When Blackstone Steakhouse opened in 2005, it earned a two-star rating and immediately upgraded dining out near Route 110 in Melville.

Based on recent visits, the restaurant itself deserves an upgrade, too.

New chef Richard Lanza, who last year was the opening chef at North Fork Oyster Company and garnered three stars for the Greenport restaurant, brings Blackstone to a third star now.

In addition to Lanza's excellent food, Blackstone has refined and enhanced its level of service. And the ambience continues to have a party-in-progress quality at dinner; a businessman's club at lunch. The decibels are high day and night.

Either way, have a steak: sirloin, filet mignon, rib, porterhouse, all outstanding. Catch the shellfish cocktails and the raw bar. Sample some superior uncooked fish, fatty tuna to fluke, yellowtail carpaccio to tuna tartare.

Try Lanza's sesame-crusted halibut, grilled whole fish of the day, lobster-and-crab salad, porcini-dusted diver sea scallops, braised Berkshire pork belly, pan-roasted pork chops, short ribs with mushroom risotto.

Side dishes and desserts, while not the reason to dine here, are better than before, too.

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Sometimes, updating a restaurant is a dreary affair. Here: fun.

-Peter M. Gianotti, reviewed 2/23/12