At dinner last Friday at Two Steak & Sushi Den in New Hyde Park, every one of the restaurant’s 200 seats appeared to be occupied. This did not hamper executive chef James McDevitt one bit: Everything that came out of his kitchen was flawless: pea ravioli, grilled asparagus, pan-roasted halibut, diver scallops, crispy black bass, lobster three ways. My pan-roasted baby chicken (from Bobo Farms in Shelbyville, Tenn.) was lush and meaty, with a crisp, burnished skin gilded with morels, nice fat asparagus and shards of prosciutto. I cannot remember ever having a better bird.
Service was good, but not nearly at the level of the cooking. Our waiter performed his lines admirably, but was less than vigilant when it came to clearing plates, refilling wine and water glasses.
I was surprised by a few apparent changes in the beverage service. When the restaurant opened it was offering house-filtered water (still and sparkling) for a small fee that would then be donated to charities that changed on a quarterly basis. On Friday we received tap water, no questions asked. Two also opened with an ambitious loose-tea program, but when I ordered green tea after our meal, I received a mug with a tea bag. The pretty little iron pots that had been used for tea were apparently now being deployed for sauce—as in the cauliflower puree for the halibut.
(Update: I later learned, from one of Two's owners, that our waiter had gone rogue. Two is still making its own filtered water, charging $2 a bottle, and this quarter the proceeds benefit St. Mary's Hospital for Children in Bayside, Queens. And our waiter must have filched a tea bag from the stash at the bar used to make the "Long Island Two Tea" cocktail; the loose-tea program is ongoing.)
Perhaps I overthink these things, but I live in fear that McDevitt’s artistry won’t be adequately appreciated by a local audience, that Long Islanders won’t be willing to pay what are actually pretty reasonable prices for this level of food. However based on Friday night’s experience, my fears seem groundless.
Two Steak & Sushi Den is located at 1270 Union Tpke., New Hyde Park, 516-358-2222.