SHAKE SHACK FIXES FRIES
Our big beef with Shake Shack has always been the fries. Since the first location opened in Manhattan's Madison Square Park in 2004, the burgerie has served previously frozen crinkle-cut fries along with its carefully sourced beef and freshly made frozen custard. We were not alone in our outrage and, in August, the chain began a rollout of a new fry that was hand-cut, skin-on and freshly fried to order. The new fries have now reached Long Island's sole Shake Shack at The Gallery at Westbury Plaza in Garden City.
I recently stopped by to sample the fries ($2.85), and they were hot and salty and perfectly satisfying. But they lacked the addictive, deep potato-y savor of Long Island's very best French fries, a list that includes both Five Guys (all over the Island) and Bobby's Burger Palace (in Roosevelt Field and Smith Haven Mall).
NISEN ONE TEN draws a crowd
The eagerly awaited Nisen One Ten has opened. But ignited or detonated might be more accurate.
To judge by the first month, this has to be the most in-demand lunch spot in the full field that is Route 110. The joint almost pulsates midday with an overflow of customers. The decibel level rises to match.
It's the latest member of the Nisen group, which includes Nisen Sushi in Commack and Nisen 347 in St. James. Nisen One Ten is Japanese in theory and eclectic in practice. Actually, one of the better appetizers is a trio of Kobe beef sliders, with spicy aioli, yuzu ketchup and mustard cream aioli. The lobster taco, with black olive and jalapeños, also evokes something other than a sushi bar special. But, early on, the results are as mixed as the cuisine. Black-pepper tuna tataki is overwhelmed by the seasoning. Vegetable tempura: routine. And the "2014 volcano roll" erupts ridiculously with coconut shrimp and a coverlet of "molten kani crab" that has the impact of room-temperature lava.
For now, you're better off with straightforward sashimi and nigirizushi, presented with flair but not undone by it. Then again, the over-the-top dishes and ambience define the experience. And if that's what you're looking for, join the crowd.
Nisen One Ten is at 1197 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville; 631-421-8000. SWALLOW WILL RETURN
Swallow, the diminutive small-plates restaurant on New York Avenue in Huntington, is closed during an expansion and renovation. As chef-owner James Tchinnis tells it, by taking over the vacated spot next door (which used to be a dress shop), Swallow has tripled its space, transforming from a "cozy little joint" to a 3,000-square-foot restaurant with a full bar. But the small-plates menu, Tchinnis said, will remain what it was -- half staples, the other half changing on a weekly basis.
Tchinnis says the reopening will be in about three weeks.
Meanwhile, Swallow East, the Montauk branch of Tchinnis' restaurant, is up and running -- and has been throughout the winter -- at 474 W. Lake Dr., Montauk, 631-668-8344, swalloweast.com.
Swallow is at 366 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-547-5388,