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Market Bistro in Jericho: First bites

The wedge salad at Market Bistro in Jericho

The wedge salad at Market Bistro in Jericho is garnished with tomato jam. (Nov. 30, 2011) Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Market Bistro, the new restaurant from Carle Place’s West End Café team, is absolutely of the moment. The rustic-chic look, the convivial vibe, the farm-to-table menu and even the gentle prices (plenty of entrees are in the $15 to $20 range) put it squarely in 2011’s gastronomic sweet spot.

Adam Acerra, longtime bartender at West End, is one of three partners here, overseeing the front of the house and the tight, well-chosen wine list. Partner Bill Holden, West End’s executive chef-owner, oversees a kitchen whose day-to-day operation is run by his son Chris Holden, formerly of DB Bistro Moderne in Manhattan. (Bob Caras is the third partner.)

It’s hard to believe that this space once housed the barely decorated Chinese restaurant Green Melody. The room is warm and lovely — lots of reclaimed wood and repurposed barrels — but is saved from pastoral overkill by welcome industrial notes, a poured concrete floor, exposed ceiling ductwork.

The menu is made up mostly of New American standards and bistro classics. At the bar we enjoyed two terrific small bites, deviled eggs and arancini (fried risotto balls), both $5. Throughout our meal I was impressed with the quality of the ingredients and the kitchen’s technique and artistry. But the hidebound traditionalist in me wished for a little creative restraint. I didn’t get the point of the sweet tomato jam daubed on an otherwise orthodox wedge salad, or the sweet potato puree streaked across the plate of an exemplary roast chicken in simple thyme jus (a steal at $20). I was puzzled by my cassoulet, whose duck confit and sausage were placed on top of the beans and not inside of them. This dried the meats out, and robbed the beans of an extra measure of flavor and texture.

Service was attentive and exceedingly friendly. Next time I’m at Whole Foods (in the neighboring shopping center), it’s going to be hard not to stop in for a drink and a bite.

Market Bistro is at 519 N. Broadway, Jericho; 516-513-1487.

Above, a wedge salad at Market Bistro in Jericho.

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