In the 19th century, the North Shore’s salty breezes, rocky beaches, and elegant estates drew New York City’s elite out of their Manhattan apartments and into the captivating towns of what was to be called the Gold Coast. The remnants of this storied past still stand and the shore breezes still blow, as diners at Bliss Restaurant enjoy what Zagat deemed “creative American cuisine with a French twist”. Guests seated on the blooming outdoor patio swirl the ice in their seasonal cocktails, dine on baked brie and seared diver sea scallops, and listen to the melodic strumming of a live musician. Other menu items include pignoli-nut-crusted red snapper, half-roasted chicken with wild mushroom sauce, and banana and chipotle-braised short ribs, which can all be paired with sides such as chive and brie mashed potatoes or kielbasa and sauerkraut. Inside the restaurant, diners enjoy candle-lit tables with white table clothes and dark wood accents. It’s a contemporary ambiance that, like the Gold Coast, harkens back to a time of romance and refinement.
At The Brasserie, chef Patrick Jean captures a balance between gourmet and relaxed dining, reflected in a menu bearing delectable but unfussy European-bistro-inspired fare. Unlike the timid american burger, which cowers inside a bun under a blanket of cheese, the french burger ($9 for lunch, $10 for dinner) invites public scrutiny while showboating around in a cape of savory black pepper, white mushroom, or blue cheese sauce. Seafood dishes unite unlikely plate mates, such as the tilapia ($18.95 for dinner) festooned with mango, cilantro, and lemon sauce, resulting in a combination bolder than the font of an angry letter typed by a 12-year-old. The most important hybrid meal of the day, brunch fuels bellies with a array of midday munchables, such as pancakes ($7+), including banana, chocolate chip, and blueberry, eggs florentine ($10), or the brunch platter, which comes with a waffle, pancake, piece of french toast, and an omelet ($14).
OceanView Bistro’s BYOB policy doesn’t apply to its chefs, who use wine as an ingredient in several dishes, including a chicken stew marinated in red wine and mussels sautéed in white wine. The bistro's dinner menu boasts an all-French lineup of escargot hors d’oeuvres, stews, seafood, and dessert crepes drizzled in lemon or orange sauce and served with scoops of ice cream. During breakfast and lunch hours, the chefs shift gears from French to American and serve up deli sandwiches, burgers, and pancakes.
With a white-picket fence around its perimeter and an American Flag waving from its bay windows, Boulevard 18 Bistro & Wine Bar might look like a great place to raise a family. But instead of embodying the American Dream, this 1860s Georgian landmark holds a little piece of Paris inside. Chef and co-owner David Raymer transports palates across the Atlantic by pairing more than 80 French wines with traditional entrees. And, much like in a Parisian bistro's kitchen, the focus here is on the craft. Chef Raymer creates country pâté and cures gravlax in house, and even stuffs his own sausages with flavors such as merguez or boudin blanc. The result: French classics with a modern twist, such as grilled mustard-seed-crusted leg of lamb with ratatouille or a duck confit salad.
An antique map of Paris covers the wall of the dining room so that guests never forget where the flavors they're tasting came from. But it also helps tie the room together. The map's curving, cobblestone avenues guide eyes toward the scarlet booths and hardwood accents. Boulevard 18 Bistro & Wine Bar also offers a seasonal dining patio with views of the village fire station where Chef Raymer buys the flames to fill the fire pit.
A wood fire crackles in a stone hearth, the warm glow of the flames lighting the inside of a cozy Victorian house. Visitors might think they've stepped into a New England country inn, if it wasn't for the white-linen-swathed tables that populate the room—not to mention the aromas of French-inspired, New American cuisine that hang in the air. The genteel space serves as the dining room of Barney's Restaurant, the brainchild of Executive Chef Mitchell Hauser. He waxes Continental with succulent foie gras, goat-cheese-crusted filet mignon, and duck confit, while also paying homage to closer-to-home culinary motifs with crab cakes, crispy-skin salmon, and mussels from Prince Edward Island. Colorful and artistic platings bring each dish to life, but the presentation is not the only area in which Barney's goes the extra mile: Mitchell and his staff scour local markets for the freshest produce to work into their menu, ensuring that each dish pops with flavor and has a passing allegiance to the region's sports organizations.
At The Curry Club—voted Long Island Press' Best Indian Restaurant of 2010—a Zagat-rated menu boasts dishes prepared by restaurateurs with culinary experience in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres. A handful of tikka masalas are studded with shrimp, salmon, chicken, or tofu, and kebabs are served on platters that sizzle and steam like volcanic Pop Rocks. More than 40 curries fall into six categories, from the West Indian–inspired vindaloo, to the richer, creamy consistency of Korma-style concoctions.