Six months ago, Lawson Pub in Oceanside looked more like an indoor swimming pool than a restaurant. Superstorm Sandy had put it under five feet of water, setting half its furniture afloat down the street. Miraculously, the place was up and cooking within a month.
Fatfish in Bay Shore came close to being entirely wiped out and spent the winter under construction. Recently, a section of the waterside dining spot reopened.
Clearly, Sandy has left its mark on Long Island Restaurant Week, which runs Sunday through May 5, and has more than 150 participating restaurants. (Go to longislandrestaurantweek.com or call 631-329-2111 for a full list.)
While details of the event look pretty ordinary -- a three-course meal for $27.99 (available only until 7 p.m. Saturday night) -- the list of participants harbors stories of hope amid hardship.
Here are six restaurants, affected by Sandy in varying degrees, that have managed to relaunch in time for this celebratory week.
So, along with your Thai calamari, grilled mahi mahi or slow-cooked short ribs, you can savor the fruits of hard work and resiliency. Tables fill up rather quickly, so make your reservations early.
BRASSERIE PERSIL, Oceanside
What happened This comfortable French-style bistro was closed for two weeks due to wind damage, loss of power and basement flooding.
Menu sampling Appetizer choices include goat cheese mushroom strudel and baby arugula salad; entree options, a half roasted chicken and boeuf Bourguignon; finish with a mixed-fruit cobbler or crème brûlée.
LAWSON PUB, Oceanside
What happened Flooded by about five feet of water, this classy gastropub came back after about a month. Credit the hard work of chef-owner Joseph Bonacore and his team.
Menu sampling What's available will change nightly during the special week, but probably will include Asiago truffled potato chips, and shrimp and clams Casino as starters; then a chicken, fish or pasta selection. Dessert will be a choice of several mini indulgences.
LOLA'S KITCHEN & WINE BAR, Long Beach
What happened Under four feet of water, with all its equipment lost, this popular Long Beach spot rebounded in three weeks.
Menu sampling Start with such appetizers as pulled pork spring rolls and seafood empanadas, followed by an entree such as flat iron steak au poivre or walnut and herb-crusted St. Peter's fish. For dessert, there's a warm apple tart or house-made New York-style cheesecake.
What happened It took about five months to totally renovate this scenic restaurant perched over Great South Bay. Flooded and badly damaged, its interior had to be gutted and redone; outside, the bulkhead and patio needed to be replaced.
Menu sampling Among appetizers are crispy Thai calamari and blue claw crab and corn chowder; entrees include pan-seared local diver scallops and 48-hour braised short rib of beef. For dessert, there's wild strawberry cheesecake and Tahitian vanilla crème brûlée.
CAPTAIN BILL'S, Bay Shore
What happened This waterside restaurant, as well as its catering arm, Bayview House, had to be gutted and put back together after extensive water damage. It took about a month.
Menu sampling Appetizers include Prince Edward Island mussels and baked stuffed clams; for an entrée, there's horseradish-crusted grouper and linguine with shrimp and scallops; conclude with toasted pound cake with bananas and caramel sauce or vanilla-glazed bread pudding.
FATFISH, Bay Shore
What happened Chef-owner Brian Valdini is still rebuilding the main section of the restaurant and its idyllic patio overlooking Great South Bay, both severely damaged by wind and water. After five months of demolition and repair, the wine bar and canalside deck are finally up and running.
Menu sampling Among appetizer choices are a chargrilled artichoke salad and steamed clams with chorizo; main courses include grilled marinated mahi mahi with warm chickpea and cilantro salad as well as chargrilled spiced hanger steak. For dessert: apple tarte Tatin and Grand Marnier-chocolate dipped strawberries.