The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
Barely a week old and Heirloom Tavern is already cooking. The spinoff of the Brass Rail (chef-owner Kent Monkan’s Locust Valley gastropub) was full on Friday night, with folks waiting at the bar by the time we left around 9 p.m.
The dining room is cozy and convivial. (Throw in a ceramic-tile floor and you’ve also got loud.) And the kitchen is doing a fine job. We started off with two excellent soups: chicken-noodle was a stunner, with tender shreds of chicken breast and freshly poached carrots and green beans. The noodles were M.I.A. but no one missed them. A duo of black-and white-bean purees looked iffy (less yin-yang; more kitchen accident) but tasted heavenly, with a hint of truffle oil in the white part. A salad of arugula with Manchego and serrano ham was also tasty, though I wish the ham and cheese had been better integrated with the greens.
I don’t know why my friend ordered a cheese steak since it’s been my experience that the best cheese steak in the world is no more than mediocre. (Sorry, Philly. You’ll have to make do with being the cradle of our democracy and the setting for thirtysomething.) So, I mean no disrespect to Heirloom Tavern when I report that the cheese steak was mediocre. My Berkshire pork chop was juicy, if not terribly flavorful; its accompanying mushroom risotto was good; the haricot verts undercooked.
The din of dinner raised its ugly head when it came time for dessert. I ordered the intriguing-sounding bacon bread pudding. The waiter evidently heard “banana nut bread,” a sad turn of events since I only like bananas on their own or in a bowl of Rice Krispies. My friend (the cheese steak) ordered the Nutella-stuffed doughnuts, which were OK but I’ve officially had it with Nutella. Chefs: it’s a processed spread that comes in a jar. You want to impress me? Make a ganache.
Heirloom Tavern is at 32 Railroad Ave., Glen Head, 516-686-6633.