Matt Hisiger is the local poster child for the national trend of fine-dining chefs opening casual restaurants. Hisiger, who earned four stars from Newsday at the former Panama Hatties in Huntington, is owner and chef of LB Social, a moderately priced neighborhood spot in Long Beach that used to be Sugo.
Hisiger closed Panama Hatties in 2010 and worked as a corporate chef at Sbarro and executive chef at H on the Harbor in Port Washington.
Sugo had always been an idiosyncratic spot, serving Italian, American and Asian food — and, toward the end, tacos as well. Hisiger remodeled the restaurant — it now features Edison light bulbs, exposed brick, poured concrete — and simplified and updated the menu.
It’s a concise document with 10 starters, 10 mains and a few sides. Highlights include clams with andouille sausage and collards ($13), lamb slicers with roasted peppers and crispy spinach ($10), grilled octopus with baby arugula and crispy fingerlings ($15), pappardelle carbonara with Brussels sprouts and shrimp ($24), herb-roasted chicken on a bed of roasted corn and fava beans ($24) and boneless beef short ribs with oyster mushrooms and potato croquette ($26).
At the bar, Zach Adams holds court. He and Hisiger have put together a bar menu that encompasses small-batch spirits, creative cocktails (with house-made mixers), craft beers and ciders (in bottles) and a list of wines that is brief, but interesting, and well priced. (No bottle is more than $61, most are under $40, and 11 are offered by the glass.) Among spirits, Adams is very excited to introduce the uninitiated to absinthe, the fabled liquor that was banned in the United States until 2007. LB Social carries two absinthes, Walton Waters and Meadow of Love.
LB Social is at 62 W. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-431-7846, lbsocialny.com