Marble Modern American Steakhouse is a polished alternative to all those steroidal steakhouses bulging on Long Island.
It's not about small plates. Marble's idea is to broaden the audience. And the restaurant is more pleasant and unassuming in its clubby, neighborhood way than some of the over-the-top establishments that have overtaken prime time.
All this Marble-ing goes on in the skylight-ceiling, two-story space exited recently by Bob's Restaurant. There is some colorful, stylized artwork interrupting the exposed brick and dark wood. Look upward and you'll glimpse the raised-glass wall of wine storage.
But focus on the menu, a terse affair that covers about all you'll want except for experimental sushi rolls and sea-monster lobsters.
Three of the seven steady starters are salads, including a tasty grilled-asparagus number with mâche, toasted almonds and tart, rich sauce gribiche. Stay slightly Gallic with the lobster bisque, which floats a lobster dumpling and a swoosh of chive oil.
The huskiest, most extravagant opener is termed "Marble fries," respectable French fries under a mantle of shredded beef short rib, mushroom gravy and mozzarella. It doesn't seem too harmonious at first, but the combo actually is pretty good and is worth sharing. Fried oysters, however, have minimal crunch and don't benefit much from the "Old Bay aioli."
Jumbo lump crabcakes lead the lighter main courses, finished with a citrusy spin on sauce rémoulade. Diver sea scallops, though neatly arranged with asparagus and toasted hazelnuts, arrive hard-topped and overdone. But the crisp-skinned chicken is satisfying. And the maple-bacon crusted pork chop, with grilled asparagus and a puree of sweet potato, is plump and lush.
You may segue gently to the beef via an excellent, grilled-to-order sirloin burger, capped with Cheddar cheese, flanked by hand-cut fries. The best steak is the 21-day aged New York strip, fibrous and tender, juicy and weighing in at a manageable 14 ounces.
The "Marble cut" 21-day aged rib eye, at 16 ounces, is the heftiest solo cut, and it has the right flavor. Surprisingly, the lesser steak is the porterhouse for two. It's a bit bland and will have you thinking about grinding pepper and shaking salt.
On the side with any of these, pick home fries or roasted mushrooms, the potato puree or the garlicky spinach, maybe macaroni and cheese.
Desserts are few, so make yours old-school. A little cheesecake suits Marble.