The "650" highlights the address; "rare," everything else. Renovated, retooled, renamed, Sagamore Steakhouse has turned into Nassau's deluxe surf-and-turf: stellar beef, creative crudo, fine whole fish - and a scene that goes from serene to pulsating faster than you can crack a stone-crab claw.
This is the latest, polished production from restaurateur Anthony Scotto, who also runs the popular Blackstone Steakhouse in Melville. The sushi menus are identical. And prices are in the same category. You can easily drop a car payment or strain to keep dinner for two to $100. But consider it a built-in cover charge. Rare650 provides a lively show. Decibels rise by the hour, especially near the bar. And on a weekend night, you'll be convinced that, in at least one deep pocket of Long Island, the recession is over.
Executive chef Mikhail Apelsinov prepares a delectable roasted corn-and-crab bisque; and a refreshing "winter white" salad of shrimp, endive, asparagus, fennel and Asian pear. The trio of mini-Kobe burgers is a flavorful opener, best shared. But Rare650's mandatory small plates are crudo, here an Italian-New American riff on sushi. Striped bass arrives flecked with pine nuts and sliced mission fig, glistening from tangerine-infused olive oil; wild Alaskan salmon, drizzled with espresso cream, sparked by Sambuca and fennel. They're excellent. Much of the sushi is, too.
The kitchen sends out first-rate fish, from pompano and red snapper to striped bass, dorade and Dover sole. And steaks still reign, led by the juicy porterhouse for two or more; and a special of Carrara-marbled, Japanese Kobe steak, which weighs in at 12 ounces, at about $11.25 per. Savory side dishes, very good desserts; plus an extensive and well-chosen wine list.
Overseasoned onion soup, overdone pan-roasted salmon, some overorchestrated sushi rolls.
THE BOTTOM LINE