Grilled whole branzino with lemon and herbs at Limani Grille...

Grilled whole branzino with lemon and herbs at Limani Grille in Commack. Credit: Newsday/Corin Hirsch

While some restaurants have been snared in the crashing surf of COVID, others seem to be riding the waves. Limani seems to have found the crest: Having already expanded once in 2021 (to Limani Mezze in Roslyn), the seafood-focused restaurant group has hatched another foundling, this time a striking 300-seat Mediterranean restaurant that takes the place of the former Bonwit Inn in Commack.

Gone are the ombre tones, retro vibes and prime rib of the 41-year-old Bonwit Inn, which succumbed to the pandemic in the spring of 2020. In its place, Limani partner Christos Spyropoulus spent the better part of the year mounting a lavish dining room of oceanic blues and teals, sultry lighting and mid-century-modern seating; a centerpiece, glass-lined wine cellar; and a polished bar and lounge with soaring windows, white marble, curved booths and soft banquettes. A few private spaces, across two floors, dot the 8,000-square-foot space.

"This one has more dishes," overall, said general manager Franco Sukaj, "and more non-seafood dishes." The menu is indeed encyclopedic, and many standards from the original Limani have been replicated here by executive chef Peter Spyropoulus— also the chef in Roslyn — such as a raw bar, grilled octopus, spanakopita, limani chips (served with tzatziki and fried kefalograviera cheese), chicken meatballs and whole grilled fish simply dressed with lemon, olive oil and minced herbs.

The Commack menu is more casual, though, with additions such as lobster mac-and-cheese, grilled lamb riblets (an appetizer), braised lamb shank with orzo (an entree) and pastas such as Greek-style spaghetti bolognese and astakomakaronada, linguine in a Greek-style red lobster sauce.

There is also a $22 signature house burger topped with white Cheddar, bacon, mushrooms and caramelized onions, and — because Limani Grille is open for lunch six days a week— a $26 three-course, prix-fixe lunch with grilled branzino and chicken souvla among the choices. (Throughout the week, there is also a corresponding $32 dinner prix-fixe menu; on the a la a carte menu, most appetizers fall between and $12 and $17, while main courses start at $21 and top out at $76 for whole grilled fish for two).

Days after it opened, Limani Grille’s bar was already packed and buzzy, with a swift trade in martinis and wine for a crowd that seemed like it had already been coming there for years. Maybe they had, in a way: When Limani first opened in Roslyn 2008, its luxe design and grilled fish sent it into the top tier of Long Island restaurants. (It has been included in Newsday’s top seafood restaurants every year.) In 2014, Limani opened a restaurant in New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza, and in 2017, took over the former Honig Grill in Woodbury for another Mediterranean-esque venture, Oniro Tavern.

Sukaj said the expansion is not stopping — locations are on track for 2022 in Boston’s Chestnut Hill and Charlotte, N.C.

Limani Grille opens at noon for lunch and dinner from Monday to Saturday and dinner only (from 3 p.m.) on Sunday. It’s at 1 Vanderbilt Parkway., Commack; 631-499-6700, limanigrille.com

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