Stretching from Great Neck in the west to Huntington in the east (and all the towns, hamlets, and neighborhoods in between) lies the fabled Gold Coast of Long Island. From the turn of the century through the 1930s, while the Hamptons were still fishing villages, Long Island’s Gold Coast was the place to where the rich and famous escaped. Old money names like Vanderbilt, Roosevelt, Whitney, Pratt, J. P. Morgan and F. W. Woolworth built mansions on sprawling estates along the hilly North Shore of Long Island.
Today, the Gold Coast looks drastically different. Most of the mansions are gone, replaced by roads, shopping malls and suburban neighborhoods. What remains of the old mansions have been changed from residential estates to things like a college (C.W. Post) or a catering hall (Oheka Castle). Regardless, walk the grounds of one of these places and you can’t help to imagine how it would have been to call one of these home.
The suburban sprawl that has taken place over the last 70 years or so has led to many restaurant openings (and closings). All these people have to eat somewhere! Though the Gold Coast area has continually been known for its traditional high-end steakhouse restaurants, until recently, it was always a step behind the big city in terms of creativity and variety. Over the last few years there have been a crop of very creative contemporary restaurants popping up throughout the area especially in places like downtown Huntington.
The reviews below are a hand-picked list of some of our new favorites (Prime Restaurant, Rare 650, Philippe Jericho, Louie’s Oyster Bar and Grille) and old standby Gold Coast restaurants. If you’re in the area, check one of them out and you won’t be disappointed.
Check out all of our pictures!
Drinks, Brunch and Dinner- A+L+2www.RestaurantPrime.com American, Cocktails & Wine, Suffolk
The North Shore of Long Island is home to expansive estates, rolling green lawns and glistening blue harbors. The ‘Gold Coast’, the term coined by F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, is the epitome of opulence and elegance. The town of Huntington is synonymous with this term, where even the average residence sits on an acre of land and owns a horse or two. The village is filled with adorable boutiques and specialty shops, as well as an eclectic array of dining options. Just outside of the main drag, Prime Restaurant takes the local stereotype and runs with it. The expansive and quite impressive structure exudes Long Island from every bit of its detailing. And the backdrop… well, it’s breathtaking. Huntington Harbor hugs the back porch dining strip and open-air bar area, perfectly accessorized with a fleet of sailboats. Scoring a table on this prime piece of restaurant real estate is a must, but not easily obtained, as it can only be requested and not reserved… be very nice to your hostess!
If outdoor seating isn’t in your cards, don’t worry, the inside doesn’t disappoint. A spacious bar area (perfect for a high end happy hour), a fireplace clad lounge and plenty of intimate seating (with a view) are available within the very posh, Hamptons-like atmosphere. Once seated, the servers present themselves just as you would expect… friendly, funny, knowledgeable and professional. Now putting all those pleasantries aside (did we mention the mood setting Sunday jazz trio that was performing?!), the bottom line is, of course, the creations that you are served. And they are certainly on par.
Our bartender, whipped up the most detailed, delicious pineapple mojitos of all time. And he has a slew of other offerings if mint isn’t on your mind. The Bellinis and martinis are sure to hit the same refreshing spot! We visited for brunch, and started off by snacking on the Red Roof roll. The menu includes a full array of sushi rolls if that’s your thing. The delicious concoction including shrimp and avocado topped off with tuna, was perfect for even the non-fish lover (A can attest!). For the heartier end of the meal, we sampled the Eggs and Grilled Skirt Steak, as well as the ‘Black Label’ Burger. The meat was cooked to perfection, the fries super crispy, and the takeaway… two satisfied diners. With Brioche French Toast and Blueberry Pancakes on the menu, our decision-making was a tough process, but in the end, we chose well. We finished off our meal with the Prime Homemade Cookie Plate and the super rich Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake, accompanied by some strong coffees. Perfecto!
While the brunch costs are extremely reasonable, and I dare say, great for dining every weekend, dinner definitely falls more under the ‘special occasion’ category. Specializing in steaks and local seafood, prices are a bit higher, but well worth it. Having received the Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences, you can be sure that the kitchen takes great pride in what they present to you. Nosh on Pan-Seared Potato Gnocchi with Parmesan-White Truffle Sauce, nibble on a Colorado Lamb Rack and scarf down Prime Plateau Seasonal Raw Bar Tower and all while the moonlight shines down over the harbor.
If you are looking to just stop by for some drinks, the indoor and outdoor bar can get pretty busy. Seasonal activities are commonplace, like food tastings, fashion shows and movie screenings, and are sure to keep you busy. Arrive by water, via the on-site dock, or utilize the town shuttle running every 20 minutes on weekends, but no matter which way you arrive, do it soon!
What we ate…
- Pineapple Mojito- Malibu, Pineapple, Muddled Mint and Lime- (A)
- Ultimate Caipiroska- Ultimat Vodka, Fresh Lime- (A)
- The Mojito- Bacardi Light Rum, Muddled Mint and Lime- (L)
- Red Roof Roll- Shrimp, Avocado, Topped with Spicy Tuna, Spicy Mayo, Eel Sauce- (A+L)
- Grilled Skirt Steak, Two Eggs, Skillet Potatoes, Shallot Sauce- (A)
- ‘Black Label’ Burger- Applewood Smoked Bacon, Cheddar, Prime Fries- (L)
- Prime Homemade Cookie Plate for Two- Almond Cookie, Pecan Blondie, Apricot Rugala, Linzer Cookie, Sable Cookie, Chocolate Almond Biscotti- (A+L+2)
- Warm Valrhona Chocolate Cake- Burnt Marshmallow, Crunch Crusted Kona Coffee Ice Cream- (A+L+2)
A: I was really impressed with this venue! The scene alone is enough to warrant a visit. I can’t wait to come back for happy hour and dinner!
L: I honestly thought Prime was going to be way more stuffy and it was. The staff was welcoming and the food was as good as advertized. We have to go back for dinner.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- North shore, harbor view, high end escape
- Food/Drinks- 4: Stellar! Wouldn’t change a thing.
- Tip Worthy- 3.5: Double the tax
- Coordinates- 4: Neighborhood
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green light!
Drinks and Dinner- 2+2
399 Jericho Turnpike, Jericho
Chinese, Cocktails, Nassau
Philippe in Jericho is part of the mini-chain of founder and Chef Philippe Chow. You can find others in NYC, Miami, LA, and East Hampton. We came here to have dinner with our friends D and L. They had talked about how much they both love this place and find themselves dining here all the time. They know we love food and a good time and wanted to show us a new place that 2 +2 had yet to go to on Long Island.
We have to start by saying, when ‘Chinese food’ is said or talked about, one usually infers that it will be ordered or picked up on the way home after a late day at work, and then eaten straight out of the white container on the couch. Second best to fast food. But here at Philippe, it’s a whole different story; it’s high-end, high-quality Chinese food. The decor is contemporary modern, and neat, with a cozy vibe. The staff was very welcoming, but after some initial greetings, they disappeared for a while. We waited quite a bit before placing our order…and we were hungry!
Since we had plenty of time to peruse the menu, we spent our time pining over all the great things that everyone wanted to try. How does one decide?! Do we do the tasting menu? Do the couples share? Was it all too much food? What should we order? D and L started listing all the dishes they love. We decided on an array of dishes with different flavors and features… something for everyone! The list went something like this: Chef Chow’s Lettuce Wraps (two orders, 1 beef, 1 shrimp), Wok Fried Prawns, the Dumpling sampler, Chilean Sea Bass, Sweet and Sour Chicken, and the Pork/ Shrimp Fried Rice. At one point there were dishes covering all parts of the table. Chopsticks were reaching across the table from all angles, grabbing and dipping. We couldn’t get enough! The food was fresh and we ordered just enough not to slip into a food-coma.
It’s been a long time since we had such fresh, delicious Chinese food… or maybe even ever! We enjoyed every bite, along with every sip of our fresh and unique cocktails. We already can’t wait to go back… next time we’ve got to try those infamous handmade noodles. Yum!
What we ate…
- Sheng Lung Cocktail [Grey Goose Vodka, muddled Asian pear with basil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, honey syrup] (A+K)
- Yanjing (L+M)
- Midnight Mojito (M)
- Dumpling Sampler (2+2+2)
- Chicken Satay (2+2+2)
- Chicken & Shrimp Lettuce Wraps (2+2+2)
- Crispy Seaweed (2+2+2)
- Chilean Sea Bass (2+2+2)
- Sweet and Sour Chicken (2+2+2)
- Port Fried Rice (2+2+2)
A: Not everyone in the group is a lover of Chinese food, but I am! The food was really yummy and quite fresh, however, not sure it was worth the prices they were charging… I mean it was just fried chicken and rice. Regardless of the prices, it was the service that needed a boost. It was definitely a classic example of too many ‘cooks in the kitchen’.
K: Though I don’t generally think of ordering Chinese food (at least not since college!), I’m so glad I tried Philippe. Everything was fresh, and had great flavors… and the best part, absolutely no MSG! I will definitely be back. Too bad they don’t deliver!
L: Its no secret that I am not a huge fan of Chinese food. It’s not that I don’t like it… I just cant stand Chinese takeout which can be very unpalatable more often than not. Funny thing is, when Chinese food is fresh and authentic, it is can be one of my favorite things to eat. This was one of those cases! My only criticism was the price. A little expensive.
M: I love the lettuce wraps and the sea bass! Those two alone makes me want to come back. And the cocktails pack a nice punch too. The price could be a bit cheaper but guess I can’t have it all.
Our Rating Scales…
- Scene- Modern and Contemporary Chinese
- Food/Drinks- 3: Surprisingly fresh, tasty and sleek presentation
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity included- No choice in the matter , the tip is included with a group of 6 or more
- Coordinates- 2: Bring your GPS- Need to drive 15 to 20 min. for more fun
- Restaurant Return Rate- Yellow: Might stop here if we are in the area.
Drinks and Dinner- A+L
Rare 650650 Jericho Turnpike, Syosset 516-496-8000 www.Rare650.com Steak/Sushi, Cocktails, Nassau
Breaking the mold of the traditional steakhouse, Rare 650 brings a more contemporary vibe and young feel, while maintaining the typical (and not so typical) offerings. Located on ‘Catering Hall Row’, this modern restaurant is a breath of fresh air, as compared to the nearby competition. A part of the Scotto empire and sister of Blackstone Steakhouse in Melville, Rare 650 is the most recent addition to the family of Long Island eateries.
The decor is quite tailored with unique elements brought into each of the many rooms. The flowing floor length curtains and candlelit fireplace of the outdoor lounge and patio, with seating beneath a lovely wooden arbor; The japanese inspired, shimmering sushi bar that will make you feel like you are sitting within an aquarium; The hanging lanterns and wooden, textured walls of the dining room; The floor to ceiling window providing a full length view of the two level wine cellar; And finally, the ultra modern and mirrored decor of the main bar room (they only room I would criticize… lose the mirrors people!). The mood setting was really done right.
The bar scene is quite bustling with regular happy hour specials and a full selection of cocktails. The wine list and drink menu are presented on an iPad! Awesome. They are definitely appealing to the young crowd. As for the food, we truly were pleasantly surprised. We’ve both dined at Blackstone’s on several occasions, so we were definitely expecting a certain caliber of an experience. However, our visit happened to be on Valentine’s Day, a day when even the best of the best go straight down the tubes, usually serving catering style price-fixe menus OR providing you with the worse, most unattentive service, usually accompanied by seating so tight you can accidentally bump elbows with neighbors. However, our experience did not include either of this typical scenarios, which left a lasting impression with us.
Offerings include a plethora of seafood options, like crab cakes and panko crusted tuna, plus an array of speciality sushi rolls. Our neighbors ordered the most gigantic, three-tiered raw seafood tower we’ve ever seen with mussels, oysters, lobsters and crab! We went with the Lobster Bisque special, which was absolutely full of lobster chunks! ‘A’ is absolutely offended by mayo, so our attentive server suggested a variation of the Number 9 Roll (Shrimp Tempura, Avocado, Crab and Tobiko) with eel sauce, instead of that vile egg and oil creation. Yum Yum! Great suggestion.
To round out our meal, we selected two more specials- the frisée and applewood smoked bacon salad with fresh figs and dried cranberries and the Surf and Turf, a bone-in filet mignon and lobster tail, with a side of sauteed spinach. For true meat-eaters, select a hunk of meat, like the porter house, New York strip or chargrilled skirt steak to dig into right off the grill. It was sooo hard not to order the biggest steak on the menu!
What we ate…
- Rare 650 Martini (Absolut Ruby Red Vodka, Pineapple Juice, Simple Syrup, Dash of Soda) (A)
- Clearly Cosmo (Absolut Mandarin Vodka, Cointreau, White Cranberry Juice) (A)
- Oban Whiskey on the Rocks (L)
Appetizers and Entrees
- Frisée and Applewood Smoked Bacon Salad with Fresh Figs, Dried Cranberries, Cheddar Cheese and Walnuts (2+2)
- Lobster Bisque (2+2)
- Number 9 Roll (Shrimp Tempura, Avocado, Crab and Tobiko) (2+2)
- Bone in Filet Mignon with Foie Gras Butter and Lobster Tail (2+2)
- Sauteed Spinach (2+2)
A: A lovely new addition. The service was terrific and the food perfectly cooked.
L: An older Long Island crowd fills the place all night. The Number 9 Roll is a must have.
Our Rating Scale…
- Scene- Relaxed, modern, young steakhouse
- Food and Drinks- 4: Stellar- Wouldn’t change a thing.
- Tip Worthy- 4: Double the tax and then some
- Coordinates- 2: State- Bring your GPS
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green Light!
Drinks, Brunch and Dinner- 2+2
Heading out for a scenic drive on the North Shore one Sunday afternoon? Take Plandome Road through Manhasset into Port and eat at Louie’s! We always wish that they were open for Brunch, but no go… lunch is the earliest… think 1 o’clock. Arrive early… everyone else is thinking 1 o’clock too! Located right on the waterfront, this place is a North Fork staple- everyone knows about it. You can even come in by boat and dock at their private pier.
If it’s a beautiful day, try to reserve a table outside on the deck overlooking the water. Start with some yummy cocktails… martinis are in order at Louie’s! Then, dine on your pick of super fresh seafood, both cooked and raw… lobsters, oysters, clams, mussels, fresh fish… the list goes on and on. If you aren’t a fish eater (like A) definitely get the burger, or one of their signature salads. Although we’ve never been, the Happy Hour is supposed to be spot on out on the back deck.
A: A great local North Shore favorite. Beautiful views and fun atmosphere.
L: I don’t know what it is but when the summer hits all i can think about is sitting outside on the deck at Louie’s. Its a must visit at least once a summer.
M: I have not been here in a while but I do remember the brunch is good and the drinks are tasty. I need to make a plan to come here when the weather is just right.
Our Rating Scale…
- The Scene- Upscale North Shore vs. Relaxing Waterfront
- Food and Drinks- 3: Pleasantly Surprised. The seafood is always super fresh.
- Tip Worthy- 3: Gratuity Included.
- Coordinates- 2: State- Bring your GPS. While Louie’s IS the destination, if you choose to venture elsewhere, you need to drive 10-15 min. to Great Neck or further up Main St. for more options in Port.
- Restaurant Return Rate- Green Light! When it is a beautiful, sunny, blue bird day, the scenic drive and sipping cocktails on the Sound are the makings of a relaxing afternoon.