Besito is heading south of the border — if you consider the border to be the Long Island Expressway. The Mexican restaurant, with branches in Roslyn and Huntington, opens on Sept. 29 in the West Islip location that, until April, was Roots Bistro Gourmand.
John Tunney, who owns Besito with John Rieger, said that he had long wanted to open on the South Shore. “We already have many loyal, long-term customers from around here,” he said, “and over the years we’ve gotten so many requests to open in the neighborhood.”
At 80 seats, the West Islip location is slightly smaller than its siblings (each of which accommodates more than 100 people) and at first Tunney planned to pare the menu down to cut the smaller kitchen some slack. But, he discovered, “it’s not so easy. I can’t take off this enchilada, I can’t take off that soup. In the end it’s exactly the same menu as at the other places.”
That menu, orchestrated at all three Besito kitchens on Long Island by executive chef Carlos Arellano, starts off with the restaurant’s signature, made-to-order guacamole ($11.95) and then offers appetizers ($8.95 to $11.95) such as chicken flautas, tortilla soup, shrimp tacos and chile rellenos. Mains ($19.95 to $29.95) include enchiladas Suizas, chipotle-lime-glazed Sonora baby back ribs, roasted salmon with manchamanteles mole, grilled skirt steak with roasted corn and pomegranate vinaigrette. The restaurant also offers a large selection of tequilas.
Tunney and his team thoroughly Besito-ed the old Roots building, cladding the exterior of the entrance with reclaimed wood and, inside, installing the same wall of candles, eucalyptus-wood beams and cantina-style light fixtures.
In a few weeks Besito will be open for lunch but for now, it’s just dinner seven days a week. Tunney said that the restaurant is already booked full for Friday and suggests that prospective guests call before coming on opening weekend.
399 Montauk Hwy., West Islip, 631-620-3222, besitomexican.com.