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Stella Blue Bistro

188 New York Ave. Huntington, NY 631-425-2583

Stella Blue is an eccentric new eatery in

(Credit: Marisol Diaz)

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Critic rating: 1.5

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Type: Salads, Breakfast, Sandwiches, Ice cream, Burgers Price range:

$$ (Moderate)

Description:

Stella Blue, an eccentric new eatery named for a Grateful Dead song, comes to Huntington and evokes the days of Woodstock. Though it's a challenge to find comfortable seating in the mix of mismatched antique furniture, and counter service is super friendly but not always super efficient, this eclectic spot holds a ton of promise. If you order carefully, you can eat well from the menu that is constantly being updated. 

 

 

Hours:

Daily, 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Ambience:

Fair

Service:

Fair

Credit cards:

Accepted

Accessibility:

wheelchair accessible

The deeply smoky pulled pork platter at Stella

The deeply smoky pulled pork platter at Stella Blue in Huntington comes with house-made slaw and jalapeno cornbread. (Credit: Marisol Diaz)

1.5

A larger-than-life image of a guitar-playing Jerry Garcia looms over the parking lot of Stella Blue, an eccentric new eatery named for a Grateful Dead song. Inside, posters of Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison, among others, evoke the days of Woodstock. So does much of the background music.

The loose and freewheeling hippie era lives on in more ways than one. It's a challenge to find comfortable seating in the mix of mismatched antique furniture and bar stools. Cold air rushes in whenever a door is opened. Counter service is super friendly but not always super efficient. You'll also have to grab your own utensils and napkins. Some ingredients that chef and co-owner Robert Koopman uses are labeled organic; others, like Boar's Head cold cuts, clearly are not.

Nothing else matters, though, when you're into Koopman's pulled pork. It's deeply smoky, tasting like campfire in autumn. Order it as a platter, and you'll also get fresh, crisp coleslaw and jalapeño cornbread. Smoked wings are meaty and smoky but fall flat because one crucial ingredient is missing: salt. This is easily remedied by sprinkling on your own.

A lack of discernible seasoning undermines both a chicken burger and a veggie burger. A sandwich called "the hippie" features rather dry pieces of grilled chicken, avocado, iceberg, tomatoes and hummus wrapped in a tortilla. What you want from this wrap is a lot more verve. Another wrap, the El Paso, brings together pulled pork, grilled peppers and onions, Cheddar and sour cream. It's messy but a whole lot more flavorful.

Crunchy, mahogany-crusted fried chicken tastes fine but is a bit pink near the bone. Meatballs are lush and garlicky. But previously frozen fries with a truffle-Parmesan topping need to be crisper.

One morning, pancakes studded with blueberries turn out light and satisfying. But a waffle, while tender and hot, is a bit too tangy. Ordered as a dessert, it's topped with clean-tasting vanilla and cappuccino Kahlua ice cream. Even in winter, this is ice cream you'll want.

Another sweet draw: mini doughnuts made in a contraption that looks like a Rube Goldberg invention. They come out warm, a bit oily, entirely irresistible.

And they're only one indication of the promise Stella Blue holds. Even now, if you order carefully, you can eat well from a menu that is constantly being updated. One can only hope for greater attention to detail as this ambitious newcomer evolves.

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