Aperitif rouses appetites. It's the latest in bistromania, the ongoing French revolution in Long Island restaurants.
Most formal French establishments have been overthrown in these provinces, succeeded by dining rooms with broader choices and lower prices. New theme: Let them eat onion soup - and throw in some sliders, too.
This newcomer is subtitled bistro, lounge and wine bar. Aperitif, which takes over the ex-address of Aqua, is run by the Sage Bistro group, which includes Sage Bistro in Bellmore, Brasserie Persil in Oceanside and Sage Bistro Moderne in Woodbury.
Plenty of dark wood, an artful tile floor and globe lights give you the idea, along with oversize images of the Eiffel Tower and the Alexandre III bridge that could have been sprung from the hallucinatory imaginations of
Cocteau and Rimbaud.
Creative liberties also apply to chef Ismet Saz's cuisine, which drifts beyond Paris into New American and Asian foodscapes. And, for more variety, late on weekend nights, the bistro segues to lounge, DJ included.
Yes, there's satisfying onion soup; fresh oysters, steak frites and tarte Tatin, too. Then: snappy flatbread with caramelized onion, prosciutto and Gruyère cheese; and a skyline of crisp, duck rolls with hoisin sauce. Tasty shrimp beignets arrive with walnuts and tomato salad. Fingerling-potato salad supports a turret of smoky, lardon-wrapped shrimp. And the filet mignon sliders, with sauteed onions and Gruyère, rival the excellent grilled hanger steak with fries and a light sauce Béarnaise. Creamy potato puree and more Gruyère seal a mild beef stew. Grilled artichoke, tomatoes and arugula salad complement the ultrathin, tender, cross-hatched chicken paillard. And you may dive into mussels, either Provençale or marinière. Satisfying selection of wines and brews, too.
Overorchestrated crab rolls; and bland, oily zucchini pancakes. Sweet meatballs slip on coconut-curry sauce. Crunch-free fish-and-chips.
THE BOTTOM LINE