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A petite bistro-brasserie boomlet, or at least one in restaurants trying to evoke old France, signals Long Island's trend du jour. Sage Bistro Moderne opens as the newest entry, from the toques behind Bellmore's Sage Bistro and Oceanside's Brasserie Persil. The bright, friendly spot takes over the space vacated by Cafe Diane. A big, artsy image of the Eiffel Tower gives you the idea. But expect American accents, too, from a lobster roll to macaroni and cheese. And if he doesn't always induce a Parisian reverie, chef Julio Velasquez prepares some very good food.
His sextet of escargots a la bourguignonne arrives garlicky and herbaceous, in a dimpled plate. Steamed mussels finished with Pernod have a milder whiff of authenticity. Baked sea scallops cross borders and arrive atop a savory parsnip puree and mushroom ragout.
The kitchen sends out a rosy, pine nut-crusted cut of tuna, paired with ratatouille and escarole. Coq au vin: tender. Likewise, plump whole roasted chicken for two, set on vegetables. Beef a la bourguignonne, braised in red wine, materializes neatly trimmed and tasty. Try juicy duck breast and confit of duck leg, flanked by braised Brussels sprouts and apple-bread pudding. And the husky, grilled pork tenderloin, stuffed with caramelized onions and Gruyère cheese, satisfies on a chilly night. The pear-and-Roquefort flatbread with prosciutto and arugula is an inviting appetizer. For dessert, consider profiteroles. But the best sweet is the creamy caramel cheesecake.
Onion soup is light and tepid. Dry asparagus undoes the salad aux lardons. Limp crab-and-lobster fritters, an underseasoned lobster roll, overcooked monkfish medallions and scallion-crusted salmon, routine steak au poivre, thinned-out mac 'n' cheese. And poor, reheated bread.
THE BOTTOM LINE