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HIGH-END PROTEIN IN SMITHTOWN

Insignia swaggers into Smithtown as hot as a branding iron and just as subtle. Restaurateur Anthony Scotto's latest palace of protein, where the tab effortlessly rises above $100 a person, is embodied by the house's namesake sushi roll, which combines Wagyu beef, lobster and foie gras, for $40.

And the style and look of Insignia make Scotto's other star turns, Blackstone Steakhouse in Melville and Rare650 in Syosset, seem like monasteries.

That said, Insignia's steaks are excellent and so is the seafood, raw or cooked. The Kansas City steak, aged 32 days and served with unnecessary truffled foie gras butter, is grand, and comes in at $59. The Wagyu steaks rise to $115, the shellfish plateau at $99. Whole finfish: $25 to $45. Surf and turf: grilled halibut and cider-braised short ribs, $39; lobster tails and 16-ounce filet mignon, $79.

What recession?

Insignia, 610 Nesconset Hwy., Smithtown; 631-656-8100. -- PETER M. GIANOTTI


NEW IN NORTHPORT

Two of Long Island's most popular cuisines, Italian and steakhouse, come together big-time at J. Michaels Tuscan Steakhouse in Northport. The full-flavored newcomer has transformed the vintage house occupied for decades by La Capannina.

Now, you'll find first-class starters that range from lobster meatballs in marinara sauce to salmon rolls filled with colossal crabmeat and caramelized fennel; main courses from a juicy, thick New York strip steak to seared sashimi-grade tuna finished with mint relish, onion and charred tomatoes -- beefsteak, of course.

Basically, have your wedge salad and radicchio-endive-frisee with pine nuts, too.

You'll be tempted to fill up and not have much room left for dessert. That would be a mistake. The cheesecake is great. And those chocolate truffles served at meal's end rival it.

Figure $50 to $100 per contented person. J. Michaels Tuscan Steakhouse, 688 Fort Salonga Rd., Northport; 631-651-9411. -- PETER M. GIANOTTI


CHANGES FOR RUB, EAST MEADOW

The prestigious Manhattan RUB BBQ -- whose co-owner, Paul Kirk, has been dubbed the "Kansas City Baron of BBQ" -- is no longer affiliated with its four-month-old franchise in East Meadow. RUB co-owner Andrew Fischel said he terminated the relationship earlier this week, citing control issues.

East Meadow manager and Singh employee Keith Langan said the restaurant is still up and running but has already changed some recipes. It seems RUB's proprietary spices are no longer being used. Shortly, Langan said, its name also will change -- probably to Kansas City Rub -- once attorneys have signed off on the new appellation.

The restaurant is at 2367 Hempstead Tpke., East Meadow, 516-731-4227. -- JOAN REMINICK

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