The word "bistro" used to mean a small French restaurant with homey food and modest prices. It has changed more than a little to include lively, casual eateries of all sorts. Here are three very different restaurants that now identify themselves as bistros.
Market Bistro in Jericho is an American take on the theme, with a wide-ranging menu and the vibrant style that hints of a brasserie — but that topic is for another time. Recommended: roast chicken; tuna tartare; flatbread of spring vegetables; market pickles; grilled octopus salad; coconut-lemongrass mussels; bison sliders with balsamic-vinegared onions and herbed aioli; the house burger, a blend of dry-aged rib-eye, Kobe beef brisket, and short rib, with garlic aioli; pan-seared New York strip steak with black truffle butter. Moderate to expensive.
Market Bistro, 519 N. Broadway, Jericho, 516-513-1487, marketbistroli.com
Almond in Bridgehampton adds a New American accent to the French and does it with flair. The food also is consistently excellent. Recommended: steamed artichoke; escargots; adobo duck taquito with ramp kimchi, and smoked feta; clams casino with smoked black-pepper bacon and kimchi butter; scallop and fennel crudo; vodka-cured gravlax with ramp butter; "Strong Island" duck ramen with fennel confit and pickled shiitake mushrooms; Korean-style BBQ short rib; roast chicken with Yukon gold potatoes; pork ravioli; curried mussels; raw bar plâteau; chocolate pot de crème; sticky toffee date cake. Expensive.
Almond, 1 Ocean Rd., Bridgehampton, 631-537-5665, almondrestaurant.com
Bistro Cassis in Huntington comes closest to the traditional definition of bistro. It's a cozy, welcoming charmer, with attentive service and Gallic specialties. Recommended: croque monsieur; quiche Lorraine; salade Niçoise; frisée aux lardons; baked escargots; raw oysters; mussels marinière; grilled hanger steak with Bordelaise sauce; sliced duck breast and duck leg with raspberries and cassis sauce; braised lamb shank; roast chicken for two; and the weekend plats du jour of fish stew (Friday), braised short rib (Saturday), and veal Marengo (Sunday). Moderate to expensive.
Bistro Cassis, 55 Wall St., Huntington, 631-421-4122, reststarinc.com