The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
After closing for a nine-day makeover, the former Ideal Cheese & Wine Cafe in Huntington has reopened with a new look and a new name: Ideal's Element. Its cheese shop, formerly located in the front of the space, has moved around the corner to 6 Green St. and is accessible by a separate entrance.
Under its old name, the cafe had something of an identity problem. Was it a cheese shop? A restaurant? "Now, the entire place is dedicated to the restaurant," said co-owner/manager Julian Binetti. Binetti went on to describe the new elements of the decor, with a fireplace, chandeliers, a bar, some banquette seating plus couches and club chairs for relaxing, perhaps, over wine and cheese. The place also has changed the art on its walls. On Friday and Saturday evenings, from 11 p.m. until 2 a.m., it features recorded music and dancing on its upper level.
Chef Matt Dolise's menu remains essentially as it was, Binetti said, adding that a few small tweaks may be up ahead. Currently, in addition to cheese flights and charcuterie, the restaurant offers such dishes as French onion soup, warm mushroom salad and numerous small plates, such as crabcakes and meatball sliders. Other items: burgers, five versions of mac and cheese, lasagna and pot roast. A specialty here is pomme frites, hand-cut fries that are also available as poutine, topped with cheese curds and gravy. Individual dishes start at $8 for tomato soup and top out at $28 for pan-seared salmon.
The restaurant offers a wide-ranging list of wines by the glass and bottle, as well as craft beers.
Ideal's Element is at 308 Main St., Huntington, 631-923-3434.