Matteo's: good family-style italian dining
Matteo's has been providing good quality italian food served family style for several years at this site, large portions suitable and intended for sharing - appetizers, entrees, pastas, and desserts. For this reason, dining parties are comprised of families and generally larger groups. The underdecorated room is located in a group of storefronts and local parking restrictions require the use of valets (or a parking summons). Service seems haphazard but they do get the job done. The menu is extensive with both southern and northern Italian dishes. And surprisingly the martinis are really very good. This is not haute cuisine, just very good food at reasonable prices. 6/17/06 update - places like this never change, but we do note that the martinis have become quite expensive lately.
Favorite Dish: most everything we have eaten on multiple trips has been quite good, but if there is one thing that stands out - we never order without getting something with the drop dead good bolognese sauce, the best I have had outside italy at any cost or location. A side dish of escarole and Tuscan white beans had enough garlic to kill a few vampires and was also very good on a recent visit.
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Ravagh Persian Grill: Persian Cuisine on the Island
This Persian restaurant opened several years ago in the building formerly occupied by the horrible Roslyn Diner. Slowly it has become a local favorite by word of mouth and is quite busy most nights of the week. Typical eggplant appetizers, salads, and soups run a reasonable $3.50-5.00. Entrees are comprised of multiple kebab choices, persian stews, and simple grilled fish. Martinis are surprisingly good, and full bar service is ordered. The diner has been redecorated with subdued decor and lighting. The young service staff is helpful and reasonably efficient. Ravagh represents a pleasant and welcome change from the usual and ubiquitous grills and trattorias dotting the North Shore of Long Island and we eat in and take out regularly.
Favorite Dish: The kebabs are accompanied by saffron rice and grilled vegetables and all are quite good. Similarly, grilled fish such as salmon, trout, and striped and Chilean sea bass are specialties.
Bistro Citron: Upscale French Bistro in Roslyn
Bistro Citron is one of the few relatively reasonably priced French venues on in the north Mid-Nassau area. Set in downtown Roslyn village, the back tables overlook the delightful Roslyn duck pond. It is furnished in typical bistro fashion with framed mirrors and pictures. Service is adequate although the maitre d' has a bit of an attitude. The reservation system is bizarre- some tables are reserved with a waiting list while others are kept open for walk-ins.
The menu is typical bistro French. Appetizers at $8-15 included onion soup, tartares, escargot, and salads. Moules are available in several preparations ($13). Entrees range from $19-27 for chicken duck, hanger and steak frites, and several fish preparations. There is a selected daily special on a week-long rotating list including trout meuniere, cog au vin, and bouillabaisse. Daily entree specials are usually fish dishes.
We visit here regularly and are rarely disappointed. Martinis are above average although not spectacular.
Favorite Dish: We have been pleased with the salads. Streak frites, marinated checken, and salmon wrapped in rice paper have all been excellent entrees. For lighter dining there is an excellent but expensive hamburger with fries. The $32 roasted chicken for two is a frequent choice. And the ubiquitous french fries are very good, accompanying many dishes. There are a lot of desserts, but somehow we always end up with the very good profiteroles.
There is a small but active upscale bar scene at the attractive wooden bar in the entrance area.
La Viola: Classic North Shore Italian Restaurant
This Syosset institution has been turning out large portions of classic Italian dishes at reasonable prices for almost 30 years. Often crowded and somewhat noisy, service is nonetheless considerate and friendly, and one never feels rushed to vacate the table. With one or two exceptions, all dishes are available for either one or two people, and there is more than enough food on every plate. Time has not dulled the use of spice or softened the excellent meals presented. For 2, appetizers run $12-20, pastas $18-25, and entrees $18-32 except the steaks and veal chops which can run up to $50 for two. Desserts are for one all at $5.75 and decent coffee is $2 and cappucino $3.50. And the martinis, while of standard size, happen to be very good. We can recommend this place highly after many visits over 25 years. It never changes.
Favorite Dish: The best entree in the house is the country style chicken scarpariello (one of the only dishes not available for one diner). Recent successes included chicken parmagiana, shrimps marinara, and filet of sole francese. All the pastas are very good - the bolognese sauce is a particular favorite. Desserts are comercial, but more than adequate. And did I mention that for a family style restaurant the martinis are well above average. Yes, we like this place.
Main 415: a new venue to be avoided
in the venue formerly occupied by the avaricious and unlamented Bongo Bay, Dieter and his partner have opened this American-Steak and Seafood restaurant on the water in Port Washington. The previous tropical decor has been replaced with a retro melange of dark aquamarine and dull pink with bright pink tassels described by an interior designer at the table as a disaster. As much as I just LOVE country music, Merle Haggard Jesse Colter and Waylon Jennings was not the right musical selection for dining. The ambience is not helped by food deliveries through the dining room.
Sooo - the $9 martini wasn't bad and the bread basket was terrific. Amish style roast chicken was comprised of two rather scrawny legs with a small attached unidentifiable chicken part. The chicken was more bludgeoned with spice than aggressively spiced. The accompanying vinegar based sauce was thankfully ordered on the side as it was beyond consumption (does anyone remember when consumption meant tuberculosis?). The potato crust on the salmon could not disguise the fishy taste of an aged fish. A female member of the party described this as her worst meal in years. And get the prices - appetizers $10 and up, fish and chicken entrees $20-30 and steak and veal at $30-40. We passed on dessert. An all inclusive $28 prix fixe included soup, appetizer, entree, dessert, and coffee but the entrees interested nobody at our table. Happy hour 1600-1900 with half price drinks, free appetizers -wings, bruschetta, cheese, crudite with dip. We won't be back. 6/6/05 = neighbors state than this place was really terrific when it opened recently, but their 2 most recent visits were disastrous. You can't put lipstick on this pig
Favorite Dish: martini
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Sarin Thai Cuisine: New North Shore Thai Restaurant
this neighborhood thai restaurant includes the usual suspects on the menu including pad thai, curries, salads, vegetarian dishes. The meals are aggressively spiced (for the neighborhood) and portion size is quite good. The room is comfortable and simply decorated and service is quite adequate. The martinis are also adequate. There is no exotic martini menu but basic variants are available. This is a good local option. All six diners (all have been previously in Thailand) were overall very pleased.
Favorite Dish: an appetizer of fried squid (calamari) with a spicy plum sauce was a great starter.
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B Smith -2011 update: Dining at the Sag Harbor Marina
Barbara Smith is a noted personality - former and current model, expert on life style and decor - with three restaurants located on Restaurant Row in Manhattan, the Sequoia in Georgetown Washington DC, and this Sag Harbor venue. Much is made of the heritage of chef John Poon with French training combined with experience at many large restaurants including America and Saloon in New York and Sequoia. He is noted for created interpretations of classic dishes, of which there are plenty at B. Smith.
The bar at B. Smith is a problem - one companion sent back a straight scotch twice for a watered - down drink. Two martinis for me - both remarkably impotent.
A large raw bar menu at market price, several soups at $12 including creamed lobster chowder, and an appetizer list at $16-20 including mussels, thai-spiced chicken wings, curried oysters, and shrimp dumplings serve for starters. Salads in the $14 range were mundane. The entrees range from multiple lobster entrees ( see below ), chicken, ribs, rack of lamb, and multiple steak offerings averaging $35. Prices are typical high Hamptons level. But like most Hamptons restaurants, quality does not necessarily follow price. Nobody really comes here for high quality dinners, famous chef or not.
B Smith is all about venue - the interior is modern black and white, the favored tables are out on the deck overlooking the marina with innumerable large luxury yachts and overlooking the harbor with the potential for amazing sunset views. And the crowd - pure upscale Hamptons - poorly shaven men with t-shirts and jeans, women in expensive and frequently risque outfits and plenty of jewelry.
Favorite Dish: The house specialties center on lobster and steak - a lobster salad placed in the shell of a lobster with the meat remaining in the claws at $40 and 1.5 and 2.5 lb. lobsters at $40 and $50. Fresh tasty clams on the half shell and the renowned lobster salad plate made for a very adequate meal. Steaks on an adjoining table looked very nice.
1.5 stars for food, 5 stars for location and venue.
2011 update === nothing has changed here, same high price decent but nowhere near good food, less crowded, and at least on the July 4 weekend a considerably less upscale clientele.
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Saracen: Upscale Hamptons Italian Dining
Every 3 or 4 years a new name appears in front of this rambling house, signalling a new Italian upscale restaurant. Always decent and always crowded with a clientele of both hip young and sedate well-groomed older diners, it provides a decent meal canted toward Itaian preparations of grilled fish but with menu wide enough to satisfy all comers. There are steak, pork, chicken dishes offered all with an Italian orientation including a large steak done Florentine style. There is also a relatively large pasta menu, and pasta dishes seemed quite popular at neighboring tables. Decor is minimal, service is adequate (although probably better for the young well-to-do diners and the regulars) and the noise level can be high particularly with the Saturday DJ. During the winter, prix fixe complete dinnners are about $26. The alacarte prices on Saturdays during the winter and in season are quite high with appetizers $10-15, entrees $25-38 and desserts all $9.50. Our party went totally fish - mussels, 4 different entrees - and were satisfied by adequate portions prepared adequately but in no way exceptional. As is typical in the Hamptons, the martini was very average.
Favorite Dish: An appetizer of mussels was disappointing, mushy and in a tasteless broth. The fish entrees included salmon, tilapia, shrimp,and stuffed sole and were bland and unexciting but certainly not bad in any way. Just not distinguished. Each comes with a group of vegetables on the side. Assorted baked desserts including the blueberry tart were actually quite good as was the coffee. All in all, a typical upscale Hampton eatery - great crowd, decent inoffensive food, high prices.
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Trattoria Diane: Upscale American With an Italian Touch
Diane's has been serving an upscale clientele in this location for many years. Housed in an old building with brick floors, simple beige walls, and a multitude of black and white framed images of Venice on two floors connected by a broad stairway. The servers are friendly and helpful, but can never seem to remember which dish goes where without holding an auction. Spacing between tables is more than adequate. Salad, soup, and assorted appetizers run $8-15 dollars with the higher prices for shellfish items. Entrees begin at $21 for chicken up to $38 for steak, with a large number of fish entrees in the middle of that range. A popular favorite is the Tuscan pot roast. All come with a side order of potatoes/rice and/or vegetables. Martinis are of average quality and wines by the bottle and glass are not cheap. A large dessert menu including profiteroles, many tarts, and cakes are all priced at relatively reasonable $8.50. Over the years, as is often the case with a successful venture, seasoning and innovation have receded into the background leaving a relatively bland and unremarkable dining experience. Reservations mandatory for weekends.
Favorite Dish: Expensive and quite adequate, but hardly worth a long detour. On our last visit, fish and duck entrees were underseasoned although otherwise properly prepared. Similarly, side dishes were not in any way special.
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Trata: Excellent Greek-Style Hamptons Seafood Restaurant
This Greek restaurant is a branch of a well-known Manhattan eatery on 2nd Avenue, occupying a ramshackle house previously best known for having a new failed restaurant each year. It has been open about 6 weeks and already is jammed. It may well survive more than the minimum one year period. The room has been redecorated in white with scattered orange, lime, and lemon pillows on the banquettes. Despite acoustic tiles, it is extremely noisy like most "hot" Hamptons restaurants and has a very active bar scene with young beautiful people. However, both the drinks including the martinis and the food is far above Hamptons average. House specialty - any one of 8-10 listed fish grilled whole and market-priced per pound. Salads and appetizers predominantly seafood done Greek style $9-18, entrees similar $28-35 with a few more expensive steak entrees, and desserts also predominantly Greek at $9. On weekdays, a complete dinner 3 course pre-fixe is $24.
Favorite Dish: excellent appetizers included grilled rosemary scallops, several greek-style salads. Favored entrees included baked chilean sea bass with tomato onion and pepper in a white wine sauce baked in a pot, salmon with grilled vegetables and Greek spaghetti with sauteed shrimps scallops spinach and tomato in a wine sauce. Maybe because this restaurant has just opened, the quality of the food served was a distinct notch above the usual overpriced Hamptons fare and well worth a visit. Particularly on summer weekends, reservations are mandatory.
UPDATE - 11/11/2006 ---- unlike most Hamptons places, the food continues to be superb a year into existence. Sure, it costs a fortune, but so does everywhere else and the food remains a full cut above. The images are from their menu, but are accurate depictions of the food (and my spousal unit will be damned if she will let me take a photo in a Hamptons restaurant ).
Sisina: Specialties of Capri - Home of the Owner
Sisina is the latest and apparently the most successful operation in this building which appears to originally have been constructed for a dairy queen. The front wall has been replaced with a slider allowing for al fresco dining overlooking the Port Washington marina scene, separated, as so often in places like Liguria, the water by a main street. Service is quite good and unhurried and the full service bar serves good martinis. Etrees including chicken parm and scarpariello, salmon with salad, and a mixed grill at prices between $12 and 20, but the standout items here are the great salads ($9-12), pannini and wraps (all$9) and the excellent thin crust pizzas ($9-15). Later in the evening one can linger over coffee and imagine for just a moment that there has been a magical transport to Liguria. The all-Italian service staff except busboys of course is friendly and helpful. For an open air trattoria, the "very good" rating by the New York Times and "the best restaurant in Port Washington" by Zagat's are worth noting (altho I have very serious doubts about the Zagat's opinion).
Favorite Dish: We have eaten many of the available thin crust pizzas and can recommend them uniformly. Those with mushroom and sausage have been very good indeed. The pastas are named after sites on Capri including monte solaro and villa jovis and are well-prepared variants of the classic offerings.
Aqua Blue: Roslyn Village Italian - Hits Rock Bottom
Some years ago, the owners of the thoroughly mediocre La Taverna morphed their enterprise into Aqua Blue by repainting the walls an industrial grade light blue and adding, of all things, several high priced steaks to the same old menu. Housed in an old house set off the main street of the village, little else changed including perpetually horrid service. The best reason to come here - couldn't get a reservation elsewhere. Improvements previously described with the arrival of a new chef have vanished, presumable along with the chef. The tacky martini glasses with the corporate logos have returned. And the latest in a line of chefs is awful. Service remains haphazard and irritating - the room is shared by 2 headwaiters, one an intrusive loud Portuguese guy and the other a disheveled woman attempting to speak with a British accent but not succeeding. Appetizers and salads run $6-12, pastas $12-17 and available in half portions, and entrees $18-28 with one residual steak at $32.
Favorite Dish: Recent improvements in food quality - gone. This place has hit an all-time low. I wish I could think of something good to say, but our latest visit was a total disaster.
Riverbay Seafood Bar and Grill: consistent excellence in seafood
CLOSED - SOLD THE LAND TO TD BANK FOR A BLOODY FORTUNE.
ALLEGEDLY TO REOPEN IN THE SPACE FORMERLY OCCUPIED BY TRATA IN ROSLYN --- CHECK IT OUT.
Located about as far from the shoreline as one can be on Long Island, Riverbay has for many years provided an excellent dining experience. Under the same ownership as a tony upscale North Shore steakhouse, prices are surprisingly reasonable with entrees largely below 25US$ and appetizers below $10 except lobster. . Decor and ambience simulate the shorefront places. All the seafood seems fresh on several visits. Given the ownership I imagine the steak offerings are also pretty good but I have never seen one. The best offerings are the simple grilled fish along with the raw shellfish. Valet parking is provided. Reservations are not accepted - expect long waits. And note - this place is about seafood, not booze. The martinis are average at best and there is no exotic martini menu at all. 1/25/06 --- recent visits confirm Riverbay as a premiere dining destination. A short exotic martini menu has been added. 7/2/06 - this place, for the time being at least, has entered a phase where they don't do anything wrong.
Favorite Dish: raw shellfish appetizers, grilled salmon, swordfish (not politically correct - endangered), tilapia. When available as a special, the wild salmon is great at 25.50$US. On our most recent trip, whole branzino was very good.
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il Mulino: One of Long Island's Best Restaurants
This haute Italian restaurant is the only branch of New York City's famed il Mulino, in Zagat's Top 50 every year. Housed in an ordinary building on a business block of Northern Boulevard, the interior is absolutely elegant. On being seated, plates of pepperoni and mushrooms are waiting soon to be joined by zucchini in olive oil, hand-served bruschetta with mussels, and as in the original NYC venue, chunks of parmesan hand cut from a wheel brought to the table.
There is an extensive fixed menu with multiple specials read by the server. Appetizers on the menu are 12-20$, pastas 22-30+, and entrees 28-40$.l Prices are not listed for the more expensive items such as lobster and steak. Specials are fare more. Desserts begin at $12. Based on our experience and the recommendations of friends, everything on this menu is an adventure in dining excellence.
Sadly, service seems devoted to moving the table as fast as possible. There was constant pressure from the service staff for speedy ordering, eating, and leaving. The server attempted to get our dinner order before our drink order. We successfully delayed ordering our food till the drinks had been ordered but both arrived at the same time. The busboys tried to clear our plates before we were done eating as the waiter hovered nearby to get our dessert and coffee orders. When one diner ordered a refill on coffee, the remaining plates were cleared and the bill presented. This type of hurry up service is more appropriate to a neighborhood Chinese restaurant and unacceptable in this setting and especially at these prices.
This restaurant may offer some of the best food being served on Long Island - indeed, it does - but the experience is severely downgraded by the service.
Favorite Dish: For starters, the preliminaries were excellent and the martini was professional quality. The entree hit was two large pork chops with onions and diced roasted potatoes. Veal medallions with fresh artichokes and mushrooms was similarly superb, as was a chicken breast dish with fresh vegetables. A flourless chocolate cake was dressed with fresh berries in a zabaglione sauce - good enough to die for.
Pine Island Grill at the Crescent Club: Upscale Dining on Long Island Sound
This stunning contemporary restaurant occupies a premier location on the white sand beach of the Long Island Sound at Bayville. Romantic dinners on the expansive decks or in the mod dining room favor the sunsets over the sound with views across to the Connecticut shore. High ceilings and modern decor create a great ambience and a perfect setting for dining, eating at the grill,the sushi bar, the raw bar, or drinking at the upscale bar on the upper level. The lower level, after failures at being a posh beach club and then an upscale gym, now has achieved success catering to "weddings on the beach". In the past, numerous high profile chefs have come and gone. The meals have generally been characterized by small portions of mediocre food at high prices and with abysmal service. Even the NYC restaurant team of Drew Nierepont has been in and out as a failure. The current chef and his team are among the best in recent memory. The prices remain high but the food is beautifully presented with large portions and most important - it's surprisingly good.
An expansive Sunday brunch with complimentary mimosa or champagne is $22. The raw bar and sushi bar are amazingly costly, and even the hamburger available only at the grill is $16. Appetizers range up to $20, soups and salads $9-12. entrees $30-40, pastas $25, and desserts $9+. The $12 martinis are particularly notable. The food presentation can be a work of art, especially the desserts. The website menu is generally accurate both for the food and the pricing, and is quite extensive.
The sunsets and the beach views may be among the best on Long Island, but unfortunately the service continues to rank amongst the worst. The lucrative wedding parties come first, and the wait for menus, drinks and courses can be up to 45 minutes. Continuing a long standing tradition, the trendly young black-clad servers are disinterested, unhelpful, and inept. Requests are forgotten and service is by the auction method.
Favorite Dish: We were far more pleased with this meal than many in the past - drawn by the sunset, we actually enjoyed our food over the 3+ hours it took to arrive. The hit of the evening was the scallop and shrimp entree with roasted corn and cous cous. Other good meals included the grilled teriyaki salmon with grilled pineapple and brown rice and an excellent asian marinated skirt steak with wasabi mashed potatoes. Both the caesar and the pine island salads were shared adequately and were very good. The chocolate indulgence cake made a great dessert.
The menu is very extensive, very modern haute, and fully described including cost on the website. Worth checking out in advance.