32 W. Main St., Patchogue
SERVICE: Burdened, directionless
AMBIENCE: Polished wood, painted brick, lots of noise
ESSENTIALS: Open 11:30 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Thursday, 11:30 to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday; bar menu to 2 a.m. weekdays and 3 a.m. weekends; weekend reservations recommended; major credit cards accepted; wheelchair accessible
Indigo is all about blues.
The newest light on Patchogue’s Main Street is, in concept, an idea with promise in one of Long Island’s liveliest, remade downtowns.
It specializes in steak, casual American dishes, bar-and-pub stuff, and raising decibels.
This successor to the German-themed Bierhaus is a combination of restaurant and late-night spot aimed at a youthful audience. The entire crowd isn’t necessarily drawn here for the food. Indigo may provide you with a taste of both experiences, depending on how long you stick around.
When a pressured waitress asks for the third time whether you want your check, when another staff member starts crumpling the white butcher paper protecting tablecloths, when the olive oil bottles vanish, you’ll know the transition time has arrived.
By then, the equivalent of a rope line will be set up outside, and the indoor music will get louder. The stop-conversation soundtrack happens on weeknights, too, even when you can count diners on one hand.
All this occurs in a spacious room, where the bright bar and the TVs are attractions, a few of the beers are available, and polished dark wood and painted, exposed brick frame a case study in disorganization.
Chef Alana Hoffmann and general manager Connor Beutel must conduct an unwieldy balancing act.
So, order carefully. Be patient with the besieged staff. Have a drink. Try not to think about what it must be like in one of the region’s finer minimum-security prisons. Have a second.
Then, sample the best beginning: Patchogue back alley ribs — meaty, upfront bar food decorated with toasted nuts. Mussels, finished with white wine, butter and garlic, also are a generous portion, well-prepared.
But the house’s crabcakes have the texture of pasty pucks and mainly evade the crustacean. Fried avocado slices, with a jalapeño-lime ranch dressing; and the dry chicken wings are overdone bar food.
You’re much better off with the lobster fries, a union of tasty shellfish, béchamel and near-crisp spuds. Macaroni and cheese, however, could be prescribed in a bland diet. There’s more to the chopped kale salad with goat cheese.
A special of Kobe steak tartare arrives refrigerator-cold, a chewy, chunky disc studded with cubes of beet, capped with a raw egg and microgreens. You’d lobby for a single caper, some onion, a little mustard, a drop of Worcestershire sauce, a renegade anchovy, toast points of edible bread. House-made biscuits, available a la carte, are as arid as the accompanying florets of butter are hard.
The side dish of mashed potatoes suggests there may be an overall butter shortage in town, even the cut-it-with-a-knife variety. Instead, veer toward the savory creamed spinach and the crunchy onion rings.
Indigo’s main-course steaks help rescue the evening. They take in an excellent, very tender, pan-seared filet mignon with garlic butter; and a juicy, flavor-packed hanger steak with peppercorn gravy. The porterhouse for two is respectable enough, though, for presentation, it looks as if it had been cleaved with a claymore, then tossed on the plate.
There are a few burgers. The “fire cracker” number doesn’t have the expected spice, but it’s ample, satisfactory, served on a red brioche bun, capped with rings of pickled jalapeño, a drift of Cheddar cheese, and a “secret spicy sauce” that should stay hidden.
The bacon-wrapped pork chop has heft, but is overcooked. Chicken piccata, adroitly sauteed with a lemon-and-white wine sauce, at least is juicy. But avoid the routine sauteed shrimp with dull “herb rice.”
Desserts are few. The 16-layer chocolate cake is dependable bakery-quality; the chocolate chip cookie stuffed with Nutella isn’t.
A big, hot s’mores brownie is topped with molten marshmallows, a crumble of graham cracker and crowned with vanilla ice cream, just in case. “Classic cheesecake” is neither.
But if you’re dining on deadline, just pay the tab and exit, maybe singing the blues.