TODAY'S PAPER
Good Afternoon
Good Afternoon
LifestyleRestaurants

Our favorite new upscale restaurants of 2010

Adam Ehmer, Melissa Schwartz and Andrew Rockwell laugh

Adam Ehmer, Melissa Schwartz and Andrew Rockwell laugh over their meal at the bar at Luce & Hawkins restaurant in Jamesport. (June 21, 2010) Credit: Randee Daddona

It was a year of big closings and small plates. The economy's sting, however, didn't prevent a surprising number of first-class restaurants from opening. In this environment, it was an excellent year for newcomers.

Here are the top 10 of 2010.

1. Luce & Hawkins

FOOD 3 1/2 stars

400 S. Jamesport Ave., Jamesport, 631-722-2900,  jedediahhawkinsinn.com

COST $$$-$$$$

SERVICE Excellent

AMBIENCE Excellent

Chef Keith Luce returned to his native North Fork from restaurants that included The Herbfarm outside Seattle and PlumpJack Cafe in San Francisco. He has transformed the dining rooms of the Jedediah Hawkins Inn into locavore central, with meticulously prepared New American food. The menu changes regularly. The quality doesn't. Recommended: poached lobster with "lobster froth," a pairing of near-lacquered pork belly and smoked pork tenderloin, pastrami-cured smoked bluefish, more. 

2. Two Steak & Sushi Den

FOOD 3 1/2 stars

1270 Union Tpke., New Hyde Park, 516-358-2222, twoonline.com

COST $$$-$$$$

SERVICE Excellent

AMBIENCE Excellent

New wave surf-and-turf is a performance by chef James McDevitt on a dramatic stage. This extravagant relative of Four Food Studio in Melville includes a lustrous sushi bar, a futuristic cafe, a luxurious back room and food that adds up to a great show. Recommended: seared pork dumplings with curried mustard sauce, buttery English-pea ravioli, otoro tuna roll, black bass with Iberico ham, Painted Hills strip steak, American bison rib-eye. 

3. Trattoria Diane

FOOD 3 1/2 stars

21 Bryant Ave., Roslyn, 516-621-2591, trattoriadiane.com

COST $$-$$$

SERVICE Excellent

AMBIENCE Very good

Chef-owner John Durkin took a Roman holiday, and brought it back with him. The formerly Tuscan-themed eatery now revels in its new menu with its specialties of Lazio. But devotees of his Tuscan pot roast still will find the dish. And vegetarians will come upon delicious appetizers. Recommended: sweet- sour butternut squash, crisp threads of Brussels sprouts, spaghetti alla carbonara, bucatini all'Amatriciana, gnocchi in pink sauce with crumbled sausage, saltimbocca.

4. Noah's

FOOD 3 stars

136 Front St., Greenport, 631-477-6720, chefnoahs.com

COST $$-$$$

SERVICE Very good

AMBIENCE Very good

Noah Schwartz, who was the last chef at the Seafood Barge in Southold, opened his own fish house early in the year. It's still a top catch of 2010: sleek, clean, almost industrial in look and equally pure in flavor. Let the striking artwork be your guide. Recommended: grilled sardines with piquillo peppers and basil; Tasmanian red crab tacos; a warm, buttery lobster roll; yellowtail crudo.

5. Perfecto Mundo

FOOD 3 stars

1141-1 Jericho Tpke., Commack, 631-864-2777,  perfectomundony.com

COST $$-$$$

SERVICE Excellent

AMBIENCE Very good

Chef Steven Del Lima's Latin-fusion bistro will warm your winter and satisfy your appetite. This sunny, imaginative establishment is tucked into a shopping-center storefront. Start with a margarita splashed with pomegranate juice. Recommended: house-made guacamole, grilled sweet-potato pancake with pulled pork, coriander-crusted pork tenderloin, grilled skirt steak with banana steak sauce, churros. 

6. Rare650

FOOD 3 stars

650 Jericho Tpke., Syosset, 516-496-8000, rare650.com

COST $$$-$$$$

SERVICE Excellent

AMBIENCE Very good

The heir to Sagamore Steakhouse expands to become a stylish, energetic destination for stellar beef, creative crudo, fine whole fish and a pulsating social scene. Recommended: mini-Kobe burgers, striped bass crudo with pine nuts and mission fig, roasted corn-and- crab bisque, Dover sole, pompano, porterhouse steak for two, and Carrara-marbled Kobe steak.

7. View

FOOD 2 1/2 stars

3 Consuelo Pl., Oakdale, 631-589-2694, viewoakdale.com

COST $$-$$$

SERVICE Very good

AMBIENCE Very good

View answers the eternal question for Long Island diners: Can you find a very good restaurant on the water? Yes, thanks to plump crab cakes livened up with Meyer-lemon aioli; "Peking duck" tacos; lobster bisque; sea-scallop carpaccio in sweet coconut-and-kaffir lime broth; risotto of Montauk lobster with pan-roasted sea scallops in citrus beurre blanc; and yellowtail snapper with balsamic-vinegar gelée.

8. Bar Frites

FOOD 2 1/2 stars

Wheatley Plaza, Greenvale, 516-484-7500

COST $$-$$$

SERVICE Very good

AMBIENCE Excellent

Fauthentic bistro, part I. Bar Frites has the look and some very flavorful food. It's an entertaining riff on the real, buzzing since the long-awaited opening day. Recommended: the croque monsieur; plump escargots; frisée aux lardons; juicy, pan-roasted chicken; seared duck breast and confit of leg, steak tartare, strip steak frites, filet mignon au poivre, braised short ribs. 

9. Aperitif

FOOD 2 1/2 stars

242 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre, 516-594-3404, aperitifbistro.com

COST $$-$$$

SERVICE Excellent

AMBIENCE Very good

Fauthentic bistro, part II. The theme is: let them eat cake, and have some sliders, too. Aperitif broadens the traditional menu in its bistro-lounge-wine bar. Lots of dark wood, globe lights and Paris imagery here. Recommended: flatbreads, onion soup, shrimp beignets, those filet-mignon sliders with sauteed onions and Gruyère cheese, grilled hanger steak with béarnaise sauce, chicken paillard.

10. Blue Fish

FOOD 2 stars

828 S. Oyster Bay Rd., Hicksville, 516-605-0655, bluefishli.com

COST $$-$$$

SERVICE Very good

AMBIENCE Very good

A sparkling Japanese restaurant is behind the 10-foot doors. Blue Fish includes a cool-hued sushi salon and a red lounge with an illuminated onyx bar. Then, the show starts. Recommended: spicy tuna dumplings, pan-fried pork dumplings, the peppery tuna pizza, a mini-skyline of "5-flavor" sashimi, seared salmon with black olives, miso-glazed black cod, sushi rolls.

Latest reviews