The main attraction at Mac's Steakhouse is a venerable selection of grass-fed steaks dry aged for at least 28 days. The gourmet cuts include 12-ounce new york strips served with potatoes au gratin, 16-ounce boneless rib eyes, and filets mignons that the New York Times lauds for their "velvety texture and well-made b?arnaise sauce." Though the steaks may get top billing, they share the limelight with an estimable array of seafood, including grilled salmon, white tuna, and a saut?ed shrimp-and-lobster combo served with vegetable risotto. Not to be outshined by the victuals, the restaurant's wine list traces the globe with varietals culled from California, France, Tuscany, Argentina, and Spain that have earned it an Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator.
To enter Mac's 7,000-square-foot interior, guests pass through 10-foot-high, 100-year-old carved wooden doors. They cross the threshold into a high-ceilinged space with 150-year-old wood-plank floors. Paintings of cattle adorn the walls, and guests can peer into a wine cellar tucked behind glass panels.
The grill is always hot at Sur Argentinian Steakhouse. On any given day, you'll find the aromas of sizzling filet mignon, apple-glazed pork chops, and New Zealand lamb wafting through the espresso-colored woodwork of the dining room. The centerpiece, however?of Sur and of its namesake country's cuisine?is the parrillada, a couple-size platter of short ribs, skirt steak, shell steak, sausages, and sweetbreads adorned with the chimichurri and salsa criolla that season much of the menu. In a favorable review, the New York Times also praised the shrimp?one of several sea creatures to be found in the kitchen?along with "moist and juicy" chicken and "silken flan" for dessert. Crisp, white linens, sparkling glassware, and windows made of recycled monocles add new elegance to the former Canterbury Ales space, while rustic touches such as a giant farmhouse painting keep it appropriately grounded for a temple to the earthy pleasures of meat and fire.
Dix Hills Diner's chef says that his philosophy is to "keep it simple." That's why he makes familiar diner dishes, such as soups, sandwiches, and steaks, from fresh ingredients and adds a single, memorable twist. He finishes off broiled beef liver with a demi-glace and stuffs baked jumbo shrimp in garlic sauce with a bit of crabmeat. Such dishes fit right in with the retro yet modern decor, which features classic blue-and-yellow vinyl booths as well as chic recessed ceiling lights.
A Long Island native born into an Italian American family, Joseph Balbo knew early on that he wanted to devote his life to cooking. He honed his skills at the Italian Culinary Institute in Calabria, learning to combine traditional, Old World sensibilities with a New World spirit of innovation. Now manning the stovetops at Porto Vivo, which the New York Times called ?Huntington?s latest hot spot,? in 2009, Chef Balbo runs a kitchen that has served numerous celebrities, including Serena Williams, celebrity chef Todd English, and Billy Joel.
The menu brims with familiar yet refined Italian staples, such as lobster ravioli with shaved black truffle and parmesan-crusted veal milanese. The chefs also demonstrate their creativity by glazing pan-seared Alaskan halibut with a yuzu vinaigrette and frying grappa-soaked grapes. To accompany this range of flavors, the restaurant also features an extensive wine list, which earned Wine Spectator?s Award of Excellence. The selection emphasizes Italian producers, but it also boasts an array of bottles sourced elsewhere, including rare Californian wines as well as a first-growth bordeaux.
In many ways, the decor dovetails with the cuisine in its elegance and bringing together of disparate yet complementary elements. The clean, modern space features multiple levels, with high ceilings, taupe walls, leather booths, rich wood accents, and exposed brick.
For Mark Salese, old family recipes aren't sacrosanct, but they are important. According to the Long-Islander, Salese's grandparents immigrated to the United States from Naples, Italy, bringing a trove of their traditional recipes. At Almarco Italian Grill, he uses those dishes as jumping-off points, adding his own twists for a menu of pastas, pizza, and meats that blends tradition with innovation. Appetizers include a bruschetta sampler with seasonal toppings and chopped, baked littleneck clams topped with seasoned bread crumbs in a white-wine-garlic sauce. Those same clams make their way onto the baked-clam pizza, where they’re paired with melted mozzarella. Pasta shells are stuffed with seasoned ricotta, lobster ravioli bathes in garlic cream sauce, and pan-fried shrimp parmigiana is plated with linguine.
At Vitae Restaurant & Wine Bar, executive chef Keith Davidson puts a contemporary spin on continental fare from filet mignon to crab-crusted sole. Davidson's appetizers in particular have an international flair?beef tenderloin medallions come with hand-stretched tandoori naan, and flash-fried calamari is glazed with sweet Thai pepper.
At Vitae's opening in 2011, a reviewer from the New York Times praised both the "tender baby back ribs," brushed with house-made black-coffee barbecue sauce, and the "elegant" ambiance, enhanced by the soft glow of recessed lighting and hanging lamps. Stored behind an onyx-amber bar and in a 1,400-bottle cellar, an extensive wine selection earned the Huntington eatery a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2014.