Location: 200 Portion Rd. Ronkonkoma, NY 11779
Description: Beer, burger and a game: For many, that's the route to contentment. At Brownstone Brewing ... More »
Beer, burger and a game: For many, that's the route to contentment. At the new Brownstone Brewing Company, you might be drinking a local craft brew on tap and sinking your teeth into a ground beef sandwich that's smoky, juicy and tinged with just the right mineral edge. As for the game, see what's playing on any of the 19 TV screens in the bar and dining room.
While technically this isn't a brewery, it does serve three house brews that are made off premises by a private brewmaster. There also are close to 20 Long Island craft beers on tap. Our cheerful waitress offers samples to the undecided; the proprietary blond lager wins out.
With drinks, our party of four shares a generous sampler comprising wings glazed with a mildly spicy Buffalo sauce, a curiously addictive spinach-artichoke dip with chips plus greaselessly fried chicken breast strips. Banana pepper bites feature fiery pickled peppers cut into little circles and fried in a tempura batter.
Here, the fry basket is king, but at least the frying is done with skill. Fish and chips offer crisply battered cod and commendable nutty-sweet fries that have been hand-cut off premises by the restaurant's meat supplier. In the case of the panko-crusted lump crabcakes, though, I find myself wishing for much less of a crisp crumbed crust.
Yet, I want more than just a sprinkling of crumbs baked atop my mac 'n' cheese, al dente corkscrew pasta in a creamy confluence of Swiss, Cheddar, Parmesan and Muenster. I have no quibble with the juicy, savory grilled sliced marinated flat iron steak on garlic ciabatta or a classic Reuben sandwich that's properly melty and messy. Since the very good house burger gains nothing from its "Santa Fe" topping of guacamole, roasted pineapple and jalapeño relish, I'd advise getting the simple "classic" version instead. Sweet potato and spinach are the main ingredients in the veggie burger, a good one.
Skip the humdrum brownie sundae, with its aerosol whipped topping, and go directly to the milkshakes, available "virgin" or spiked. The "Barista," made with vanilla ice cream, coffee syrup, Kahlua and Bailey's Irish cream, makes for a finale worth reprising.