HENDRICK's GETS RETRO REDESIGN
He may have had breakfast here in 1790, but the father of our country would hardly recognize George Washington Manor in its new incarnation. George and Gillis Poll have transformed the Roslyn landmark across from the clock tower into Hendrick's Tavern, a sprawling complex that combines a swanky New American restaurant with an elegant catering facility.
With its timbered ceilings and rich leather accents, Hendrick's Tavern looks like a country inn that's been there forever -- ironic since it looks nothing like the establishment that was there forever. This is one of Long Island's most appealing dining rooms. Actually, there are multiple dining rooms, three bars and a lounge.
The menu looks to be a real crowd-pleaser. Prime steaks are featured in the middle, surrounded by a chorus of hot trends: raw bar, small plates, artisan pizzas. The Polls know their audience, and they would be remiss if they didn't offer up a handful of pastas, though the presence of chicken Parmesan was a bit of a head-scratcher (ditto the robata beef and onion-and-bone-marrow soup). For three courses, figure on at least $50, exclusive of drinks.
We liked almost everything we tried: mustardy deviled eggs showered with surgically snipped chives, wedges of iceberg and butter lettuce buried under blue-cheese dressing and crisp lardons, a fine little butterflied Cornish hen, a flavorful lamb burger.
Brussels sprouts leaves were fried and salted such that they ceased being vegetables and attained snack-food status. A side of lobster fried rice was the only misstep: It seemed to have been made with arborio or another short grain, which gave the dish an odd, sticky quality. For dessert, a stack of crepes layered with pastry cream was restrained and delicious.
The event spaces at Hendrick's Tavern range from the intimate to the grand, some or all of which can be combined to handle parties of any size. The decor manages to honor the facility's Colonial history without looking hokey.
Hendrick's Tavern is at 1305 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn, 516-621-1200. -- ERICA MARCUS
New to Port Jefferson Station is a Turkish restaurant with the unlikely name of Erol's Chit Chat Cafe. The "Erol" part refers to co-owner Erol Catalbas, said business partner Semiral Catalbas; the "Chit Chat" part is because "we thought it was a cute name." Chef Bora Pala previously cooked at Angora in Medford.
The cafe is actually a dining room embedded inside a Turkish grocery store.
Breakfast time, you can get your eggs with Turkish pastrami ($5.95); at lunch, there are salads ($4.95 to $7.95) as well as burgers and panini, among them an item called Turkish toast made with Turkish pepperoni and mozzarella. Dinner can be a juicy lamb kebab ($10.95).
Erol's Chit Chat Cafe is at 1597 Rte. 112, Port Jefferson Station, 631-509-4300. -- JOAN REMINICK