecans with summery dried peaches that make this salad perfect to munch on alongside heavier appetizers and entrees.
As an appetizer, the Crystal Crab Mason Jar ($8) features a blend of crab dip with Crystal, dubbed “Louisiana’s Pure Hot Sauce” alongside pickled vegetables and benne seed flatbread. The mason jar is also available with house pimento cheese and smoked vegetable spread. The crab dip was creamy and just spicy enough to get your mouth watering before the meal. With a crispy flatbread and tasty pickled veggies like baby corn and peppers, it’s a cornucopia of munchables.
Getting into the Nashville Style Hot Chicken ($16), it layers bread and butter pickles, white bread and creamy slaw with a crispy, juicy spiced chicken that bursts with Southern savoriness through and through. The bread and butter pickles carry a subdued tanginess complemented by a sweetness that perfectly balances the bold flavors of the entree.
The Straight Up ‘Que featuring Duroc Baby Back Ribs ($16), was a 1/2 pound of humanely raised, antibiotic- and hormone-free meat with cornbread, baked in-house. It’s a given that the ribs were buttery soft and pulled off the bone with ease, but they were notable for their simple, yet delicious, taste. Decidedly Southern, the ribs are seasoned just enough to let the true flavor of the meat stand out. Diners are free to add sauce to their taste, including jerk mustard, hot sauce, spicy barbeque or standard barbeque sauce. Available meats for the ‘Que are displayed in the restaurant.
To wrap up, the Key Lime Pie Parfait ($7) elegantly brings together crumbled graham crackers, crumbled vanilla meringue, fresh raspberries, raspberry coulis and ice cream. Highlighted by a mild citrus underlayer, bringing together crumbly meringue, with crisp graham crackers and the ice cream to create a texture sensation.
Specializing in craft cocktails, the refreshing Bourbon Sweet Tea ($12) is true to the wildly popular southern drink, adding authentic flavors with white peach, bourbon, black tea syrup and lemon.
24 Clinton Ave., Huntington village
Cuisine: Southern bistro
Atmosphere: Casual and trendy
Price: Inexpensive to moderate
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 4-11 p.m.