After many years of slinging moules Provençale and steak tartare along Merrick Road in Bellmore, longtime French spot Sage Bistro has been reborn as Epicure NY Bistro, a restaurant with a new owner and renovated interior but essentially the same menu, staff and chef, plus a fresh page on Yelp.
Epicure opened (or reopened) in early October after a brief closure. The restaurant, along with its sister restaurant in Woodbury, had been owned by Onur Peter Oktas but was recently sold. (The Woodbury location is still owned by Oktas, confirmed an employee there). Multiple calls to Epicure's new owner were unsuccessful, but an employee identified him as Ali.
Epicure's refurbished gray-on-gray interior features low lighting, charcoal-hued banquettes, with mirrors, faux white flowers and flower prints along the walls. There is still a three-sided bar and a smaller dining room just beyond it with painted brick walls and a teal room-length banquette.
Multiple employees told Newsday the same chef remained in place, chef Julio Velasquez, who used to be with Bistro Cassis in Huntington and once trained with the late Michael Maroni of Maroni Cuisine in Northport.
Velasquez's menu still retains a French-American sensibility, moving from oysters on the halfshell, multiple pots of mussels and pistachio-crusted scallops over apple-parsnip puree to entrees like filet mignon sliders, poulet roti (roasted chicken, here in a lemon-garlic sauce with roasted potatoes), grilled baby lamb chops over risotto or sole meuniere. Appetizers start around $11, or French onion soup, and large plates fall between $25 and $32. On a recent night, bouillabaisse and asparagus soup were among the specials.
Happy hour is a particurly solid deal, with $8 to $10 small plates (think escargot, flatbread and fish tacos) and $8 signature cocktails such as margaritas, lemon drops and espresso martinis. The extensive wine-by-the-glass list touches on both old and New World wines.
Epicure opens for lunch from noon to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday, and opens for dinner at 5 p.m. (4 p.m. on Sunday).
Epicure NY Bistro, 2620 Merrick Rd., Bellmore. 516-679-8928. epicureny.com.