Chadwicks American Chophouse & Bar drops its apostrophe and adds new flavor to the restaurant hub of Rockville Centre. Since executive chef Art Gustafson bought the place in April, dining here has improved and so has the atmosphere.
Situated opposite the Rockville Centre station of the Long Island Rail Road, Chadwicks is a comfortable stop for New American fare and continental mainstays. Gustafson knows both and bridges them well, turning out handsomely plated, often appealing fare.
Lobster bisque, coral-hued and rich, floats lobster meat. The French onion soup, bracing and satisfying, is a three-onion and three-cheese production. Tango tango shrimp updates the shrimp cocktail with tempura shellfish, sweet chili sauce and salsa fresca. There's crunchy, blond fried calamari. And the tuna tartare is high-grade, with just enough spicing.
But the jumbo lump crabcake arrives overdone and not too crabby. "Crispy pork belly" shows up on the soft side and doesn't benefit from either the sweet honey-chipotle glaze or apple-carrot slaw. You're better off with the lobster quesadilla, with butter-poached lobster, tomato-avocado salsa, Peppadew peppers and chipotle-spiked mayo.
The grilled, smoky, heart-of-romaine spin on the wedge salad is good, capped with bacon and crumbled blue cheese. It's preferable to the too-sweet apple-Gorgonzola number and the overorchestrated walnut-and-goat cheese affair. Consider a frittata with spinach.
Grilled steaks at Chadwicks are tender and satisfying, especially the filet mignon and the Black Angus strip. Have yours with garlic mashed potatoes or pommes frites instead of the pasty Parmesan risotto. Bearnaise sauce is better than the Port reduction, too. Juicy prime rib may be a special. Moist pork chop fresco, a Parmesan-breaded variation on Milanese, doesn't need melted mozzarella.
Grilled chicken breast finds a foil in garlic-lemon aioli. Roasted duck, however, is overcooked and not helped by the honey-pepper-fig glaze, either. Wasabi aioli and honey-soy glaze bring too much gilding to the three nut-crusted ahi tuna. Good St. Peter's fish, finished with lobster meat, toasted bread crumbs and chardonnay-lobster sauce, actually is more restrained.
Desserts are an eclectic group. The refreshing gelato sliders translate into vanilla and chocolate chip sandwiched between chocolate-chip cookies. Lush dulce de leche crème brûlée and Belgian chocolate mousse top the limp apple tart and the English trifle, which suggests a reshaped birthday cake.
That's all right. Chadwicks has a welcome, join-the-party mood.