10 Pinelawn Rd. Melville, NY 631-271-7780
Beef and seafood are the mainstays of the edibles delivered at this Melville steakhouse where the menu includes fairly pricey items familiar to contemporary American cuisine. However, come Thursday nights after 8 p.m., a DJ spins beats to a crowd averaging 30-50 in age -- and come other evenings, while there is no one working turntables, the bar is always a popular stop for nighttime drinks and conversation.Hours: Dinner every day, from 3 p.m. Monday to Friday, 5 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday. Lunch, Monday to Friday, from 11:30 a.m. Dinner reservations recommended weekdays, necessary weekends. Party size: Party rooms
Big, bold and beckoning, Blackstone Steakhouse stands out like Vegas in the desert.
The restaurant immediately dominates upscale eating-and-drinking adventures along Route 110, for decades Long Island's Death Valley of dining out. Accordingly, the place is jammed, noon 'til night.
Blackstone - steakhouse and sushi bar - expands the red-meat repertoire of its siblings, which include Rothmann's in East Norwich, Sagamore Steakhouse in Syosset, and Burton & Doyle in Great Neck.
It's definitely the sharpest and most entertaining of the bunch, in a stone-and-wood style suggesting what might happen if Frank Lloyd Wright and Disney partnered to produce a compact national park lodge.
You can start with shrimp cocktail, ample and good; the crabmeat counterpart, even better. And the sushi is respectable, too, with the standard uncooked fish on ovals of vinegared rice; and 11 combination rolls, most familiar.
But Blackstone really gets going with wood-roasted lamb, shredded and paired with soy-shot oyster mushrooms, set on a sweet corn polenta cake. The "firecracker" crab cake also excels, plump and meaty, perked up with smoky pepper aioli and mellowed with sweet corn fondue.
The house's pot of mussels arrives well seasoned, but many of the shellfish are overcooked. You're better off with the seared shrimp and scallops, a professional skewering, grilled with bacon, and paired with a poblano and chipotle pepper sauce.
But the seared gnocchi and goat cheese salad has its own private head-on, with greens and tangy chÃ¨vre clashing with bullets of pasta. Instead, consider spinach salad with pears, walnuts and Stilton cheese.
Blackstone expertly sears red snapper, giving it an Asian spin with sake and red miso. Salmon, crusted with parsley, panko and GruyÃ¨re, is a bit dry. But the "poison" tuna, sumac-rubbed and grilled, finished with mandarin orange-mustard sauce, materializes tender and beef-red.
All of which brings you to the first-class, juicy rib steak; and the fibrous, equally delicious salt-edged sirloin. The porterhouse has heft and the right flavor. The steaks are offered with five sauces, including a neoclassic bearnaise. The lush roasted rack of lamb, with a ragout of spinach, white beans and orrechiette pasta, could convert you. On the side, creamed spinach, braised escarole, hash browns and mashed potatoes lead the choices.
For lunch: a husky riff on the Cuban sandwich. This one could feed two; it's packed with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard, toasted and surrounded by a harvest of fries.
New York-style cheesecake and a lemon-meringue tart are the top sweets. Blueberry-almond crumbcake is dry; apple-raisin galette, a standard crostata; and "summer melon carpaccio" desirable only at gunpoint. You'll enjoy the immodest seduction of chocolate layer cake.
Much like Blackstone, it's hard to miss.
-Peter M. Gianotti, reviewed 11/27/05