New American restaurants cover a lot of territory, in geography and on the plate. Here are four that make the trip worthwhile.
HEIRLOOM TAVERN, 32 Railroad Ave., Glen Head
Scotch egg, tuna tataki, duck spring roll, goat cheese- bacon cheeseburger, lobster taco, meatball hero, lamb gyro -- there's a lot going on at this spirited gastropub. The food is consistently flavorful and the crowded spot is a good time, too.
PAINTERS' RESTAURANT, 416 South Country Rd., Brookhaven
Colorful in artwork and in food, Painters' Restaurant is an entertaining, enjoyable destination for an eclectic menu. Highlights: buttermilk fried chicken, pulled pork nachos, sesame-crusted ahi tuna, pan-seared sea scallops, the "bao," or steamed bun, du jour, and burgers.
J.A. HENEGHAN'S TAVERN, 57 Lido Blvd., Point Lookout
Pub cuisine upticks at J.A. Heneghan's, a buoyant, all-seasons stop that's especially appealing in spring. Sample the New England-style clam chowder, fish and chips, the mustard-crusted pork chop, pan-roasted red snapper, and bacon-wrapped filet mignon.
RISTEGIO'S, 641 Rte.112 North Patchogue
Co-owner Richard Lanza smoothly segues through New American, French, Italian and Japanese cuisines. His sherried lobster bisque is a refined opener; equally recommended is the husky stew of Nueske's slab bacon and beans. Other notables: "stuffed pasta pillows," light, plump and savory packets with a four-cheese filling in a meaty, first-class spin on Bolognese sauce; and chile-rubbed, bacon-wrapped pork medallions.