More. More. More. That seems to be the credo at S.T.A.G.S Tap House in Huntington, where executive chef Adam Goldgell is re-imagining gastropub fare from pork belly (seasoning it with jerk and serving it with curried banana and macadamia butter) to nachos (made with duck confit and tater tots).
S.T.A.G.S opened last week in the Main Street space that was Ideal Element and, before that, Daisho and Dragon Gate. Goldgell, a veteran L.I. chef who achieved national prominence when he was runner-up on the first season of Food Network’s “Restaurant Express” with Robert Irvine, was given free kitchen rein by S.T.A.G.S’ three owners. “We didn’t have any fixed ideas,” said partner Jeffrey States. “We just said, ‘Create something new using familiar ingredients, give us dishes that people haven’t seen.’ ”
Goldgell was happy to run with that. “Eclectic but accessible” is how he characterizes the menu. That means the Vietnamese banh mi sandwich is filled with pulled wild boar, pork pate, crisp pork skins, broccolini and cucumber-daikon slaw; barbecued pork ribs are from Iberico pigs and glazed with guava; the chicken under a brick is served underneath an old-fashioned, cast-iron iron (like the Monopoly piece); shakshuka, a middle-eastern dish of eggs poached in tomato-pepper sauce, features lobster and Honduran cheese.
The menu’s wit is matched by its earnestness. Goldgell is getting his chickens from Raleigh’s Poultry Farms in Kings Park, his seafood from Gosman’s in Montauk, his greens from Satur Farms in Cutchogue, trout from the Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery. He makes his own pate and ricotta and lemon curd and smokes his own brisket and duck pastrami.
Small plates range from $7 to $12; large plates from $16 to $32 (for a grass-fed strip steak).
States and his partners Joe Forgione and Michael Garbedian (who manages) gutted the space and S.T.A.G.S bears no resemblance to its predecessors. Walls are exposed brick, ceilings feature wood beams, light bulbs are exposed. The front of the restaurant is dominated by roomy granite bar — with more than 20 beers on tap — and bar-height tables each equipped with an electrical outlet and a dimmer switch (the better to Instagram). The comfortable dining room seats about 40 people.
S.T.A.G.S Tap House is at 308 Main St., Huntington, 631-923-2060, stagstaphouse.com