The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
REIN is the main restaurant in the Garden City Hotel. The hotel is under new ownership and there's a new chef, too
Over the years, the hotel has had several primary restaurants, among them the departed Polo and Giorgio. Polo had an open-air quality, off the lobby. Giorgio was a very traditional, Euro-haute dining room. Both definitely had their highs and lows.
The new REIN, while often good, is neither very exciting nor especially compelling. Although executive chef Michael Mandato oversees what look to be ambitious "chef's table" dinners, the result at REIN is pretty straightforward. It's about what you'd expect at an expensive, modern but risk-averse hotel.
Maybe it's the insistent regularity of "happy birthday" renditions, or just the less-than-attentive service, but currently REIN comes across reined-in. The initial reaction: Meh.
Roasted wild striped bass, with French lentils, leeks and cherry tomatoes accented with an herb cream sauce is a bit overdone. Tuna tartare: satisfactory, but no more. The crabcakes are an improvement, as is the five-spice duck breast with braised red cabbage. A rendition of baked Alaska does show some whimsy.
But REIN is pretty stiff, at the table and particularly when the tab arrives.
REIN, 45 Seventh St., Garden City; 516-747-3000, ext. 385.