The lobster roll at Bijou in Melville.

The lobster roll at Bijou in Melville. Credit: Brittainy Newman

Like batters sliding into home base just before the thunderstorm hits, a tide of restaurants have debuted since Thanksgiving. In terms of spectacle, though, few match Bijou in Melville, the newest Anthony Scotto production.

With a centerpiece bar and dramatic dining room — the scale of both left over from when this space held Jewel, run by chef Tom Schaudel — Bijou is sweeping in looks as well as menu. Chef Scott Andriani's menu takes a vertiginous tour through Asia, from dim sum and sushi to Japanese bar food, Thai curry and salad, and Singapore-style fry bread. Steak-wise, the sole focus is on Australian-raised Wagyu beef.

"I didn’t want to repeat myself," said Scotto, one of Long Island's most prominent restaurateurs, about that choice. His company, Scotto Brothers, also owns four other steakhouses, including Blackstone, less than two miles away.

When Scotto purchased Jewel in 2019, he kept it open for a few months with chef Tomo Kobayashiat the reins, but planned to close sometime in 2020 to renovate and rebrand into a French-Asian concept, which was firmly Kobayashi’s wheelhouse. Though the closure came abruptly, due to COVID-19, and lasted through 2020 and most of 2021 — and Kobayashi moved on — Scotto stayed that course. He calls the final result "Pan-Asian."

"The idea of doing a modern, American-Asian concept with Fresh influence came from the fact that we have two other restaurants on Route 110, and the corridor didn’t have this — it was something that was missing," said Scotto, who, in 2019, opened the gargantuan Italian restaurant One10, on Broadhollow Rd. in Melville.

Bijou in Melville.

Bijou in Melville. Credit: Brittainy Newman

Scotto said that staffing challenges, in part, delayed Bijou's opening longer than anticipated; in the end, "80 to 90" people have been hired to run the restaurant, and longtime collaborator Beth Danner served as the design lead. Despite its size, Bijou has a softer feel than One10, and the dining room retains the sparkly, modern quality of Jewel, with an open view into the kitchen. Come milder weather, the outdoor patio will open again, Scotto said.

At Bijou, the kitchen hopscotches through East and Southeast Asia without guile. Caesar salad becomes "Tokyo Caesar," for instance (with tatsoi and bok choy among the greens and kewpie mayo in the dressing). The sushi roster runs from nigiri sushi to colossal special rolls, including a Reuben-inspired one of salmon pastrami, oshinko, cucumber, pickled mustard seed, caraway rice, yuzu and Dijon. The dim sum menu mashes China, Japan, France and the American south together via Japanese-style chicken over waffles, pork buns, duck tacos, mushroom-filled shumai in a steamer basket and an egg custard dish that resembles crème brûlée but is unexpectedly savory and laced with black truffle and foie gras.

The Tokyo Caesar salad with bok choy, garlic-anchovy kewpie and cured...

The Tokyo Caesar salad with bok choy, garlic-anchovy kewpie and cured egg yolk at Bijou in Melville. Credit: Brittainy Newman

French-inspired dishes pepper the menu, including a Niçoise salad, French onion soup and coq au vin; the latter shares the entree bill with dishes like miso black cod and Milanese-style pork tonkatsu. Few restaurants these days seem to debut without some form of bowls, and Bijou is no exception, plating pork-belly lo mein, lobster fried rice and a daily spin on ramen.

The house Australian Wagyu variety is made into a twist on beef with broccoli ($52), but also served as a $98 strip steak. Dim sum and bowls fall between $9 and $42, while entrees cover a wide span, from $28 to $125. Desserts — such as matcha panna cotta — from $9 to $15.

Bijou seems to have not forgotten its place nestled near the offices of Melville: Happy hour, starting at 4, is punctuated by $2 oysters (from both East and West coasts) and martinis drawn from an urn of pineapple-infused vodka on the bar. Other cocktails combine Japanese whisky, sake, mezcal, matcha, yuzu and various purées and juices, and there are at least 31 wines by the glass, including sake and a few Napa cabs.

Bijou’s bar opens at 4 p.m. and the dining room opens for dinner at 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday at 400 Broadhollow Rd., Melville; 631-755-5777,

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