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Jake's Steakhouse

The porterhouse for two, sliced off the bone

The porterhouse for two, sliced off the bone with natural juices and brushed lightly with butter, is one of the many steak dishes at Jake's Steakhouse in East Meadow. (Sept. 22, 2011) Photo Credit: Nancy Borowick

Long Island's steak rows never included Hempstead Turnpike. But Jake's Steakhouse puts it on the map and definitely beefs up dining out, here and near.

The new eatery, with caramel-hued leather booths and dark-wood wainscoting, has very little competition along this busy stretch, where mostly casual and modestly priced eateries reign.

But Jake's gets your attention and satisfies your appetite. And it's opposite the Nassau University Medical Center, perhaps lowering cholesterol concerns, too.

This is the local offspring of Jake's in the Bronx. Executive chef Chris Hamaty, a veteran of Blackstone Steakhouse in Melville, knows the turf, and makes the upbeat, friendly restaurant a destination for some surf, too.

THE BEST

So, cut into the good wedge salad, iceberg with tomato, bacon and blue-cheese dressing. Or try the combo of tomatoes, avocado and red onion. And balance it with a thick slice of applewood-smoked bacon, which materializes in a fingerling potato salad with watercress and pickled mustard seed.

These starters lead to a thick, juicy porterhouse for two; a flavorful shell steak; and an outstanding namesake filet mignon under a blue-cheese crust and a thatch of frizzled onions, finished in red-wine sauce. Braised beef short ribs, off the bone, almost rival the steaks. And chef Hamaty prepares a first-class brodetto di mare, full of shellfish and snapper, in a spirited tomato sauce. The advertised fregola never materialized, but any leftovers will find their place atop pasta tomorrow. Snapper with eggplant, olives, capers and red sauce isn't crisp as billed, but still tasty. On the side, sample mashed potatoes, sweet potato fries, grilled asparagus.

For dessert: an artful update on strawberry shortcake and a whimsical spin on the chocolate bar.

THE REST

Overdone rib steak, blackened crabcake, routine shrimp cocktail and clams oreganata, salt-lick onion soup, dull salad with seared tenderloin tips.

THE BOTTOM LINE

New turf.

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