For all the regional Chinese restaurants popping up on Long Island, house-roasted Cantonese-style meats are still a rarity, and no wonder: It takes many steps, a few days and a special vertical oven to produce a proper Peking duck or roast pork (char siu), which is why some Long Island restaurants “import” their meats from New York's Chinatown.
I would not have pegged Babylon Village for the location of Long Island’s first roast-meat specialist, but that’s where Long Island Pekin landed last week.
The restaurant is the brainchild of Jason Lee, formerly a partner at the short-lived Melville sushi bar, Kenta, and before that, at the upscale Philippe Chow restaurant group in New York City.
Lee’s menu centers on four great Chinese dishes: Peking duck (served whole and ceremoniously carved by the chef, $58), Hong Kong duck (a slightly simpler preparation, $48, or $26 for half a duck), char siu (the red-roasted pork traditionally made with shoulder but here made with pig jowl, $19) and Hainanese chicken (poached chicken with ginger and scallions, $35, or $19 for half a chicken).
Choose your noodle — Singapore-style rice vermicelli, egg noodle or flat noodles — and have them tossed with roast pork or duck, chicken, shrimp or vegetables. The same lineup is also available for fried rice. ($9 to $14).
There’s a selection of dim sum that includes xiao long bao (soup dumplings) and pork-cabbage-chive pot stickers, scallion pancakes, shumai and buns ($4 to $10).
“Pekin,” by the way, is not a typo; It refers to the breed of duck, made famous by Long Island, used for both Lee's duck dishes.
The spacious restaurant, which took over and thoroughly renovated the Asian fusion eatery N’Joy, is spare but attractive. Beer and wine are available and liquor is on its way.
Long Island Pekin is at 96 E. Main St., Babylon, 631-587-9889, longislandpekin.com.