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Mosaic in St. James reopens after expansion

Deconstructed cheesecake  is a dessert at Mosaic

Deconstructed cheesecake  is a dessert at Mosaic restaurant in St. James. Photo Credit: Joel Cairo

After 13 years, one of Long Island’s most singular eateries has gotten a stylish overhaul to match the cuisine. Mosaic, St. James’ tasting-menu-only restaurant, has reopened after a six-month renovation that doubles the size of the dining room.

When Jonathan Contes, 36, and Tate Morris, 40, opened in 2005, they barely changed the décor from Barbera, the modest, 30-seat restaurant they replaced. But when the podiatrist next door retired, the partners decided, to “break on through to the other side,” Contes said.

Mosaic is adding only 10 seats to the dining room, but, for the first time, there will be “an actual bar that you can sit at,” Contes said.

The new décor is sleek and simple — white tablecloths, cafe chairs, dark wood floors in the dining room, black-and-white hexagonal tiles in the bar.

The restaurant’s tiny kitchen — which barely accommodates the two co-chefs plus a dishwasher — remains the same size, but by substituting a lowboy for the old refrigerator and exiling some other equipment to a hallway, they have managed to increase the work space significantly.

As always, Mosaic’s menu varies daily, depending on the market and the chefs’ whims, but Contes said that their culinary approach has not changed in the least. Nor will there be any change in the atmosphere. “Super laid back, that’s always been the vibe,” he said.

“Our food and our plating have always been high-end,” Contes said. "Now the space will match the food.”

Mosaic is open for dinner Tuesday to Saturday. The five-course tasting menu changes nightly, but you might encounter grilled romaine and marinated tomato salad with fried mozzarella bocconcini, miso-blackened salmon with fried barley and pressed yogurt, wild-mushroom carbonara with bacon and wilted arugula, veal short rib with  vanilla-roasted celery root  and lobster fritter, dark-chocolate brownie with pignoli brittle and espresso gelato. The cost is $86 a person.

418 North Country Rd., St. James 631-584-2058, eatmosaic.com.

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