Bistros, no matter the style, are friendly spots for casual fare. They're especially welcome during the rush of the holiday season. Here are three that suit the mood.
Aperitif in Rockville Centre uses the French bistro theme as a springboard to Gallic classics. But the restaurant crosses borders, too. Recommended: house salad with frisee and goat cheese; seafood salad; shrimp beignets; cured meat and cheese selections; filet mignon sliders; hanger steak with fries; beef Bourguignon; grilled lamb chops; duck a l'orange; crème brûlée; profiteroles. Moderate.
Aperitif, 242 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre, 516-594-3404, aperitifbistro.com
Maxwell's in Islip takes the American route to bistroville, with familiar dishes in an informal setting. There are some Euro side trips. Recommended: Bavarian pretzel with smoked Gouda, onion fondue, and kielbasa; poke tuna tacos; "smokehouse" burger with hickory-smoked bacon and smoked Cheddar; smoked short-rib chili; cobb salad; mini-Reuben sliders; pastrami and corned beef Reuben. Moderate
Maxwell's, 501 Main St., Islip, 631-210-0011, lessings.com
Bar Frites in Greenvale sports the requisite vintage mirrors, tilework and more to deliver the sense of a bistro. So does the food. Recommended: onion soup gratinee; escargots; mussels with leeks and Pernod; frisee aux lardons; croque monsieur and croque madame sandwiches; seared duck breast and confit of leg; steak tartare; meat loaf; sirloin steak frites; braised short ribs. Moderate to expensive.
Bar Frites, 400 Wheatley Plaza, Greenvale, 516-484-7500, pollrestaurants.com