The Route 110 business corridor that runs from Melville to Farmingdale has long been short on lunch places both relaxing and reasonably priced.
Wild Rose, situated on a back road just north of Republic Airport (and under the same ownership as Rosewood Inn in Melville), aims to serve the lunch crowd, and, on week nights, those who work late. There are comfortable booths, a few tables, a handsome bar. And if you know your way around the menu, you can eat pretty well.
Especially if you order the turkey burger. Although it looked dense and dry when it was served, one bite released smoky juices ignited by Southwestern spice; nutty sweet potato fries accompanied. Then, there was a colorful Mediterranean salmon salad featuring a hefty spice-blackened slab of fish over mesclun strewn with feta, Kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, red onions and tomatoes in a sprightly lemon-Parmesan dressing. Less successful, however, was a chicken salad sandwich that might have worked had there not been so much mayonnaise in the mix.
A dinner began with a three juicy beef sliders, all with different toppings. The best had chili mayo, bacon and Swiss; the least successful was overpowered by Gorgonzola.
A real letdown, though, was clams oreganata crowned with chokingly dry bread crumbs and missing the garlic broth promised on the menu. Although chicken lettuce wraps had a pleasing Asian flavor going for them, the iceberg pieces fell apart around a stir-fry containing cubes of chicken.
Top entree: A tender, savory rendition of chicken Parmigiana served with al dente penne in a commendable marinara. But you'll want to bypass the bland chopped steak patty -- ordered rare, served well done -- capped with an underseasoned meld of onions and mushrooms.
Also falling short was a surprisingly dull po'boy wrap with shrimp, andouille sausage and chicken.
On the bright side: A satisfying sliced marinated skirt steak sandwich with melted mozzarella on garlic bread.
Desserts, like chocolate layer and cheesecake, are commercially sourced and skippable.
No question, there are signs of promise at this newcomer that fills a niche for many who work in the area.