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Theatrical restaurants on Long Island: 4 local picks

Monsoon in Babylon serves a whole Peking duck

Monsoon in Babylon serves a whole Peking duck for two with cucumber, scallions, hoisin sauce and steamed buns. Photo Credit: Doug Young

Restaurants can have a theatrical side, from presentation to design. Here are four that know how to set a scene and deliver very good food, too.

BRASSERIE CASSIS

The appointments are sharp and the look stylish at Brasserie Cassis, which could do double duty as a movie set. Recommended: the raw bar, frisée aux lardons, escargots Bourguignonne, mussels marinière, roast chicken for two, duck a l'orange, hanger steak Bordelaise. $$-$$$

387 S. Oyster Bay Rd., Plainview, 516-653-0090, brasseriecassis.com

INSIGNIA

Easily the showiest of local steakhouses, Insignia could find a niche on Las Vegas Boulevard as well as Nesconset Highway. Recommended: all steaks, the raw bar, short-rib Kobe burger flights, wedge salad, grilled sea scallops, toro tartare, sushi rolls. $$$-$$$$

610 Rte. 347, Smithtown, 631-656-8100, insigniasteakhouse.com

MONSOON

Creative, inviting Asian fare vies with fine steak at this dramatic, high-ceiling spot in a converted bank building. Recommended: Beijing duck, "shaking beef," kung pao monkfish, pork belly steamed buns, Korean fried chicken, sushi, strip steak, filet mignon. $$$

48 Deer Park Ave., Babylon, 631-587-4400, monsoonny.com

THE REFUGE FOOD & SPIRITS

The Refuge Food & Spirits is a bold, whimsical redesign that almost turns the site into a movie set with amusement-park flair. The vibe inside is eclectic, with distressed wood, no chairs that match and a pop-and-rock soundtrack. With excellent Latin fare and tasty Italian dishes, you can tell the party is just getting started. Try the rigatoni and meatballs with a pork and tomato ragu topped with ricotta cheese. $$$

515 Broadhollow Rd., Melville, 631-577-4444, reguge110.com

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