Longtime LI pâtissier John Muscarello is off and cooking at Jean Marie Patisserie & Bistro on Middle Neck Road in Great Neck.
A bit of pastry history: Back in 1989, Muscarello opened the first Jean Marie in Garden City, which ran until 2002. Then, in 2008, after a hiatus, Muscarello went on to launch a bakery cafe on Northern Boulevard in Great Neck. Now, he’s relocated to an address in the village that he said is more conducive to foot traffic.
Now a full-blown restaurant, Jean Marie has a French bistro vibe. There's takeout, too. Muscarello said he arrives at 4:30 a.m. and doesn’t leave until after midnight, cooking and baking (with help from his crew) artisanal breads, puff pastry, sandwiches, salads, main courses and desserts.
At lunch, recently, I enjoyed a meltingly good “Sicilian” panino of grilled eggplant, roasted marinated peppers, provolone and spinach on fine house-baked ciabatta. Really good house-made fries accompanied. On the down side, over-grilled chicken marred a Cobb salad (made with goat cheese instead of the usual Gorgonzola). Service couldn’t have been more accommodating.
The dinner menu features such specialties as a seafood vol-au-vent – a puff pastry shell filled with scallops, shrimp and lobster in a brandy cream sauce ($9.95), “personal” brick-oven pizzas ($9.95-$11.95), as well as such entrees as grilled marinated flank steak ($16.95) and a seafood crepe ($18.95).
The place has an upstairs dining room that can be used for private parties as well as a rear patio for warm weather dining.
Something to look forward to these icy days.