It was a boast I had to check out: “We’ve got the best burgers in Setauket.” That from the guy behind the counter of the month-old Jake Starr Cafe in Stony Brook, where I'd stopped by to pick up a menu.
About a week later, I returned and ordered up a cheeseburger. True, I may not have tasted every other burger in the Three Village area, but I know a winner when I bite into one. This was an expertly char grilled half pound of sirloin and chuck – smoky and juicy, with velvety texture and rich beefy flavor. Too bad the accompanying fries were the standard-issue previously frozen variety.
The new eatery makes its home in the space once taken by Strawberry Fields. Scott Koppelman, who owns the building, launched Strawberry Fields back in 1990 but sold the business two years ago. Now, he’s reclaimed the place, transforming both its decor and concept. The current version is a highly attractive table-service breakfast, lunch and dinner spot. Chefs de cuisine Kevin Scully (who cooked at Toast in Port Jefferson and Bliss in East Setauket) and Jose Beltran (who was at Strawberry Fields for ten years) execute a menu designed by Koppelman. On it are "Rice Crispy" French toast, pistachio pancakes and a dinner entree of panko crusted chicken breast baked with spinach, mozzarella and roasted red peppers.
In case you’re wondering, there is no Jake Starr. Koppelman named the place using one son’s first name (Jake) and another’s middle name (Starr). “It had a good ring,” he said.
Jake Starr Cafe is at 1007 Rt. 25A, Stony Brook. 246-5600, jakestarrcafe.com