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Huntington: Exit Abel Conklin's, enter Vitae

Interior shot of Vitae Wine Bar & Restaurant

Interior shot of Vitae Wine Bar & Restaurant at 54 New St. in Huntington . (2011) Photo Credit: Jim Lennon Photo Credit: Jim Lennon/

Vitae, a restaurant and wine bar, opened Monday in downtown Huntington, in the dramatically overhauled space that used to house Abel Conklin's.

Lawrence Palladino, a Northport native whose resume includes the Three Village Inn in Stony Brook,  Jackson's in Commack and Sweet Mama's in Northport, is the chef. He recently was sous chef at the Cold Spring Country Club in Huntington.

His menu includes starters such as pan-seared crab cakes, pan-seared scallops with parsnip puree, and mussels in saffron-fennel broth. Main dishes range from a pan-roasted Berkshire pork chop with sauteed onions, cherry peppers and potatoes to orecchiette with broccoli rabe and sausage; scallop, shrimp and chorizo paella to strip steak and filet mignon. There are 25 wines by the glass.

General manager and wine overseer John Estevez is a veteran of The Gatsby in Islip and the Iberian in Huntington, as well as Manhattan's Smith & Wollensky and Ocean Club.

Live music and dancing to come.

Vitae is at 54 New St., Huntington; 631-385-1919.

.The dining room at Vitae.

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