Stephen Rosenbluth has spent his career cooking at big, corporate restaurants — he ran kitchens at Legal Seafoods in Roosevelt Field and Nick & Stef’s Steakhouse and Naples 45 in Manhattan. Now the 36-year-old chef has opened his own little “New American seafood house” near the water in Merrick, Anchor Down.
Rosenbluth’s menu features seafood classics such as a daily selection of raw oysters, New England clam chowder, fried calamari and grilled branzino, but it offers some twists: mussels with Thai coconut curry, shrimp stuffed with crab and Ritz crackers, yellowfin tuna with a Chinese five-spice crust and Szechuan green beans. Meat eaters can order the Anchor Down burger (bacon, Jack cheese, crispy shallots and Thousand Island dressing), roast chicken or a strip steak. Appetizers hover in the low teens, entrees in the mid-$20 range.
The building in the Open Bay Marina has housed a number of establishments — among them Sunset Bar & Grill, JDs on the Bay, Cozy Clam and Harbor Lights. Rosenbluth said the structure was ravaged by superstorm Sandy; you’d never know it from the shipshape renovation designed by his wife, Jennifer. The look is simple, modern and vaguely nautical. Two small dining areas and a bar accommodate about 50 diners inside. An outdoor patio holds another 40.
Anchor Down is open for lunch and dinner every day but Monday at 1960 Bayberry Ave., Merrick, 516-544-4334, anchordownny.com.