“A neighborhood place that people want to eat at all the time” was Chris Perrotta’s mantra as he put together Blackbird Kitchen & Cocktails, the new gastropub that opened last week on Merrick Road in Wantagh where Nickel’s Ale House used to be.
A self-taught chef who for the past eight years owned Mediterranean Grill in Whitestone, Queens, Perrotta got his start in the restaurant business serving, bartending and, eventually, managing the dining room at Cafe Testarossa in Syosset. His partner in Blackbird is his brother-in-law, Frank Ubriaco.
Perrotta’s concise, seasonal menu nevertheless ranges all over the globe. Handmade agnolotti are stuffed with corn from Rottkamp Bros. Farm in Old Brookville and served with chorizo sausage. Tortillas are griddled to order and filled with braised Berkshire pork, salsa rosa, pickled onion and radishes. Hummus is deepened with roasted garlic and served with za’atar flatbread. Poutine is made with Rottkamp’s Yukon Gold fries. Baby back ribs are haunted with sichuan peppercorns and scallions. The 11 small plates range in price from $6 to $14. Skillet-roasted chicken with corn risotto is $18; a Gruyere cheeseburger (made from a blend of dry-aged brisket and short rib) with fries is $15. The menu will change with the seasons.
To drink: 12 beers on tap (including Montauk Session IPA, $7, Sierra Nevada Hop Hunter, $7 and Kelso Flemish Red, $8), 15 wines by the glass (none more than $13) and craft cocktails. “The Blackbird,” $12, contains gin, blackberries, lemon and soda.
Blackbird Kitchen & Cocktails is at 3026 Merrick Rd., Wantagh, 516-654-9200