CHEF RAMSAY STRIKES ON LI
Expect emotions to run high on tomorrow's episode of "Kitchen Nightmares," when mouthy mega-chef Gordon Ramsay deconstructs and reconstructs Classic American, an eatery in West Babylon (8 p.m. on Fox/5).
Co-owners (and former waitresses) Colleen Gaertner and Naomi Cotter were struggling to stay afloat when they got an inquiry from Ramsay's team at Fox Broadcasting. "It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Cotter, who went on to describe Ramsay as "taller in person and way better looking" than the cameras let on.
The chef and his crew were at the restaurant Nov. 4-9. The result of their travails is evident in the place's all-American contemporary look and revitalized menu.
I had occasion to sample a couple of items last month, when I stopped in for lunch. The waitress recommended the turkey burger, which turned out to be sensational. Light and herbal, it came on a multigrain roll topped with Muenster cheese, cranberry mustard and arugula for $8. I savored every bite of the unconventional but superior Cuban sandwich: ham, pulled pork, Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard and dill pickle on a baguette for $11.
What Ramsay should have done - but didn't have the budget to - was put in a new floor to replace the worn, pitted one. Maybe the owners can if the place really takes off.
Classic American is at 691 Rte. 109, West Babylon, 631-226-3663. - JOAN REMINICK
BEER AND 10-CENT WINGS
To go with its big beer list, Croxley Ales is offering 10-cent, Buffalo-style chicken wings on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, starting at 5 p.m. On the regular menu, the house's wings are $8.95 a dozen. On Saturday afternoons and all day on Sundays, chicken wings go for 20 cents each.
Croxley has three branches on Long Island: 129 New Hyde Park Rd., Franklin Square, 516-326-9542; 7-9 S. Park Ave., Rockville Centre, 516-764-0470; and 190 Main St., Farmingdale, 516-293-7700. - Peter M. Gianotti
MRS. BROWN'S LOVELY GRILL
Breakfast and lunch (but not dinner) are now being served at the new Mrs. Brown's Kitchen & Grill in Kings Park, a town with a restaurant scene that seems to be really taking off.
The eatery made its debut last month in the former digs of Hokey Pokey. Nice makeover. What used to be a dark, dingy diner is now a lovely contemporary spot in soothing tones of pear and almond.
At a recent breakfast, food was slow in coming. I was not impressed with Hudson's pancakes, which were thin and rubbery. A Western omelet, on the other hand, was fluffy and light, served with crisp, oniony home-fried potatoes. Challah French toast was fine, too. Clearly, the place has promise but a few kinks to work out.
Mrs. Brown's Kitchen & Grill is at 2 Pulaski Rd., Kings Park, 631-292-2740. - JOAN REMINICK