The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
Market Bistro has relaxed and settled into its own skin. When it opened in November 2011, it immediately established itself as one of Nassau County’s most assured and attractive restaurants, and one of the very few that takes seriously the farm-to-table ethos of using as much local and seasonable food as possible.
Initially, the kitchen had a tendency to overthink. The first time I ate there I was impressed with the quality of the ingredients and the kitchen’s technique, but missed the point of such fillips as sweet tomato jam daubed on an otherwise orthodox wedge salad, or the sweet potato puree streaked across the plate of an exemplary roast chicken in simple thyme jus.
A recent dinner displayed no such touches. We loved a small bite of prosciutto-wrapped, blue-cheese stuffed figs. Salads, always a strong suit, have stayed strong. The market salad, made with Satur Farms greens and shaved vegetables in a lemon vinaigrette, is still delicious. Another winner: a Caesar salad deepened by the addition of kale alongside the romaine. Seared scallops on a truffled corn risotto were excellent, as was a chunk of tilefish on a summer ragout.
I ordered seared tuna with soba noodles because, as I made my way from the bar to the table, I noted that almost every woman in the dining room was eating it. This was a semi-bum steer. The tuna was well (which is to say barely) cooked, but the soba noodles interspersed with avocado and arugula and the harsh wasabi aioli were clunky, the sort of “kitchen entrée” I have had no choice but to order at one of a hundred local Asian-fusion spots.
Dessert offered redemption in the form of a luscious blueberry-peach cobbler.
We were struck not only by the quality of the food but by the quantity. My pile of Caesar would have fed four; the scallops came six to an order; my pal couldn’t finish her tilefish. Managing partner Adam Acerra, who owns the restaurant with Bill Holden and Bob Caras, didn’t cop to enlarging the portions, but allowed that the restaurant was “committed to value.” He did acknowledge the kitchen’s mission to simplify. “We don’t want to be a special-occasion place,” he said. “We want people to be able to come in on Tuesday and Saturday.”
Acerra credited much of the menu’s evolution to chef Charles Treadwell. Treadwell had joined Market Bistro as sous chef to Christopher Holden (son of owner Bill) who opened the restaurant. The younger Holden, who had worked in France and in Daniel Boulud’s kitchen before joining his father on Long Island, left Market Bistro earlier this year. Treadwell is now in charge of the kitchen.
Market Bistro is at 519 N. Broadway, Jericho; 516-513-1487, marketbistroli.com.