106 Bedford Ave., Bellmore
SERVICE: Friendly, attentive
AMBIENCE: Streamlined, woody
ESSENTIALS: Open for dinner 5 to 11 p.m., Sunday brunch 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., bar open to 2 a.m. weekends, closed Monday. Weekend reservations suggested; major credit cards accepted; wheelchair accessible.
Crown Steakhouse is Long Island’s highest-octane stop for red meat, a destination for beef and booze, often rare, usually well done.
What had been Weinman’s hardware store has been transformed into a serious whiskey bar with a neighborly restaurant that specializes in Black Angus.
If these are your priorities, Crown easily earns its stars.
The heads that wear the Crown are owner Gerry McClorey and chef-partner Tim Eagan. They preside over a shiny wood, straight-line space that’s dominated by a wall of shelves the length of the dining room.
It’s devoted to bottles of Scotch, with stellar single malts; Irish whiskey, sour mash whiskey, bourbon, rye and more totaling about 200 bottles. It’s a knockout of a cabinet.
A dram or two in, consider Eagan’s platters of chilled shellfish and his charcuterie board. Down raw oysters and clams, dive into a major shrimp cocktail, pick contentedly on prosciutto, speck, Wagyu salami, Parmesan cheese.
Less successful: mild-to-anonymous onion soup and a crabcake that neither holds together nor delivers a jumbo lump treat. “Rock & rye” might apply to a comeback drink, but the appetizer so named turns into an overly sweet affair of shrimp and polenta.
You’re better off with the house’s iceberg wedge salad, with plenty of bacon and blue cheese; and the combo of burrata and heirloom tomatoes, boosted by very good balsamic vinegar. The chopped salad tastefully centers on goat cheese.
Preliminaries concluded, focus on Egan’s bone-in, aged beef, cooked to the temperature you want. The best are a tender 22-ounce porterhouse and a juicy 22-ounce, thick-cut rib eye, which weigh in at $63 and $54, respectively.
Coming close: the 16-ounce, bone-in Kansas City strip steak, at $42. Off-the-bone steaks are in the $24-to-$38 range. On the side, the basics take in a baked potato, and macaroni and cheese.
Although whiskey has been a partner with steak over the years, try a glass of cabernet sauvignon, malbec, primitivo or Chianti.
They will also be right if you’re planning on the respectable Cheddar cheeseburger ($18) with sauteed onions and mushrooms, as well as the braised beef short rib and grilled venison.
The roasted Long Island duck breast, finished with a ginger-orange glaze, arrives rosy and respectable. But, despite a supporting cast of mussels, the seared Atlantic cod could be included in a bland diet.
Cheesecake and Key lime pie are routine; chocolate cake with a raspberry accent, less than that. Banoffee, a pie made with bananas and toffee, improves things. The dessert originated, suitably, in an English pub.
Now, to liquor. From the Scotch section, stars abound. Look for the stirring Balvenie 17 Year DoubleWood; bold Aberlour A’Bunadh, fruity Glenfiddich 12 Year Old, complex and smoky Lagavulin 16 Year Old, citrusy Oban 14 Year Old. Find the ginger and dried orange peel notes in Yamazaki 12 Year Old.
From the North Fork, sample the smooth, hoppy Pine Barrens Single Malt Whiskey and the slightly spicy Pine Barrens Cherrywood Smoked Malt Whiskey.
Rye enthusiasts have 15 selections; bourbon boosters, 41; devotees of Irish whiskey, 43. And the deep-pocketed may go down Crown’s reserve list, stopping at the Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve, full-bodied and mellow, with an intricate combination of aromas and flavors leading to a very long finish.
It should take a few visits, more than a few dollars, and a designated driver to enjoy a taste of this remarkable repertoire — the jewels in the Crown.
Correction: In an earlier version of this story, chef Tim Eagan’s last name was misspelled.