Restaurant, New American
$$$$ (Very expensive)
After a 16-week overhaul, Williston Park’s continental stalwart La Marmite has been transformed into this bright, fresh spot serving refined New American cuisine in an elegant, farmhouse chic-setting.
Open for dinner Monday to Wednesday 5 to 10 p.m., Thursday to Saturday 5 to 11 p.m., Sunday 3 to 9 p.m.; Lunch, Monday to Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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Copperhill is gold.
After a 16-week overhaul that transformed the former La Marmite, the continental star that defined the genre here for more than 40 years, this bright, fresh, creative spot opens with artful, stylish décor and a refined, precise take on seasonal New American cuisine.
In 2013, the Kearns family bought the place, which once was a farmhouse and residence, and slowly started the shift from “le” and “la” cooking. Seafood crepes departed. Kale salad arrived. Now, all is new.
Executive chef Gregory Kearns and chef de cuisine Peter Soreca were roommates at Boston College, Kearns considering accounting and Soreca pre-med. They went their separate ways and for a decade worked in kitchens. Now, they’ve reunited to establish one of the year’s top restaurants.
It’s among the most handsome dining rooms on Long Island, suggesting what might happen if a traditional farmhouse look turned citified and contemporary. Airy, spacious and sure of its design, the striking visual is matched by the edible.
Snack on house-made bratwurst, enjoy the excess of a short-rib poutine, and bite into devils on horseback, or bacon-wrapped dates filled with blue cheese. Then, savor appetizers as different from each other as marinated fluke glistening with peppery, citrusy yuzu kosho to roasted marrow bones with onion jam and toast. Sample garganelli, the hand-rolled quill-like pasta, a treat with pancetta, white beans and tomato. Try the plump, well-seasoned opener of octopus paired with red peas and chorizo.
A respectable combination of heirloom carrots, goat cheese, farro, and pistachio trails them. So do the hard baby beets sent out with pear, kale and cashews; and satisfactory burrata, even with pepitas and speck. The surf-turf starter of sea scallop, pork belly, apple and celery root is riskier and better.
Kearns prepares a terrific whole roast chicken for two that’s served as a duo of moist, truffle-touched white breast meat and dark meat sliced thinly and capped with a poached egg. His juicy Hudson Valley duck breast with orange almost rivals it. Order the cauliflower “steak,” gently charred and enlivened by capers, pine nuts, lemon and grapes, either as a vegetarian alternative or a flavor-packed side dish.
Seaside, there’s delicate, pan-seared golden tilefish, with cauliflower and hen of the woods mushrooms; and a lush, butter-poached black sea bass boosted by sweet fingerling potatoes, fig and speck.
For dessert, consider the 14-karat ice-cream sampler. The chocolate cake: 18.