Life on Long Island

Nightlife at Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi

Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi in Smithtown (Nov.

Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi in Smithtown (Nov. 28, 2011) (Credit: Ian J. Stark)

A new addition to the upscale nightlife scene has arrived: Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi in Smithtown.

On the corner of Nesconset Highway and Mt. Pleasant Road, Insignia Prime inhabits the building that had once held a Boulder Creek restaurant but that lay dormant for the past couple of years. The stand-alone property always stood out: surrounded by a lush green lawn, never in disrepair but not in use. Now home to the latest member of the Anthony Scotto Restaurant group (Rare650 in Syosset, Blackstone in Melville), the digs have evolved from neat chain eatery to a lavish space for guests with expensive tastes.

Insignia’s nightlife aims to be a major draw; the drink prices aren’t necessarily stratospheric so those who enjoy a night out won't have to fear the tab.

A few caveats. The parking is valet only, so unless you are OK with crossing Route 347 on foot (not a good idea), be prepared to pull up and surrender your keys to the attendant. Upon entry, the doors lead to either the dining space to the left or the bar area to the right, either of which is available for eating.

Under high ceilings and wooden decorative fixtures, the bar is long and rectangular, with service on three sides. Each of the four walls has a large flat-screen HDTV, and unlike other taprooms and local taverns where the monitors are poised above the bartending space, the recessed televisions effectively keep people looking across the bar at all times -- so one can watch the game without having to stare away from either their company or the crowd.

Cocktails are all $13 and include complicated mixtures, such as the “Warm Hearth” (bourbon, apple spice, ginger, bitters, honey syrup, fresh lemon squeeze), the "Black Cactus" Patron Silver, Grand Marnier, agave nectar, blood orange puree, with a black lava sea-salt rim) and the "Mad Hatter" (Grand Marnier, Frangelico, Bailey's Irish Cream, chocolate, freshly whipped cream, chocolate swirl).

Champagnes and wines are available by the glass for an average of $10 to $15; but there's also “Insignia Selections”: more celebrated choices, such as a serving of Bertani Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, 2003 Veneto ($16 for 3 ounces, $32 for 6 ounces) and some 2008 Joseph Phelps "Insignia" Napa Valley ($22 for 3 ounces, $44 for 6 ounces).

If you’d rather savor a brew, draft beers, including Blue Moon and Magic Hat No. 9 plus rarer finds like Fraziskaner and Hoegarden, are $7. The beverage list includes Cognacs and bourbons, with ports from $10 to $40, and the single-malt scotches running $10 to $65 (save a Macallan 25-year offered for $100).

The room has a long, adjacent-but-separable dining space, while a small VIP corner wall monogrammed with the names of famed establishments holds a single circular table that turns its occupants into a centerpiece.

A lounge area is set along the south edge and features an area that will serve as a small staging zone for nightly entertainment: DJs spinning Monday and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (after 9 p.m.), acoustic guitar sessions Wednesday and Friday (about 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.) and live piano on Sunday (about 5 p.m. to 6 p.m.).

If all goes as announced, Insignia could be a hot destination for this coming winter, any night of the week.

Tags: Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi , Smithtown

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