It’s been almost two years since work started on the corner of Middle Neck and Cutter Mill Roads in Great Neck. This former home of XO Bar & Restaurant, The Living Room, Sports Corner Café, Plaza Madrid and Mushrooms (please let me know if you can remember farther back than that) opened last Tuesday as Sip City, specializing in international small-plates cooking and fresh-juice cocktails.
According to general manager John Capobianco (who opened On3, now Fork & Vine, in Glen Head six years ago), the establishment is a prototype for what the investors hope will be three Long Island locations. “We looked for communities with strong downtowns and good foot traffic,” Capobianco said. Plans are in the works for Huntington and Babylon.
Last night the place was hopping. The dining room has tall windows that open up to the street and all the window-side tables were occupied, as was much of the bar and bi-level lounge.
Sip City’s small-plates menu draws from six culinary traditions: American, Mid-East, European, Asian-fusion, Nuevo Latino and African. I tried Singapore street noodles (from the Asian roster) and was thoroughly impressed with the play of hot and sour flavors, the perfectly cooked rice noodles. Such a refined dish deserved a more interesting protein than cubes of grilled chicken. Fattoush salad (Mid-East) was less successful, overdressed mesclun greens punctuated with a few raisins, carrots and strips of jicama and some triangles of fried pita. Note to chef: Great Neck is a very fattoush-savvy town.
I did not avail myself of any cocktails but apparently Sip City’s signature drink is a margarita made with fresh watermelon juice. Tonight from 5 to 7 p.m., they’ll be giving them away—along with free hors d’oeuvres—to celebrate the official ribbon cutting. Tomorrow, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., there will be a promotion involving Stoli models sharing drink recipes on iPads as well as giving away free drinks. (No iPads will be given away.)
Sip City is at 16 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-482-1500.