At The Brass Rail in Locust Valley, the sirloin burger...

At The Brass Rail in Locust Valley, the sirloin burger au poivre is served on a toasted, seeded bun with caramelized onions, mushrooms and Swiss. (Feb. 25, 2011) Credit: Becky Holladay

It’s an all-too-rare pleasure, eating alone at the bar. You can zone out, you can read or, best of all, you can listen in on all the conversations going on around you. Not every restaurant has what it takes to provide the ideal solo bar dinner, but The Brass Rail in Locust Valley does.

The bartender was a model of friendly, efficient multitasking. There’s a good selection of wines by the glass, served in good stemware. The local clientele makes for good eavesdropping — I listened to a well-argued critique of Obamacare peppered with amusing anecdotes. And I enjoyed my sirloin burger au poivre (topped with caramelized onions, mushroom, Swiss cheese and peppercorn sauce), which was juicy and full of flavor.

Quibble: I’m not a fan of shoestring fries, which never stay hot for long. Like potato chips, they’re basically all crunch, no potatoes, but they are much more difficult to grab and eat with any semblance of grace.

The Brass Rail is at 107 Forest Ave., Locust Valley; 516-723-9103,




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