Tucked into a gastropub menu that takes in chicken-fried steak sliders, a goat-cheese bacon cheeseburger, oxtail steamed bun and a platter anchored by hummus, feta and flatbread, comes the richest pasta I've tasted this year.
The restaurant is Heirloom Tavern, Kent Monkan's popular and populist venture situated at the Glen Head railroad station. And the pasta gilds a classic Roman dish. Get ready for fettuccine lobster carbonara.
Spaghetti alla carbonara, definitely in my top five pastas, traditionally is made with bacon, eggs, pecorino cheese, and black pepper. Sometimes, the bacon is smoked. Purists debate whether to use pancetta or guanciale. Parmesan cheese provides a more refined rendition. Debates abound.
But Monkan's generous version lists bacon, peas, arugula and Parmesan cream as well as tender lobster meat in lush harmony. Given the possibilities, this is a balanced, clever and very satisfying update
It lights up the place, and is reason enough to visit Heirloom Tavern. A plate is $24 well-spent.
Heirloom Tavern, 32 Railroad Ave., Glen Head; 516-686-6633.