Like a lot of enthusiastic eaters, I sometimes fantasize about having one of those restaurant reality shows where the host sweeps in and whips everyone into shape. At Om Bistro in Great Neck the other night, it was hard to silence my inner Gordon Ramsay.
Om opened a little over a month ago in the Great Neck space that used to be Tulip. The space has been brightened, service is friendly and efficient and the kitchen is in the hands of a veteran chef Richard Desmond.
What’s lacking is a coherent vision.
Desmond, who earned 3 stars from Newsday when he cooked at Public House 49 in Patchogue, is a skilled technician. The warm biscuits that filled the bread basket were delicious, as were the expertly fried smoked trout cakes and the perfectly medium-rare seared duck breast. But the chef also has a tendency to bludgeon the lily: that trout cake needed a dollop of crème fraîche, not a puddle of sweetened horseradish rémoulade. The duck was saddled with scalloped potatoes, sauteed baby carrots, beets and caramelized pineapple. A perfectly nice frisee salad came with bresaola bits and green beans. And a fried egg. And "preserved crispy figs”— which seemed like a single fried dried fig.
Meanwhile, an otherwise exemplary tossed salad was undersalted, lacked acid. A tasty, rustic cauliflower pesto could not rescue overcooked spaghetti.
I confess that I am not a fan of elaborately conceived food but I acknowledge that it has a place. Om is not the place. From the desultory wine list to the faux neoclassical paintings to the egregiously flimsy sub-diner flatware and cutlery, nothing about Om — except the chef’s ambition — suggests fine dining.
Om Bistro is at 4 Welwyn Rd., Great Neck, 516-487-1070.