Talented chef Kevin Cahalan has cooked at some impressive restaurants, both on and off Long Island. Among them: Four Food Studio in Melville, Porto Vivo in Huntington, Buddha Bar in Manhattan and the former Postrio in Los Angeles. About a decade ago, Cahalan opened a little bakery cafe in Sayville called Savory Fare. It was there I first tasted his briny clam-intense New England clam chowder, which I termed “magical.”
I recently rediscovered that clam chowder, along with some amazing sandwiches, at the new Star Fish Book Cafe in Amityville, where Cahalan is now cooking. The place is located, interestingly enough, on the same short block as two other noteworthy lunch spots, Cornucopia’s Noshery and Park Avenue Grill.
In addition to serving food, Star Fish functions as a Christian bookstore, owned by Dave Campbell, a deacon. It was Campbell's daughter, Marybeth, who recruited Cahalan, an old friend from high school.
In this laid-back, homey storefront (which also features music at night), Cahalan bakes cakes and biscotti in a small convection oven. Virtually everything except the bread (even the mayonnaise) is made in house by Cahalan.
On a recent afternoon, I couldn't stay away from a friend’s panino of spinach, pepperjack cheese and sun-dried tomato pesto, served with a bright tossed salad. A pulled-pork sandwich, while very saucy, was also very good. We finished with a slice of moist, citrusy lemon pound cake.
The same lunch-type menu prevails even at night. Hours are 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m Friday and Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Cahalan says he hopes to soon expand, perhaps moving to an address nearby; the bookstore would remain where it is. Watch for updates.
Star Fish Book Cafe is at 186 Park Ave., Amityville, 631-608-1715
Above, spinach, pepperjack and sun-dried tomato pesto panino