Fountain Grille anchors the hangar-size atrium of the Sheraton Long Island Hotel. You'll see a lot of activity flying through: Here come the Girl Scouts, there go the volunteer firefighters; business types tap at laptops, porters scurry.
And into an angular fountain, situated mid-lobby at the eatery edge, go coins. A respectable collection already has been tossed in. Perhaps the in-motion contributors were wishing to find a good meal after a long flight or during a busy stay. If so, their request has been granted.
Fountain Grille's menus keep to the basics. Specials aren't abundant, and the style is risk-averse. But the food often is good or better; the service very attentive and accommodating. Along a roadway of restaurants where the quality ranges far too widely, these days Fountain Grille is a pleasant surprise, whether you're checking in or not.
Duck-consomme risotto delivers flavor and diversion, with asparagus and wild mushrooms, black-truffle oil and a Parmesan tuile. Wild-mushroom ravioli are tasty, though the brandy-cream sauce could be lightened. Mango salsa accents fine lump crab cakes, served on baby greens. As you'd expect, the shrimp cocktail is a dependable starter. So is the warming, white-bean soup with a hint of garlic. Tangy Caesar salad and a walnut-poached pear number with Gorgonzola cheese are respectable alternatives. The top main course: very tender pork osso buco with garlic mashed potatoes. The savory spuds also accompany a thick, slightly peppery and easily recommended cut of filet mignon; the juicy, trim "center cut cowboy rib-eye" steak; and the strip steak, with a red-wine demi-glace. The best seafood selection takes an Asian turn - hoisin-glazed salmon, finished with coconut, pickled ginger, yuzu and wasabi dressing. Share the burger-size profiteroles for dessert.
Smoked-chicken Milanese arrives on the dry side. Underseasoned and thin onion soup gratinee; industrial-strength, dull fried mozzarella. Skippable sweets: overdone apple-tart sundae, and a "chocolate temptation" that's easy to resist.
THE BOTTOM LINE