The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
Harvest Buffet had a good run. The all-you-can-eat restaurant on Northern Boulevard opened in 1999 and for the next 14 years encouraged Long Islanders to eat their fill of dozens of Chinese (and not-so-Chinese) dishes.
All traces of unbridled excess have been swept away by the sleek, elegant Moonstone Chinese Cuisine, which opened last week. The decor is modern, but subdued, with lots of soft whites and neutral accents. The dining room has both booths and tables, a separate lounge has a granite bar and low, intimate tables.
Over the last decade or so, many Chinese Americans have migrated from Flushing into Little Neck and, more recently, Great Neck and points east. Authentic Chinese restaurants have followed this migration. Moonstones menu strikes a balance between satisfying these customers and appealing to diners who have been raised on more Americanized Chinese food and also adding a modern, luxurious gloss to the proceedings.
To wit: Appetizers include the Chinese-American favorite spareribs ($12), the Cantonese classic salt-and-pepper squid ($10), the utterly of-the-moment hoisin-glazed pork belly sliders ($13), and the very impressive sounding imperial veal short rib ($13).
Most main dish prices are less than $20. Some of the more intriguing are Sanpei chicken claypot with Chinese sausage and mushrooms, Cantonese spring quail, drunken halibut in white wine sauce, steamed whole branzino, wok-seared Frenched rack of lamb and thrice-cooked pork tenderloin. A whole Beijing duck is $40 (half is $20).
For the rest of June, Moonstone is offering a 20 percent discount on all menu items.
Moonstone Chinese Cuisine is at 14 Northern Blvd., Great Neck, 516-829-1191.