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Get Grilling with Chic and Edgy Summer Recipes from Long Island’s Top Chefs

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by marissa candela

here’s nothing more pleasing than summer entertaining in your own backyard, especially after such a brutal winter. Crafting and enjoying delicious dishes in your own home is a true luxury, at times surpassing the finest restaurants locally and abroad. This especially rings true with Long Island’s glorious bounty of ingredients.

© istock/Photomorphic

So on warm summer nights, fire up your grill, invite some family or friends over and entertain outdoors. If you know your way around the kitchen, these upscale grilling recipes from some of Long Island’s most innovative chefs are sure to ellicit ooohs and ahhhs from your guests, leaving them hungry for more. Iavarone Bros. 7929 Jericho Tpke, Woodbury | 516.921.5400

Asian Grilled Chicken Breast with Fresh Chinese Vegetables (serves two) Iavarone Bros. Woodbury’s Executive Chef Maurizio Nicolosi commented, “The Asian mirepoix (flavor base) of garlic, ginger and scallion has great versatility. This is also a healthy dish and works well with beef, pork, seafood and veggies.”

Chef Nicolosi’s Tips on Chicken • For better flavor, use all-natural chicken. • With poultry, be sure to wash hands frequently so not to cross contaminate. • Grilling with the skin on gives extra crunch and flavor with the option of removing it later.

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What You’ll Need For the chicken and marinade: 2, 8 oz bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts 2 tbsp sesame oil 1 tbsp fresh ginger 3 scallion sprigs 2 cloves fresh garlic 3 oz sweet chili sauce 2 tbsp soy sauce 2 tbsp honey 3 oz hoisin sauce For the vegetable sauté: 1 head of baby bok choy 3 oz bean sprouts 2 tbsp fresh ginger 2 sprigs scallion 1 garlic clove 1 whole red pepper 3 pieces baby corn 2 oz edamame 2 tbsp sesame oil salt and pinch of hot crushed pepper

How to Prepare For the chicken and marinade, combine all marinade ingredients in a big bowl. Add chicken to marinade and let it sit for 30 minutes at room temperature – this enhances flavors and enables chicken to cook evenly. Preheat the gas grill on high for at least five minutes. Reduce the heat to medium on one-half of the grill and to low on the other half. Put chicken on hot grill, skin down for 8-10 minutes. Flip and cook chicken breasts onto the side of the grill with low heat for another 8-10 minutes. For the sautéed Chinese vegetables, prep all veggies by washing and cutting. Place a cast iron skillet on the grill, as you would on the stovetop, and let it get really hot. Sauté garlic, ginger and scallion in sesame oil for 1 minute. Add the vegetables and sauté for 5 minutes.


Huntington Harbor’s Prime Restaurant 117 New York Ave, Huntington | 631.385.1515

Grilled Spiced Lobster with Baby Bok Choy, White Port Ginger Emulsion and Shiso (serves two) Executive Chef Gregg Lauletta of Prime restaurant commented, “What Long Islander doesn’t love lobster? What makes this recipe a favorite is the marriage of sweet spice, earthiness from the grill and crispness of vegetables. Grilling on a gas grill yields fine results and is amazingly convenient, but there is nothing like grilling over hardwood or wood charcoal.”

A Two-for-One Dish After cooking according to the recipe, crack the claws and knuckles to remove the meat. For an amazing lobster salad, mix with some mayonnaise, lemon juice, tarragon, a dash of Tabasco, salt and pepper and serve on a piece of toasted brioche. Chef Laulette’s Spicy Suggestion “You can certainly buy the five-spice powder, but it is remarkably better if you make it yourself. I freshly grind all of these ingredients and combine. After, I sift the spices through a fine sieve.” 1 tsp ground Szechuan pepper 1 tsp ground star anise 1¼ tsp ground fennel seeds ½ tsp ground cloves ½ tsp ground cinnamon ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp ground white pepper

What You’ll Need 3, 1¼ lb live hard shell lobsters 2 heads baby bok choy ½ cup imported white port wine ¼ cup fresh lime juice 1 tbsp minced shallots 3 tbsp heavy cream ½ cup steamed spinach (about 6 oz raw) fine sea salt and cayenne pepper

½ cup white vinegar 1 tbsp Asian five-spice powder (purchase at an Asian market) 1 tbsp minced garlic 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger 1 stick sweet butter cut into small pieces 1 bunch micro shiso

How to Prepare For the lobster, boil 2-3 gallons of water with the vinegar in a large stockpot. Cook the lobsters for 4 minutes to set the meat. Place the lobsters on a cutting board and remove the claws and knuckles from the body. Separate the tails and cut them in half using a heavy knife and set aside. Add the claws and knuckles back to the pot and cook them for an additional 5 minutes (they will not be used for this dish). To blanch the baby bok choy, chop off the ends and wash very well. Cook for a few minutes in salted boiling water (it should not become limp). Remove from heat and rinse or submerge in very cold water to stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside. Then start the white port ginger emulsion by bringing the white port, lime juice, garlic, shallots and ginger to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to about 2 tbsp. Add the cream and bring to a boil. Then remove from heat and season with sea salt and pinch of cayenne. Whisk in butter one piece at a time and strain. Keep this mixture warm. Brush the halved lobster tails with olive oil and season with sea salt and the five-spice powder. On a medium preheated grill, cook the lobster tails for 3 minutes on the flesh side, then 3 more minutes on the shell side. To plate, place the steamed spinach in the center of a warmed dish. Stand the bok choy upright next to the spinach. Then by interlocking the tails, stand them up on the spinach. Spoon the white port ginger emulsion around and garnish with shiso.

Deli Boss 390 Willis Ave, Roslyn Heights | 516.484.3354

Grilled Banana Leaf Salmon (serves three) The pros at Deli Boss of Roslyn Heights suggested, “If banana leaf is not available, this marinade works beautifully for plain grilled salmon. Jasmine rice and a colorful salad complete this delicious and heart healthy meal.” What You’ll Need 3, 8 oz filets of salmon 1 cup orange juice 1 cup White Zinfandel 1 tsp minced garlic 2 sprigs fresh dill 1 large carrot 1 medium zucchini 1 medium yellow squash 2 large banana leaves How to Prepare For the marinade, cut dill leaves with a scissor; then add in orange juice, Zinfandel and garlic. Mix well and let stand for 15 minutes. Rinse the salmon, pat dry and place in marinade for 30 minutes. Cut carrots, zucchini and squash into julienne strips (see photo) and mix together. Cut banana leaves into squares to fit salmon as you would with gift wrap. Slice some thin long strips left from leaves to create six ties. Transfer marinated salmon to the center of each leaf, placing 1/3 of the vegetables on top of the fish. Wrap with banana leaf and tie with the leaf strips. Grill on medium-high heat for 8-10 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the salmon you chose.

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Banana leaves can be found at specialty shop and florists; just be sure they are the edible variety.


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Butera’s 7903 Jericho Tpke, Woodbury | 516.496.3633

Fast & Fresh Bruschetta With Tomatoes and Mozzarella (serves four) Executive Chef Martin Butera from Butera’s in Woodbury commented, “With the prep time just 10 minutes and grill time only 5, this recipe is very direct and easy. It is one of my favorites and a real crowd pleaser!” What You’ll Need 1 loaf of “day old” quality hard bread (Ciabatta), cut 4 slices on bias 1 pint fresh grape tomatoes – cut in halves (or substitute tomato variety to your liking) 1 large bunch fresh basil – remove and wash leaves 1 small red onion, sliced thin 1 large minced garlic clove 1 tsp fresh chopped parsley 1 lb diced fresh mozzarella cheese ¼ tsp salt ¼ tsp black pepper 1 cup extra virgin olive oil

How to Prepare Preheat grill to high. Combine oil, garlic, parsley, 5 minced basil leaves, salt and pepper and whisk vigorously together. Brush 4 bread slices with oil (do not use all the oil, the remainder will be used for salad dressing). Grill the bread, charring slightly on both sides. Remove and let it sit. Place red onion, tomatoes and mozzarella in a mixing bowl, then add oil dressing and toss together. Plate bruschetta on individual plates and top evenly with salad. Drizzle extra dressing on plates and use whole basil leaves as garnish.

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Nisen Sushi 7967 Jericho Tpke, Woodbury | 516.496.7000

Grilled Skirt Steak with Summer Herb Sauce (serves four) Executive Chef Terrence Cave from Nisen Sushi in Woodbury commented, “Skirt steak is great on the grill – it’s got intense flavor and cooks quickly and easily. It’s also a lighter meat that goes well with vegetables and salads, which is perfect for weekend barbecues or a quick summer meal. The accompanying sauce is simple to make and adds bright clean flavors to the meat. It can also be used on chicken and some fish.”

What You’ll Need 32 oz skirt steak, cleaned and trimmed kosher salt coarsely ground black pepper olive oil How to Prepare For the steak sauce: Turn grill onto high. Prep the steaks by dredging 1 cup packed parsley generously with salt, pepper and olive oil on both ½ cup packed cilantro sides. When the grill is hot, lay steaks out flat and ¼ cup of olive oil grill for about 8-10 minutes (you can cross mark it 1 /3 cup red wine vinegar after 2 minutes). Turn over after 4 minutes. Remove the juice of 2 fresh limes from the grill and let it rest. To prepare the sauce, 3 garlic cloves place all ingredients in a blender or food processor ¾ tsp crushed red pepper until well combined. The sauce should be at room ¾ tsp ground cumin temperature until after use, then refrigerate (it will ¾ tsp Kosher salt hold for about two days). Plate your steak and put sauce directly on top. Grilled squash, zucchini and red peppers make a great side for this dish!

Thrilling Grilling Tips from Chef Cave • Brush your grill and season it by putting a little oil on a clean cloth. Just hold the cloth with your tongs and wipe it on the grill. • If your food is sticking to the grill, it’s not hot enough. Make sure your grill is sizzling before starting to cook. • Always give your food room to properly grill. Sometimes steaks become grey in color because of food crowding; the meat is steaming rather than grilling. • When slicing steak, go against the grain or patterned striations on the meat – a tenderizing technique.

Philip Stone Caterers 175 Sunnyside Blvd, Plainview | 516.326.2156

Grilled Lime Chicken Skewers with Pistachio Aioli (serves 12) What You’ll Need 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast ½ tsp salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice 1 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp shelled pistachios ½ cup mayonnaise 2 cloves garlic For the lime salt: 1 tbsp Kosher salt 1 lime How to Prepare Roast garlic by placing peeled cloves in a small sauce pan. Add enough oil to cover. Bring to a low simmer and cook over very low heat until cloves are soft and just barely beginning to brown (15-20 minutes). Remove from heat and let garlic cool in the oil. Then take the roasted cloves and puree them into the mayonnaise to make aioli. Roast pistachios in 325˚ oven for about 10 minutes until slightly fragrant, do not brown. Cool and chop finely and fold into the aioli. Cut chicken breasts into strips (about 2 inches long by ¾ inch thick) and season with salt, pepper and lime juice.

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Thread pieces onto skewers and brush them with olive oil. Grill chicken until cooked through and remove from heat (keep warm until needed). To make lime salt, finely chop the zest of 1 lime. Combine with 1 tablespoon Kosher salt and mix well. Place in an air-tight container and keep in the refrigerator until needed (lasts about two weeks refrigerated). To serve, line a serving platter with thinly sliced limes. Arrange chicken skewers on the lime slices and sprinkle with lime salt. Serve the pistachio aioli on the side for dipping. If using wooden skewers, be sure to soak in water for 20 minutes before threading chicken.


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Two Steak & Sushi Den 1270 Union Tpke, New Hyde Park | 516.358.2222

Grilled Soft Shell Crab with Potatoes, Scallions and Bacon (serves one) Executive Chef James McDevitt of Two Steak & Sushi Den in New Hyde Park suggested, “Soft shell crabs should still be alive when purchased. Their shell should be soft all around. Remember, you should be able to eat the entire crab. Serve this dish with asparagus or grilled corn.� Simply multiply the measurements of this recipe to satisfy a larger party. What You’ll Need 2 soft shell crabs 4 fingerling potatoes 3 scallions 1 leek (white only – cut in half) 2 strips Applewood smoked bacon olive oil salt and pepper For the lemon pepper mayo accompaniment: the zest and juice of 1 lemon, 1 tsp crushed coarse black pepper and 1 cup mayonnaise

Tip for Cleaning Crabs When cleaning soft shell crabs, Chef McDevitt advised, “Remove the gills, faces and trim any spikes along the shell.�

How to Prepare Wash the soft shell crabs. Season with salt, pepper and olive oil and set aside. Heat grill and cook the fingerling potatoes first — they will take longest. Then, grill the seasoned (salt, pepper and olive oil) leek, scallions and bacon. Lastly, place the soft shell crabs on the grill for 2 minutes per side. Do not char. For the lemon pepper mayo, mix the lemon zest and juice, pepper and mayonnaise. Season with salt and serve alongside the crabs in a ramekin.

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food fanatic

Old World Charm

in plain view at Brasserie Cassis

by marissa candela

The experienced group of restaurateurs at Reststar Hospitality spent a great deal of time scouting the perfect spot for their new French restaurant, Brasserie Cassis. “We wanted to position ourselves more central than our other locations that are tucked away,” says Reststar’s Director of Operations Eric Machado. With centralized Plainview as their target, their watchful eyes steadily remained on a bustling shopping strip called the Plainview Centre right off South Oyster Bay Road. But prime storefront was needed to do it right. Finally, after Ruven’s Deli had been laid to rest, Brasserie Cassis gradually rose from its ashes and opened just before the New Year. As the group at Restar had already achieved success with the smaller Bistro Cassis in Huntington and Bistro Citron in Roslyn, they were fairly confident that faithful fans and newcomers from surrounding towns would frequent their latest venture. Judging by the sea of people and extreme noise levels I experienced on a recent Saturday night, they were right. Once inside the colorful Brasserie Cassis you’ll soon forget your position in a strip mall as you marvel at the authenticity of its imported Frenchinspired décor. Vibrant posters, red leather booths, elaborate gold moldings, rich woodwork, tasteful ornate ceilings, antiqued mirrors, warm globe chandeliers and marble tabletops evoke a true vintage Parisian brasserie. Mais oui, even Chef Alexandre Petard, who earned some of his stripes at Les Halles in NYC, hails from France. But does the food stand up to all this “authenticity?” Is it really just a local joint or worthy of a Saturday night drive? On more than a few visits, we found out. Plan to start with a cocktail at the old world bar with ample seating and a flat screen TV, but be sure to make a reservation unless you don’t mind

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lounging for too long. Our friendly bartender actually remembered we had waited over an hour for a table the week prior and immediately bought us a round for our trouble — très bon! While pondering what to order, the crusty baguette with chicken liver patè or sweet butter placed upon the table did the trick. Wait staff is at the ready with specials and helpful suggestions. For example, when advised that the Plat Du Jour (daily special) had run out, another comparable dish was recommended. To start, I highly recommend the shellfish. The fresh and flavorful blue point oysters from La Bar A Huîtres (oyster bar) or the not-to-be-missed moules (mussels) served in an impressive copper pot, where the lid cleverly serves as a shell bowl. But be warned, if you order the Moules Marinières in white wine and garlic, it may drive you to a bread dunking frenzy long after the tender mollusks are finished. More adventurous diners may want to try the Moules a la Crème de Pernod, sautéed in garlic and oil with a touch of cream and the distinctive flavor of star anise. Don’t be surprised if you dredge the bottom of the pot for stray moules long after they’re gone. And although the mussel portions were large, I began to wish I ordered the pommes frites (french fries) to accompany. Served with mayonnaise and ketchup, they were continuously being delivered to the surrounding tables in clever newsprint wrapping, a classic presentation from European curbside vendors. An alternate good start is the Niçoise salad, tossed with light and tangy dressing. Fresh field greens, tuna, black olives, tomatoes, haricot vert (green beans), red onions, potatoes, baby artichokes, eggs and capers make this ample appetizer quite filling.


For the main course, choose from les sandwiches to pátes italiennes (pastas) to pour 2 personnes (plates for two) to menu pour les enfants (the small children’s menu) to the creative, gourmet entrees or plats du jour. Those who yearn for comforting meat and potatoes should choose the Hachis Parmentier au Truffe Noire, a traditional shepherd’s pie. Stuffed with ground sirloin and topped with black truffle mash, it will satiate a hearty appetite. Carnivores may also opt for the Onglet aux Pommes Croquettes, grilled hangar steak with crunchy potato croquettes, watercress and fragrant red wine shallot sauce (we asked for medium rare and we got it). Other options include sirloin steak, roasted pork chop, braised lamb shank, roasted rack of lamb, marinated chicken breast and duck. Fish lovers also have much to choose from. The menu features salmon, sole, cod, trout, tuna and scallops. I enjoyed a dish called Tatin de Coquille St. Jacques; roasted scallops over puff pastry, carmelized onions and julienne vegetable Lillet sauce. In this dish, sweet, tender scallops were playfully accented with Tobiko (aka flying fish) caviar. The light sauce complimented the scallops and tender vegetable medley. All contents rested on a flattened puff pastry that was rather bland, but didn’t take away from the overall dish. For dessert, give the satisfying crème brûlée a whirl. Crack the warm, sugary layer and spoon into the velvety inside. And although the chocolate mousse was ordered, I received the very good Moelleux au Chocolat, a spongy chocolate cake with molten center served with a side of vanilla ice cream. To sum, Brasserie Cassis is not another run-of-the-mill local restaurant. Quite the contrary, it’s got character, wonderfully distinctive food and friendly service. Just remember to call ahead, especially on weekends, then aller! |

By definition, a brasserie is an informal French café that serves beer, wine and simple, hearty food. But Brasserie Cassis is not that straightforward. Brunch, lunch or dinner, the menu is quite creative and caters to palates both simple and complex. Plus, there are 13 carefully chosen wines by the glass (85 total) wines and 4 French and Belgian beers on tap (8 total).

Brasserie Cassis 387 South Oyster Bay Road Plainview, NY in the Plainview Centre

cuisine French Brasserie reservations 516.653.0090 hours lunch, Monday to Saturday, noon to 3 pm, dinner, Monday to Thursday, 5 to 10 pm, Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 pm, Sunday, 5 to 10 pm, brunch, Sunday, 11 am to 3 pm

space Parties/large groups accepted, outdoor seating in good weather range Apps $7-$13; Dinner entrees $12-$27; Lunch entrees $8-$19; Fixed-priced Sunday brunch, $17.

more Wheelchair accessibility, casual atmosphere with few children, American Express, MasterCard and Visa accepted

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food fanatic

Atlantica is Reborn

on Long Beach…is it worth the trip? by marissa candela Atlantica restaurant, a name you may be familiar with from its 12 year standing in the Westhampton Bath and Tennis Club, has relocated with some fresh fanfare on the second floor of the new $50 million Allegria Hotel & Spa in Long Beach. This recent project and hopeful hot spot is spearheaded by real estate and business mogul Allen Rosenberg. For those North Shore-ites whose navigation systems only head Hamptons east for beach-appeal, Long Beach sits just beyond the Atlantic Beach club strip in which many are familiar. The Allegria’s intent, alongside Chef Jacobs with Atlantica, is to be a luxury destination attracting both Long Islanders and New York City residents to spend quality beach side time without the bustle of Hampton’s pretense or traffic. Allegria’s owner Allen Rosenberg brought in Chef Todd Jacobs whose accolades include the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, Tierra Mar in Westhampton Beach and of course the former Atlantica, to oversee all kitchen operations and lead his vision of a gourmet restaurant within a destination hotel. “Todd is a guy who doesn’t put on airs, which fit since I wanted to create a restaurant and hotel without pretense,” said Rosenberg during our interview. “Also, I was impressed that he used the freshest ingredients available, most of which are local.” Their partnership was sealed by a simple handshake, prompting Jacobs’ big move from east to west shortly thereafter, to which Jacobs commented, “The current economy has made things pretty

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tough all over, but especially in the Hamptons because it’s more seasonal. In Long Beach, multi-million dollar condos and a more densely populated area bring much more opportunity.” The entire building was redesigned by Bali born Tonny Sadha, also responsible for the W Hotel in New York and Foxwoods Resort & Casino, to name a few. As a result, Atlantica has re-emerged with a sleek, modern interior ala South Beach with European flavor. Once inside, it’s easy to forget you’re still on Long Island. But does Atlantica’s American cuisine measure up to all this grandeur? Several weeks ago, we entered the restaurant through the hotel and rode the elevator up to the L’onda (translation: the “wave”) lounge at boardwalk level. The room was stylishly candle lit complete with inviting sofas and chairs surrounding its focal point, an over-sized dual-sided fireplace. On its opposing wall was a communal table available for larger groups. And although just a few souls were cocktailing at the lounge’s circular mosaic bar on a Thursday night, it’s likely the warmer season will bring beach goers and cocktail parties to this ideal setting. Directly preceding the main dining room revealed yet another sleek, white bar that seats eight where we relaxed with a pre-dinner glass of Bancroft Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Before we were seated, I couldn’t resist a short tour of the spacious, romantic main dining room designed in subdued blue and earthy beach hues complimented by angled framed mirrored walls that mimic the sparkle of the sun hitting the water. The wood floor is reminiscent


The glass enclosed wine room is a private dining area that surrounds 6 to 8 guests with racked bottles of various vintages.

of the boardwalk. Floating, color-changing fiber-optic light fixtures resemble jelly fish to create an underwater experience. It’s plain to see that designer Sadha took a lot of his design cues from the surroundings. The private dining room, which accommodates 16, also reflects a beach setting. The hanging light fixtures resemble droplets of water, while one textured wall plays off white sand, complete with starfish. The host then led us into an exclusive wine room, a glass enclosed private dining area that seats 6 to 8 guests flanked by racked bottles of wine between glass walls. Our server presented menus divided into “Sea,” “Earth,” and “Vegetarian,” and advised the menu changes frequently to reflect the organic and locally grown produce available for the freshest of ingredients. Five to six specials are also offered nightly. The wine list offers over 100 local, national and international wines. For the first course, we ordered a rich lobster and tomato bisque flecked with fresh parsley. Each creamy spoonful shined with flavors of fresh lobster. A hint of smokiness further heightened this very satisfying soup, quite comforting on a chilly night. To follow, a fresh sesame tuna tartare was served, bright pink and accompanied by a creamy, yet spicy wasabi sauce and vibrant mesculin greens in a light vinaigrette. This appetizer rested atop a crispy fried potato base, which added some welcome crunch and heartiness to the dish. We could not resist the Hudson Valley foie gras available that evening. This was served with smoked local scallop and greens topped by a colorful raspberry walnut vinaigrette. The foie gras was buttery on the inside and seared perfectly with a decorative cross mark on the outside. The scallop was tender and cooked to perfection while the sweet, nutty dressing balanced the dish nicely. Stepping out-of-the-box we ventured to try one of the Chef’s signature dishes at the suggestion of our server – a grilled oyster from the Shinnecock Bay served with American caviar. The warm oyster and salty finish from the caviar were unexpected and pleasant. Overall, all four starters offered layers of fresh flavors and were pleasing to the eye and palate. For entrées, we ordered the charbroiled organic Scottish salmon with lemon caper vinaigrette served with a medley of grilled vegetables and a pleasantly sweet organic brown rice. The fresh salmon was moist and tasty, and the vibrant, lemony capers added a welcome boost to the plate. Our sampling from the sea was a winner. 94 spring 2010 woodbury

Following, from the “earth” portion of the menu, was sliced oven roasted breast of Long Island free range duck served in a maple stout reduction with sautéed spinach and forest mushrooms with sweet potato puree. As duck is a hearty dish (and not at all dry – a common faux pas) the sweet notes of the maple stout reduction and potatoes complimented it well, as did the hearty morels on top. For steak lovers, do not miss the charbroiled grass fed filet mignon with forest mushroom cream, which is served with a medley of grilled vegetables and oven roasted Yukon gold potatoes. The combination of succulent beef with its creamy overlay was outstanding. According to the Chef, grass fed beef is full of vitamin B12, should that lessen your fat-fueled guilt. Accompaniments for each entrée were ample, colorful and fresh. Grand finales include a calorie-worthy velvety vanilla crème brulée and the chocolate hazelnut marquis that will stand up to the most fervent chocoholics (as such, this was our favorite). This dessert was so dense it’s a wise choice to share. Other selections catching our eye were s’mores, caramel apple pie tartlet a la mode and good ole homemade vanilla and chocolate ice cream. Although, as with most grand projects, it was a bit of a bumpy opening with controversial building issues, changes in location, staffing shifts and more, the rough waters have seemed to settle. As Atlantica is about to embark on its first spring and summer season sure to bring in plenty of business, time will tell if it can sustain the quality we experienced. For now, the fare and atmosphere have proven worthy of a new navigation setting. |

Atlantica Restaurant 80 West Broadway, Long Beach cuisine: New American

reservations: 516.992.3730

hours: breakfast Mon-Sat, 6am-11am, Sun 7am-11am;

Sun brunch*, 11am-3pm; lunch Mon-Sat, 11am-4pm; dinner Mon-Sun, 4pm-Midnight space: main dining area seats 130, exclusive wine room for 6-8 guests, L’onda lounge with communal table, private dining room for up to 22 guests, outdoor seating in good weather, Living room with fireplace, couches, separate menu with lighter fare and piano player range: Soups/Salads $8-$14; Apps $12-$20; Entrees $24-$40; Desserts $8-$10 more: wheelchair accessibility, children’s menu *Sun brunch, $38 per person includes unlimited appetizer buffet, entrée, coffee & tea and one Mimosa or Bloody Mary.


food fanatic

Sweet on Sugar

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by marissa candela Long Island, the recipe for success involves more than a winning idea and cosmetic overhaul; especially in a restaurant located in a nondescript Carle Place strip mall that debuted this summer when most of the North Shore flees east. Despite its taboo timing, Sugar has been bubbling over with clientele seeking quality fare, flair and fun minus the hassle of having to change venues after dinner or schlepping into the city to party. Sugar Dining Den and Social Club is a pretty sweet concept, filled with promise to put a much needed charge into the nightlife scene on Long Island.

The driving forces behind Sugar are manager Brian Rosenberg, who brings years of experience in the hospitality, culinary and nightlife sectors from both New York City and Long Island, along with Len Oliva and Joe DiGirolomo, owners of the Ciao Baby Restaurant Group, and entrepreneur Randy Narod. Sugar was born when Rosenberg was approached by the group to assist in amping up Ciao Baby’s nightlife, as he also spearheads a hospitality marketing and public relations group called BRNY. Unbeknownst to them, Rosenberg was in the process of searching for an ideal spot to bring his nightlife vision to fruition and was instantly smitten with the cavernous space. A partnership was sealed that very afternoon. Ciao Baby closed on July 1st, 2009 and reopened as Sugar on May 6th, 2010.

Having undergone a yearlong remodel and transformation, the design is nothing short of impressive. Once you get past the shopping center vibe, you’ll agree you’ve found a diamond in the rough. Upon entering its airy exterior, you’re greeted by a sleek, sexy bar and lounge where there’s an eclectic yet comfortable crowd cocktailing while music blares above. The unique domed ceilings give the space an intimate feel, but do not be fooled – you must be in the mood to embrace the aura of a boisterous environment; you will need to turn up your vocals to be heard. The spacious lounge is adorned with colorful mosaics by artist Fernanda Cohen and gives way to a hostess station and dining room predominantly comprised of tables flanked by spacious velvet booths for larger parties and after-hours table service. The backdrop of the dining room’s surround is glass enclosed trees that project a 3D hologram. Giving the illusion of an endless forest, this unique design was crafted by Louis & Dizon, famous for their work in such places as Butter and more recently, Lavo. And for those who can’t leave their sports behind, the oversized back bar flat screens are sure to please. But is it really possible to marry cutting edge cuisine with fabulous nightlife and not miss a beat? We sampled Sugar to find out. Attentive service with a smile starts from the outset, where our “Sugar-coated” server Anthony greeted us with a simple explanation of the small plate cuisine, recommending we order 2-3 dishes each. Small plate dining is both ideal for those who can appreciate the variety of menu offerings and festive for groups. Entrees are also available for those who don’t care to share.

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Sugar Dining Den and Social Club 248 Voice Rd, Carle Place www.sugarli.com Restaurant Hours:

Tues-Sat, 4-11pm Late Night Hours:

Tues-Sat, 11pm-1am Lounge Hours:

Thur-Sat, 11pm Chef Hok Chin, a native of Hong Kong, clearly brings his extensive experience from La Caravelle, Tavern on The Green, Essex House, and more. His first time working on Long Island, Chin had no preconceived notions of the area, but had a clear idea of what he would like to do. This was greatly appealing to Rosenberg. And although Chin is predominantly trained in French and American cuisine, the playful, creative menu is laden with global influences – an iota of Italian, a smattering of American, a bit of bistro, a generous helping of Asian fusion and sushi, so it’s hard not to find something appetizing. We started off perusing the specialty cocktail menu, which offers choices like a Black & White Cookie, Sugar-Sugar Lemonade, Swedish Fish and Sugar Sweet Cotton Candy, but opted to try the signature Pineapple Almond Joy, comprised of Bacardi Coco and Pineapple Rum, fresh coconut and pineapple juice with a generous toasted coconut rim. Too sweet for me, my dining partner enjoyed the martini, and I opted for a glass of Silver Birch Sauvignon Blanc from the extensive wine list, which even offers sangria, sake and Sugar’s own brand of vino. The plates arrived sporadically, so not to be overwhelmed by too many dishes at once. And when sharing, the magic number of items is four. To start, we tried the honey maple glazed smoked pulled pork mini tacos. Four little crunchy shells were presented on a long dish decorated with chopped scallion and tomato that enveloped very tender, sweet pork – a fun dish that disappeared quickly. Another fine kick-off was the yellow fin tuna tartar cones, consisting of tender tuna inside a light, crispy cone and flavored with wasabi tobiko yuzu dressing topped with kimchi and seaweed salad. The dish was cleverly presented upright in a holder especially made for the mini cones. The calamari salad then arrived just in time. I mistakenly assumed the fish was grilled, not lightly fried. Even so, the rings were tender and crispy and nestled under a bed of arugula, fennel, mango and other mixed greens sprinkled with sesame seeds and sliced red and yellow peppers. The vibrant, zesty dressing comprised of Thai basil, lime and fish sauce had a spicy finish and contradicted the sweet mango, making the dish a standout. Another notable dish was the sea bass, reminiscent in flavor to shrimp toast due to its light, crispy coating. Generous pieces of tender fish rested atop a generous amount of duck sauce with a smattering of eggplant and topped with micro basil. And while the sweetness of the duck sauce was sometimes overwhelming, the dish then surprised with a pleasing spicy finish. We then ventured toward some Italian-inspired dishes. Skip the mediocre pot of meatballs and opt for the pizza, which is more of a focaccia reminiscent of a Sicilan slice in thickness, yet light in density. Topped with caramelized onions, creamy goat cheese and micro basil, the hearty pizza was first rate. Around 9:30 pm, tables in the center of the dining room started to be cleared, bar stools removed and lighted cocktail tables moved in, a cue that Sugar’s late night transformation was under way. While this was going on, a GNO birthday was taking place in the booth behind us, complete with a bottle of champagne adorned with celebratory sparkler and cupcake sliders. It was refreshing to see a unique spin on the celebration rather than yet another lackluster rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Our attention was brought back to the table with a one-two punch of culinary delights. First, a plate of outstanding hangar steak, tender and cooked to order and complimented by smoky potatoes, mushrooms and onions. Next, exceptional marinated teriyaki eel sliders arrived with guacamole, greens and a side of thick, French fried potatoes. And while we opted not to order any of the side dishes, the large sesame crusted tuna salad proved to be an ample, delectable accompaniment to all the shared plates. An unremarkable and somewhat dry chicken satay broke the winning streak, but redemption was soon found in dessert. At our server’s recommendation, we tried the peanut butter crepes. PB fanatics rejoice – these mouth-watering crepes served warm (the key) were packed with creamy peanut butter and chocolate and drizzled with more molten chocolate and broken Reese’s peanut butter cups. Fresh whipped cream and berries adorned the plate. Next visit, it’s definitely a tossup between the Dim Sum ice cream or the Sugar Orgy, which serves up to four people. At the meal’s end, the restaurant was fully turned over and the dining room cleared for dancing. We moved over to the bar and at 11pm, a dramatic intro from the DJ kicked off a multi-colored laser light show that emanated from the domed ceiling. The DJ commenced spinning classic and contemporary tunes, and both diners and loungers gradually made their way over to the dance floor. The booths were then gradually roped off for reserved table service with a late night menu. And naturally, the crowd shifts to the younger partying set as the night wears on. But don’t run off! The fun, eclectic mix of jet-setting North Shore-ites rubbing shoulders with sparkles, minis and cleavage makes for fascinating people watching while you get your groove on. Through it all, Sugar doesn’t take itself too seriously, even encouraging party goers to let their hair down in a controlled chaotic atmosphere. Whether you choose to go as a party of 2 or 20, Sugar offers a complete night out. So, if a trek to Manhattan for a fine dining and club-like experience seems daunting head to Carle Place. The food is surprisingly good and the overall atmosphere is a delight for the senses, offering pure escapism close to home. Just remember to wear your most comfortable pair of (killer) heels if you choose to dance the night away… |

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© iStockphoto.com/alteryourreality

food fanatic

WINE APPRECIATION:

more relatable (and affordable) than ever by marissa candela

Whether it’s red or white, to enjoy a fine bottle of wine is an experience in itself. Wine enthusiasts know the drill. Observe the color and clarity, and appreciate the aromas as the wine swirls within the glass, then taste. Observe the subtle nuances and notes, feel the weight of it on your tongue and enjoy its finish. While the “nectar of the gods” has existed for centuries with the oldest bottle of wine corked in 325 A.D., wine interest continues to soar, moreso in recent years with the help of mainstream media and box office hits like Sideways in 2004. What’s more, the popularity of California wines has enabled the U.S. to become a major player in the market. In fact, seventy-five percent of wine consumed in the U.S. comes from the States, leaving just 25% to the imports. Not surprising, as every state in the U.S. has at least 2 wineries, and California leads the way with 90% of production. Following is 88 fall 2009 woodbury

Washington, New York, (with Long Island producing some unbelievable wines) and Oregon. No longer is wine appreciation an otherworldly “snobby hobby,” It’s more relatable than ever.

Weeding Through the Vines Kevin Zraly, founder and instructor of the Windows on the World Wine School and best selling author of the number one wine book entitled, Windows on the World Complete Wine Course (currently celebrating its 25th anniversary) has traveled around the world for 40 years to 20 different countries, to build on his vast wine knowledge. But how much do you really need to know when you simply want to buy a good bottle at a great price? Zraly commented, “The overwhelming choices when someone walks into a wine store are staggering, moreso than 40 years ago. Part of my job is to find a $10 bottle of wine that tastes like $20. For me as a professional consumer, I’m still always searching for that great, well-priced bottle of wine. So to begin, simply find the best value – and there are many. In fact, in the history of world, this is the ‘golden age of wine’ in terms of quality.”

East Hills Wine Market on Glen Cove Road offers clients a wide selection and staff who are in the know, especially if you’re willing to try new wines. In fact, owner Matt Schweiger always advises his clients to take risks when making a selection. “The only way to learn or to gain experience is keep trying different wines. Why always go for the brand names? There are literally thousands of small production wineries, so try a wine that you have never heard of that is made with love and passion. There are just too many great bottles to enjoy under $20.”

Ladies, Did You Know? Women are the #1 buyers of wine in the U.S.; women also have a better sense of smell than men, and wine is all about its aroma.

© iStockphoto.com/danesteffes

Wine has evolved for thousands of years. Just like you, each varietal has unique characteristics and is a product of its environment – a direct result of the love and care it’s shown from the vine to the bottle, just waiting to be uncorked.


A Note To The Novices… keep a note card handy to log your feedback on wines tried so you can reference it when venturing your next new purchase; or to be sure you can recall your new favorite.

The “Big

Six” Picks

Although we love rosés, too, let’s keep it simple by focusing on what’s known as “The Big Six.” For whites, this includes Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay, in the order of lightest to heaviest. For reds, this includes Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, also in the ascending weight order. For food pairings, the rule of thumb is to match the weight of the wine with the food. To simplify, Zraly advises to think of these wines in terms of milk textures. For example, Riesling and Pinot Noir can be considered “skim milk,” Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot would be “whole milk” and Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are likened to “heavy cream.” Simply match them with foods that can stand up to the wine’s body and weight. To cut through some of the legwork, wine experts Zraly and Haskel have recommended excellent wines in each varietal that retail for under $20 a bottle, along with suggested food pairings. This should set an easy precedent for you to follow when making your own wine purchases.

Wine expert and consultant Brad Haskel, who has breathed muchneeded life into wine lists and instilled programs for top-rated restaurants on Long Island, also shares this philosophy. “Look for places that are not the über-hot region of the moment with a great wine making reputation. I pay a bit more attention to those because their prices soften a little bit, so you can find something excellent. For example, for a great French wine, look outside Bordeaux and Burgundy and you’re likely to find great wine at a much better deal.”

WHITES

Riesling Zraly’s Pick: Dr. Konstantin Frank Dry Riesling 2007 (Finger Lakes, NY) – $18

with a light cream sauce, or even with clams and oysters. It’s also great as an apéritif.

This wine presents a green gold hue, crisp acidity, a pronounced mineral character and layers of mango, citrus and pear blossoms in the nose.

Haskel’s Pick: Selbach Fish Label Riesling 2007 (Mosel, Germany) – $14

Food pairing: Overall, a Riesling would get lost under swordfish or tuna. Instead, so go with a lighter fish like Dover sole or flounder, perhaps

A racy, nervy Riesling at a very affordable price. Food pairing: This is tremendously versatile wine that is as at home with take out Chinese food, as it is with delicate fish.

Sauvignon Blanc Zraly’s Pick: Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc 2007 (Napa Valley, CA) – $17 Crisp and taut on the palate, this wine’s bright acid makes it bracing and refreshing – a wine of engaging distinctiveness, much like the appellation from which it originates. It’s meant to be consumed young. Food Pairing: As this wine has more body, you could put it with a red snapper or any other medium-bodied fish such as bass, shrimp or scallops.

Haskel’s Pick: Henri Bourgeois Petit Bourgeois Sauvignon Blanc 2008 (Loire Valley) – $13

And for Pinot Grigio lovers…Try this recession

This wine, fermented in stainless steel tanks, is crisp and lively and can rightfully be referred to as a “baby Sancerre.”

proofpick by proprietor Matt Schweiger from East Hills Wine Market:

Food Pairing: Raw oysters and clams are a classic pairing for this wine. The lemony crispness of the wine can almost take the place of squeezing a lemon on the oysters and clams.

Il Conte Pinot Grigio 2006 (Veneto, Italy) – $11

Chardonnay Zraly’s Pick: Chateau St. Jean 2006-2007 (Sonoma, CA) – $13 This wine is more towards the medium style and is clean and crisp with a “kiss” of oak. Food Pairing: This Chardonnay is very much like a Pinot Noir – almost like a white wine masking as a red. Ideally, pair it with salmon, tuna, swordfish, lobster, or chicken. Haskel’s Pick: Darby & Joan Chardonnay 2008 (Southeast Australia) – $11

While there are elements of tropical fruit, oak, and lemon, no one element dominates, and the balance of the wine is its greatest asset. Food Pairing: A very classic pairing would be grilled wild Alaskan salmon. Salmon is a naturally fatty fish that matches up very well with the weight of this New World Chardonnay. Sautéed shrimp would also pair beautifully. The shrimp have an inherent sweetness that matches to the tropical fruit element of the wine.

This is a dry white wine exhibiting pale straw yellow color. The clean, intense aroma and the dry flavor with pleasant citrine finish make this Pinot Grigio a wine of character and versatility. It’s excellent as an apéritif and is the ideal accompaniment to seafood salads, fish-and shellfish-based pasta and rice courses. Also perfect with white meats, boiled or grilled fish and with soufflé.

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REDS

Pinot Noir Zraly’s Pick: Castle Rock Pinot Noir 2007 (Sonoma County, CA) – $14

Haskel’s Pick: Ramsay Pinot Noir 2007 (North Coast, CA) – $17

This elegant, well-balanced wine offers aromas of red fruit and spice. On the palate, there are flavors of plum and cherry with oak nuances, and the finish is long and harmonious.

Kent Rasmussen, one of the pioneers of the Carneros region, created this more cost-effective label to make Pinot taste as Pinot should, at an affordable price. This is no easy feat. Light and delicate, balanced with tart cherry flavors, this is a true quality Pinot Noir for under $20.

Food Pairing: Light to medium bodied, Pinot Noir is the ultimate wine to serve at a dinner party or while dining out in a large group as it is a nice pairing with a multitude of entrees. It’s the ultimate grape for fish, meat, and even Portobello mushrooms.

For avid wine enthusiasts, check out the New York Wine Expo being held at the Jacob Javit’s Center in NYC this February. Don’t miss this opportunity to sample over 600 wines from over 170 winemakers from around the globe in the Grand Tasting. Log onto: www.wine-expos.com/Wine/NY/ for tickets and information.

Food pairing: This Pinot would be equally at home with pork, or fish. A lighter bodied alternative, this is one of the easiest reds to make the crossover to pairing with medium to fuller bodied fish. Salmon is a classic pairing, but tuna or monkfish would also work wonderfully.

Merlot Zraly’s Pick: St. Francis Merlot 2005-07 (Sonoma County, CA) – $17

Haskel’s Pick: Praxis Merlot 2006 (Sonoma County, CA) – $15

A medium to medium-full bodied, soft wine with superb fruit depth and voluptuous, ripe berry flavors carrying into a long, lovely finish. Can be consumed younger than a Cabernet.

This is Merlot, before it was massproduced, cheapened, and had its name sullied. Bill Arbios, long-time winemaker at Lyeth, has used his experience and vineyard relations to develop some lip-smacking velvety Merlot, with a little complexity and guts.

Food pairing: Pair it with meats such as filet mignon; fat and protein cut down tannins (tannins cause the dry “puckery” feeling in the mouth following the consumption of red wine), allowing your taste buds to focus on the fruit. Pork, duck and cream sauces also help cut the tannins in Merlot.

Food pairing: A grilled pork loin glazed with olive oil, and doused with spring herbs would be delectable.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Zraly’s Pick: Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 (Central Coast, CA) – $15

Mondavi consistently delivers as one of the best wineries in the U.S. producing quality wines at varying price points. This wine has a sweet black cherry and dark berry fruit character and is supported by velvety tannins and well-integrated oak. This is a wine of excellent depth, richness and length on the palate. Food Pairings: Lamb and grilled foods, such as sirloin steaks, sausage and game meats.

Now

Haskel’s Pick: Station Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 (Napa Valley, CA) – $15 This wine is sourced by New York wine importer, “The Little Wine Company,” in the old style of a French nègociant. They found growers with great fruit in Napa, and bottled up terrific lush Napa Cabernet fruit with ripe and soft tannins. Fifteen dollars and good Napa Valley Cabernet are not usually in the same sentence. Food pairing: Classic pairing of a great grilled NY strip steak, and an easy-going Cab. It’s hard to beat that combination.

that you have suggestions for several excellent wine and food pairings, it’s time to test your palette with a tasting. From connoisseurs to those intrigued to merely step into the world of wine appreciation, it’s both educational and entertaining to host wine tastings in your home, ask a few more questions at the wine market, or simply step out-of-the box with any new wine accompaniment. As the economy continues its struggles, these are affordable options that may inspire you to venture toward more lesser-known’s, open your taste buds to a new experience and allow you to get lost in the beauty of the vine. |

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To find out more information on Kevin Zraly’s wine books and classes, visit kevinzraly.com or www.windowswineschool.com. For more info on wine consultant Brad Haskel, visit haskelconsulting.com. For East Hills Wine Market, 52 Glen Cove Road, East Hills call 516.625.0517 or online-wine-club.com.


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