Latitude 121 Coastal Grill
121 Main St. Stony Brook, NY 631-675-9263
Stony Brook has a new restaurant on Main Street. Taking over the former Brook House is Latitude 121, a polished nautical restaurant that prides itself on its seafood and American fare. The dishes are confident and well prepared, and the atmosphere is equally polished.Hours:
Open every day, starting at 9 a.m., for breakfast, lunch and dinner, to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday, 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 p.m. Sunday.Ambience:
Latitude 121 is wide: breakfast, lunch, dinner, eggs Benedict, lobster roll, steak. So, you can nibble from morning to night, allowing for a few hours enjoying the sites of Stony Brook.
Now, 121 Main St. definitely is one of them.
It takes over the former home of Brook House, near the post office. The signs heralding ice cream parlor and soda fountain remain. Even better, the restaurant has improved dramatically.
James Cavorti, who cooked at George Martin's Strip Steak in Great River, runs the new kitchen. The dining room has been polished and given a nautical theme. But it's not the harpoon-and-net variety. The white beadboard spot is subtle and confident, like much of Cavorti's cuisine.
Try the mini pork wings, tender, tasty and just sweet enough. The duo of juicy sliders is excellent, cooked to order and paired with crisp, hand-cut fries. It will make you consider a burger anytime. A special of plump, well-seasoned mussels with tomatoes deserves the title.
But chicken osso buco, with Tabasco, honey, blue cheese and celery sticks, is surprisingly bland. "Sweet heat" shrimp overdoes the sweet. And the lobster-and-lump-crabmeat macaroni-and-cheese overdoes it, period.
If you want richness with a bit more balance, sample the savory lobster bisque, which has depth and fine flavor. Cavorti sends out a lush, creamy lobster Thermidor potpie that takes a cue from the bisque's intensity.
The baby kale salad with asparagus, snow peas and more is easily and contentedly shared, as is the generous wedge salad, with plenty of smoked bacon and crumbled blue cheese capping the iceberg lettuce.
A slab of perfectly grilled swordfish benefits from caper-lemon brown butter. The seafood stew contains shrimp, littlenecks, scallops and mussels in a delectable tomato-lobster broth, all atop linguine. But some of the shellfish are overcooked. Instead: sea scallops in a citrus beurre blanc.
The New York strip steak and the filet mignon both are neatly grilled, and backed by crisp onions and a red-wine demi-glace. Braised "mojo" short ribs gain their appeal with flaky meat and country-style pan gravy. But the potpie with "filet tips" in a murky sauce is highlighted mainly by pearl onions.
Desserts take in an opulent chocolate fudge layer cake, blueberry cheesecake and very rummy strawberry-banana "Foster" split. It's hard to pass up the root beer or Creamsicle float with Gifford's vanilla ice cream. Maybe later.