First bites: Huntington Social

Dehydration is the main cause for a hangover, Dehydration is the main cause for a hangover, experts say. Photo Credit: Handout

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The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.

Downtown Huntington, rich with restaurants, now hosts a whimsical, witty, very good gastropub-cocktail lounge. Huntington Social is the village's latest way to enjoy a night on the town.

You'll earn your pleasures. Huntington Social is on the second floor and you arrive via a long, steep climb. The building is at the southeast corner of New York Avenue and Main Street that used to house Chesterfields. Consider the site transformed, with exposed brick and dark wood, half-moon red-velvet banquettes and a striking bar.

Early favorites from chef Christopher Lee: "Mary's meatballs" atop polenta, the veal-cheek sliders with a Vietnamese accent, excellent fries, and a grilled cheese sandwich enriched by brioche bread, Fontina and the subversive intro of tender short-rib beef. The menu is compact and you'll be tempted just to stick with the "snacks" and drinks. There's plenty to drink, too. HS tries for a playful, speakeasy vibe. If you don't want to wait, arrive early.

Huntington Social, 330 New York Ave., Huntington; 631-923-2442.

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