FINE-TUNING TWO STEAK

I had dinner last week at Two Steak & Sushi, the sumptuous, sprawling restaurant-bar-lounge-event space in New Hyde Park. Two opened to great fanfare in March, got 3½ stars from Newsday's Peter Gianotti and ranked second on his 2010 Top 10 new restaurants list.

On a Wednesday night, Two was about half full. Managing partner Jay Grossman told me that weeknights are tough. "The reality on Long Island is that everyone wants to eat at 8 o'clock on Saturday night," he said, sounding a familiar restaurateur's lament. Accepting this reality, Grossman decided last week to close the restaurant on Mondays, and to discontinue lunch.

Two launched with a very ambitious culinary program, and a huge menu. "Steak and sushi" was really the tip of the iceberg. The meats were - and continue to be - carefully sourced from small-scale ranches and farms. Starters drew from classic steakhouse, New American and Japanese influences. A separate Asian-inflected menu offered sushi and sashimi a la carte, omakase chef's tasting menus, and yakitori, bamboo-skewered tidbits cooked to order on a custom-made yakitori grill.

Ten months into its run, the menu has been streamlined, the yakitori selections greatly reduced. Grossman and chef-partner James McDevitt remain committed to sustainably raised meats, but quietly wonder if all of their customers appreciate the effort.

I've praised Two loudly and often. (Unlike Gianotti, I do not dine at Two anonymously; I know the partners.) Last week was the first time I'd been there since June. McDevitt's kitchen was still firing on all cylinders: Caesar salad, roast chicken, filet mignon, crisp Brussels sprouts and roasted wild mushrooms were all impeccable.

Two is at 1270 Union Tpke., New Hyde Park, 516-358-2222. - ERICA MARCUS


DINING FOR A GOOD CAUSE

Want to find out what some of Long Island's top restaurants, wineries, caterers, breweries, bakers and confectioners are up to? You'll be able to savor and sip and, at the same time, help a good cause: the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It all happens at "A Taste of Long Island 2011," slated for Monday, Jan. 31, at the Carltun in Eisenhower Park.

Tickets are $100 for general admission and $150 for reserved seating - but if you want that, you must be one of the first 100 people responding.

Among the restaurants strutting their stuff: Piccola Bussola in Mineola, Limani in Roslyn, Morton's The Steakhouse in Great Neck, Cafe Buenos Aires in Huntington, Panama Hatties in Huntington Station and Wild Honey on Main in Port Washington. More info at 516-465-4700. - JOAN REMINICK