LI Zagat Survey: the shakedown, the shakeups
Splashy and flashy doesnt always cut it in these parts; just check out the Top Five restaurants rated for food in the 2009/10 Zagat Survey of Long Island Restaurants released today all five in Suffolk County (what gives, Nassau?).
The big winner is Kitchen A Bistro in St. James, chef-owner Eric Lomandos moderately priced French bistro, up from third place last year (and newly relocated to larger quarters post survey).
Lomando learned the good news prematurely; even though the book was supposed to be off limits until tomorrow, it appeared on shelves at a local Borders this past weekend. I found out in the middle of dinner service, said Lomando, who confessed to some jumping up and down. Its really incredibly exciting and a nice perspective from the people who are eating at my restaurant on a regular basis.
Snagging second place is North Fork Table & Inn in Southold, a New American labor of love for husband and wife team of chef Gerry Hayden and pastry chef Claudia Fleming (the restaurant placed fourth last year). The cozy, quirky Italian, Maroni Cuisine (chef Michael Maroni) in Northport, takes third position, slipping a notch. Fourth and fifth place winners are new to the top five: Chachama Grill in Patchogue, chef-owner Elmer Rubios New American storefront, and The Lake House in Bay Shore, a scenic New American spot with Matthew Connors and Charles Treadwell behind the stove
A nice surprise is that Aji 53, a relatively new Asian Fusion in Bay Shore, made it into the lineup as number six. In seventh place (but number one in Nassau County) is Mill River Inn in Oyster Bay, a restaurant at a crossroads, followed by Dario's in Rockville Centre. Kotobuki (in Hauppauge, Babylon and Roslyn) has fallen from its long-held first place spot to ninth. (Maybe they're spreading themselves too thin. Or people are just getting jaded about sushi.) Finally, in tenth, is Peter Luger, still rated the most popular restaurant on Long Island, dropping from eighth place. Which means that Long Islanders continue to flock to Peter Luger for steak but don't think it's quite what it used to be.
2007 Newsday Photo of Kitchen A Bistro chef Eric Lomando/ Patrick Oehler