Someone, somewhere, (I’m guessing Manhattan) coined the term “gastro-pub” to describe bar/restaurants with ambitious menus that transcend the usual pub-grub fare. But to this writer, the word “gastro” usually prefaces medical terms that are less than appetizing. Let’s try to come up with a better term, like “spoon saloons” or “tasty taverns.”
Kodiak’s Restaurant & Bar
1815 Broad Hollow Rd., Farmingdale
Upscale/value/sports-themed fun for the whole family is how they try to cover all the bases at Kodiak’s Restaurant & Bar in Farmingdale. Set back from the road among furniture retailers in the former cavernous space that was the club Oragin, they encourage you to build your own burger, salad, pizza or pasta. If that’s too much work for you then try the hot pastrami sandwich on a pretzel roll called The Ballpark or choose from five sliders: pork, salmon, turkey patty, meatball or chipotle burger. Many dinner entrees are less than $15. There are two bars and 50 TVs (just how many ESPNs are there?) in a vaguely modern-rustic room that doesn’t evoke Alaska as much as Long Island. Some of the more forward-thinking dishes include Blackened Tuna New Orleans, Stuffed Grouper, Bayou Cornbread Salad and Jambalaya. At the bar one recent afternoon I happily made my way through four Asian Salmon Sliders on cool little pretzel rolls with Asian-flavored bruschetta, cusabi dressing (cucumber and wasabi), wonderful homemade slaw with corn and potato chips. I’ll be back for more.
The Stone Turtle
4160 Austin Blvd., Island Park
Chef Gregory Baumel (Quilted Giraffe, Mim’s, Harp & Mandolin) elevates and innovates the food selection, at The Stone Turtle in Island Park, while bringing a sense of humor to his kitchen. He doesn’t just feature game meat—he integrates it into dishes where you would never expect to find it. Witness: Four Cheese Wild Boar Sausage Lasagna, Rabbit Pot Pie or the South Texas Antelope Burger. His beef burgers are made with Pat LaFrieda beef, the Manhattan purveyor for top spots in the city. His pastry chef—Bak Lava and the Fab Filo Five—perpetrates a hardcore, all-chocolate dessert menu that should entice choco-holics looking for their fix, with a Chocolate Jalapeno Chipwich that you dip into hot fudge and a sundae called The Dirty Ashtray. Besides duck, turkey and goose eggs (also pterodactyl), the brunch menu offers a hash sampler called The Amsterdam, with only the salmon being smoked. After all, this turtle is stone, not stoned.
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