Joe's Garage and Grill in Riverhead: First bites

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Tokyo Drift sliders at Joe's Garage feature steamed Tokyo Drift sliders at Joe's Garage feature steamed Asian buns, smoked pork belly, kimchee and cucumber salsa in April 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick

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The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.

A recent lunch at the new Joe’s Garage and Grill in Riverhead proved a rousing success. Not only was the hip race car-themed place something to behold — brick walls, cement floors and a mini racetrack suspended above the bar — but chef Brian Burner’s food scored majorly.

At the starting gate was an appetizer called Tokyo Drift sliders ($9.95). Rather than sliders, what I got were two bao, or steamed Asian buns, enfolding succulent house-smoked pork belly, kimchee and cucumber salsa. One bite made my eyes fly open. A smoked turkey potpie, served in an iron skillet had, instead of the buttermilk biscuit crust described on the menu, a cornbread topping. A tad sweet, perhaps, but overall, such a comforting dish.

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According to Burner, everything is made from scratch —  with all smoking done in-house. The payoff,  from the looks of things, was a full restaurant at 1:30 in the afternoon.

Joe’s Garage and Grill fronts the Riverhead municipal parking lot at 40 Peconic Ave., Riverhead, 631-591-3330,

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