The definition of American cuisine, whether prefaced “new” or “traditional,” is constantly changing. Here are three restaurants that combine classic and modern with flair.
George Martin 1989 in Syosset is the newest member of the group that started with George Martin The Original in Rockville Centre. It has a bistro style, superior-service, standout food. Recommended: scallops Rockefeller, Korean barbecue chicken tacos, macaroni and cheese, cauliflower ravioli, mustard-and-pretzel crusted salmon, Amish country organic chicken, dry-aged ribeye steak, GM burger, salad of arugula, watermelon, and feta cheese.
George Martin 1989, 33 Berry Hill Rd., Syosset, 516-364-2144, georgemartintheoriginal.com $$-$$$
Left Coast Kitchen & Cocktails shows imagination and big flavors. The approach is casual, the result savory and very satisfying. Recommended: fish tacos with cod, the “Mediterranean nosh” including hummus and olive-feta salad, charred linguica sausage with chimichurri and sweet potato fries, crab and smoked sausage ramen, baked beets with goat cheese, chicken and waffles, pork trio with couble-cut chop, braisedbelly, and smoked slab bacon. $$-$$$
Left Coast Kitchen & Cocktails, 1810 Merrick Rd., Merrick, 516-868-5338, lckny.com
Sandbar in Cold Spring Harbor is bright, sleek, dependable, and currently very summery. Guy Reuge of Mirabelle is the executive chef; Eric Werner, chef de cuisine. Recommended: grilled octopus, chickpea fries, duck tacos, crab cake, Manhattan clam chowder, charcuterie-and-cheese board, raw bar seafood tower, seared scallops with panzanella salad, seared swordfish with squash “pasta,” pork porterhouse with corn-and-tomato salsa and tempura squash blossoms, cheeseburger with bacon-onion marmalade, dry-aged strip steak, all desserts. $$$
Sandbar, 55 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor, 631-498-6188, lessings.com