DEC. 2011 NOTE: Rick Laakkonen returns as executive chef at Jake's Steakhouse in East Meadow, where he opened the kitchen. Laakkonen, who'd been consulting chef, succeeds Chris Hamaty in the kitchen. The following comments reflect the menu of the previous chef.
The restaurant boosts dining out along this busy stretch. The eatery looks good and tastes better (and if there are any concerns about cholesterol, Nassau University Medical Center is across the pike). Go for the very good porterhouse for two; and an ample, aromatic brodetto di mare, full of shellfish plus a cut of snapper. The steakhouse salad, with seared tenderloin, is a husky starter. And an artfully arranged, modernist spin on strawberry shortcake provides a tasty update on the classic.
Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday; 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. Dinner: 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.
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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.
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.
Overdone rib steak, blackened crabcake, routine shrimp cocktail and clams oreganata, salt-lick onion soup, dull salad with seared tenderloin tips.
THE BOTTOM LINE