A vegan main dish at Prime 39 in Lynbrook features...

A vegan main dish at Prime 39 in Lynbrook features cauliflower, broccolini and hen-of-the-wood mushroom. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Bryant Postell and his partners had been promoting events since the late 1990s — pop-up nightclubs and dinners, yacht parties, milestone birthdays — when they decided, "it’s time to invest in ourselves. Let’s find our own venue."

The search led them to a vacant popcorn store in Lynbrook’s burgeoning downtown and, after two years of planning, the four old friends opened Prime 39 on Dec. 24 of last year.

Postell describes the venue as a "resto-lounge." The project began long before the pandemic did, but the latter caused the former to lean harder on "resto" than "lounge." Still Prime 39 retains the subdued bling of a chic club, with brick walls hung with vaguely art-deco paintings, backlit bar and custom-made crystal chandeliers hanging from a wood-raftered ceiling.

"The original idea was to serve dinner until 11 p.m., and then bar snacks from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. as the atmosphere became more of a lounge," Postell said. Now, of course, everybody is out by 11 p.m., but Prime 39, which can accommodate only 36 people, opens for dinner at 4 p.m. to maximize the number of reservations it can take.

One member of the team lived in Lynbrook and all decided that it was the right place for their place. Postell said that the combination of an economic-development program that was bringing in more housing, free municipal parking, the movie theater up the street and proximity to both Queens and the rest of Nassau's South Shore sealed the deal.

Chef Marc Bynum, formerly of Hush Bistro in Farmingdale and Huntington, came on board as a consultant to design a soulful global menu which is now in the hands of Roberto Leon, formerly of Coral Tapas & Wine Bar in East Moriches. Starters ($10 to $18) include deviled eggs with sweet potato and candied bacon, crispy shrimp with Cheddar polenta and Cajun Hollandaise, black-eyed pea hummus with pita and yogurt sauce and collard green salad with cornbread croutons and pickled raisins. Mains ($21 to $34) include crabmeat-stuffed shrimp with spinach rice, Southern fried chicken with jalapeño drizzle, pan-seared pork chop with sweet-potato mash and corn-mushroom succotash and a vegan dish of roasted cauliflower with broccolini and hen-of-the-wood mushrooms.

The partners decided to call their place Prime 39 and only later realized that the name begged for steaks. The four prime, 28-day-dry-aged steaks — filet ($36), New York strip ($48), rib-eye ($56) and long-bone cowboy ($75) — are by far the most expensive mains offered. And you can "upgrade" anything with a fried or broiled lobster tail for $24.

Prime 39, open every day but Monday, is at 39 Atlantic Ave., Lynbrook 516-837-3939, prime39.com.

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