45 Foster Ave. Sayville, NY 631-589-7775
Positioning itself as a "recession friendly" place to eat, Bistro 25 is co-owned by restaurateur Mike Turner and chef Brian Shuren, who formerly headed the kitchen at Desmond's at East Wind in Wading River. On the menu: a small plate of truffled macaroni and cheese ($7), a steak sandwich ($15) and an entree of braised short ribs ($17). All wines are $25 a bottle.
And forget about cholesterol counts. At this stylish and comfortable spot, tempting brunch choices include pork belly with poached eggs, banana pancakes with sausage and smoked mozzarella and ricotta fritters. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.Hours: Lunch, Tuesday to Friday, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., brunch, Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., dinner, Tuesday to Thursday, 4 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 4 to 11 p.m., Sunday, 3 to 9 p.m.; Ambience: Good Service: Very Good Credit cards: Accepted Accessibility: Restrooms small, not handicap equipped.
Financially stressed epicures in search of solace will find it at Bistro 25, a warm and stylish spot where nothing on the menu costs more than $19. On the well-edited wine list: 25 bottles at $25 apiece. Chef Brian Shuren shows he cares by sending out spicy warm breadsticks arranged like stems in a paper-lined glass. It's easy to believe what follows will be good.
To swoon from: an appetizer of braised pork belly over a sweet (but not cloying) corn pudding. A sprightly arugula salad with shaved Parmesan and lemon vinaigrette is a good way to start, as is a bright, roasted beet salad with asparagus, pears, frisee, goat cheese and sherry vinaigrette. Four of us make fast work of the rich, truffled mac and cheese. Also doing a quick disappearing act are crunchy fried oysters atop a refreshing cucumber salad. Tender, roseate grilled lamb porterhouse is delectable, perfumed with rosemary, accompanied by lovely baby vegetables and garlic mashed potatoes. I'm sold, as well, on the juicy pork tenderloin au poivre, with a fragrant root vegetable puree. Good, but not quite stellar, are monkfish medallions in a Champagne beurre blanc with fingerling potatoes and standout spinach. Desserts are class acts: a carrot bread pudding with house-made cream cheese ice cream, a chocolate peanut-butter sundae with toffee and a tart, flaky blackberry lemon tarte Tatin.
Pedestrian whole-grain bread detracts from an otherwise fine sandwich of roast chicken with applewood bacon, tomato, avocado, cucumber and sprouts. And a condiment called tomato "bruschetta" must be picked off the risotto accompanying the scallops.
This winning place is nobody's secret, so don't even think about going without reservations.