Friday, July 27, 2012

Bar Frites – Greenvale

Bar Frites, located at Wheatley Plaza in Greenvale, and just down the road from its sister restaurants: Bryant & Cooper Steakhouse, Toku Modern Asian and Cipollini Trattoria & Bar, will literally transport you to Northern France.

The restaurant’s antique mirrors, wooden tables, white tiled walls and big globe lights hanging from the gold colored tin ceiling match perfectly with the French bistro fare. Don’t fret if you are looking for an American favorite, they serve up awesome sliders, seafood and pasta dishes as well! Both indoor and outdoor seating is offered. However, the outdoor seating looks out onto the parking lot, so I’d recommend dining inside.

It’s now my third time dining at Bar Frites and EVERY time I receive efficient and friendly service from an inviting staff, delicious food and prices that are comparable to the quality. Looking for a traditional French dish? During my first dining experience at Bar Frites I ordered the Croque Monsieur with berkshire ham served with gruyere and mornay sauce. I felt like I was back in Paris – délicieux!

When I dined with Alex, friends and family, we started with an order of Mussels, Fried Calamari and the Mini Cheeseburger Sliders. Let’s just say none of the appetizers lasted long. It was a homerun all around with only positive comments being exchanged at the table. Even my brother, an annoyingly tough critic at times, said everything was delicious!

For my entrée, I ordered the classic French Dip, a piled high prime roast beef sandwich served on a fresh baguette along with mayo and au jus. On my “delectable list,” it’s right up there with Houston’s French Dip – my former ranking favorite out of the formal sit-down restaurants I have dined at on the Island.
Alex opted for the Wild Mushroom Pasta. He commented that it was well seasoned and he loved that it was chock full of spinach, tomato and mushrooms. I’ve previously had the Sliced Filet Mignon served with caramelized onions and pomme frites. The meat practically melted in my mouth. Splendid!

Alex and I topped off the meal by sharing the warm Apple Tarte Tatin served with vanilla ice cream and crème Anglaise… a perfect way to end a delicious meal and a splendid French bistro dining experience.

Though the restaurant gets a bit loud and the outdoor dining doesn’t provide a view, Bar Frites receives an impressive 4.5 out of 5 Dinner Mints on the Dinner Mint Scale.
Bar Frites on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cooperage Inn - Baiting Hollow

Walking into Cooperage Inn in Baiting Hollow, feels like walking into an older relative's cozy home.
The floral wallpaper, fireplaces, carpeting and extensive home style decor, will make you feel instantly relaxed. That's exactly the type of atmosphere Cooperage Inn is going for.
Lauren and I first came to Cooperage in the Fall. Everything was decorated with the warm colors of the season and the menu reflected the time of year as well.

We were immediately seated in a big open room, several feet from a live musician. While we looked through the very large menu, we were treated to some familiar cover songs.
Service was fast and a friendly waitress took our orders almost immediately.

Lauren started with the seasonal Butternut Squash Soup, which she found tasty and delicious. It was hot and creamy and tasted of the Fall season.
For a main course, Lauren went with the Pumpkin Ravioli. She described it as very good. She also said it was filling, although it does not appear to be a very big portion.
I ordered the Market Vegetable Primavera which is pasta Sautéed with carmelized garlic and olive oil, white wine and plum tomatoes. It was light, enjoyable and very filling. The meal also came with a fresh garden salad (always a nice perk) and I topped it off with an extremely delicious creamy garlic dressing. The salad was crisp and good. Both of our main meals came hot and left us very satisfied. We both commented several times on how comfortable we felt while eating. Unlike other restaurants we have been to, there was really nothing to distract us from enjoying our meals.
We both also found the Cooperage Inn to be very reasonable in terms of bang for your buck.

This summer month of July, Lauren and I went back and sat outside. This was a different experience entirely. We had the same great food, except we were on a little garden patio surrounded by a waterfall and an eclectic mix of decorations. We enjoyed the experience very much. But you will need to expect the service to be a little slower, since it takes the server time to go in and out from the restaurant.

This time, Lauren ordered one of their "Oversized Salads." She selected the Cooperage Inn Waldorf Salad which is chicken salad with celery, walnuts, red onions, mixed lettuce, diced apples and Mandarin oranges, creamy house dressing, toasted almonds and raisins. It was quite a combo. Lauren really loved every bite. She also commented on the real variety in the menu. People around us were eating everything from Lobster to Ribs, and Burgers to Salads. Cooperage Inn is one of those perfect family places where everyone can find something they'll enjoy on the menu.
For my main course this time, I had the Fusilli Rustica.
It is Sautéed chicken, sweet and hot sausage, onions, zucchini and yellow squash, plum tomato basil sauce, and melted fresh mozzarella. I found it to be really tasty, but definitely spicy. It's a great fresh mixture of ingredients, but make sure the person ordering really likes spicy food. The veggies and pasta were cooked perfectly, and the chicken and sausage were both really delicious.

Also to be noted, is the Sunday Breakfast Buffet. I can honestly say it's one of the best buffet's I have been to on Long Island. It comes complete with the usual carving and omelet stations, but really stands out in the dessert department. The buffet rooms has an entire spread of homemade muffins, cakes, pies and cookies. Each one delicious. It's really very standout. They also make a mean homestyle pot roast that I must have helped myself to 3 plates of.

Lauren and I give Cooperage Inn a hearty 4 mints - on the Dinner Mint Scale.

Cooperage Inn
Baiting Hollow
2218 Sound Ave
631-727-8994  Cooperage Inn on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

BiVio - East Northport

Bivio in Huntington is a cozy little Italian spot with a very home-style appeal. While Lauren was away on a recent trip, I tried this place out with my mom. We were greeted at the door as we walked in by the owner, who introduced himself immediately with a warm smile and a handshake. This place had already won us over. Bivio is small but nicely decorated and doesn't leave you feeling like you're eating on top of the person next to you. We passed the active bar on our left and were escorted into the main dining room on our right. There were a considerable amount of people there (always a good sign) and they even had a live musician.

Our friendly waitress read the specials and my mother and I both ordered wine. With the wine, a nice basket of warm bread and oil and some green olives. The olives are always a nice touch. 

We started with salads. I ordered the "Bivio" house salad - which was a combination of mixed greens,apples,candied pecans and tomatoes, tossed in a dijon mustard dressing. The mixtures was very interesting and pleasing to the palate. I really enjoyed the unique taste.
My mom went with the traditional Caesar salad which she said was very enjoyable.

For my main course, I selected the Pappardelle Bolognese - fresh homemade wide fettuccine in a meat sauce. The pasta was served al dente and tasted delicious. The pasta definitely had that fresh homestyle taste that you could only find at a place such as this. The portion was also very generous. 

My mom went with the Lobster Ravioli - Homemade ravioli in a pink sauce, which she said she liked. I could also tell she enjoyed it because she ate every last bite.

The service was spectacular and besides our waitress, we were also tended to by what seemed like an assistant manager, and a bus boy. Everyone was polite and seemed eager to answer questions and engage in conversation. In case you were wondering, Bivio means "Fork in the road," which seems appropriate for its location, here East Deer Park Road splits from East Jericho Turnpike. Also worth noting, Tues- Thursday are "special" nights with food and drink deals. And there is live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Overall, I enjoyed the restaurant very much and could definitely see myself coming back. On the dinner mint scale, the restaurant scores a comfortable 3.5 dinner mints.

Bivio Ristorante Italiano 1801 East Jericho Turnpike Huntington, NY
631 499 0597 Bivio  on Urbanspoon