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Tullulah's review

Pan-seared scallops with French green lentils and chive

Pan-seared scallops with French green lentils and chive cream are a flavorful small plate at Tullulah's in Bay Shore. Credit: Daniel Brennan

The distance between Bay Shore and Williamsburg is about 47 miles.

Tullulah's shortens it.

Steven Scalesse's stylized, small-plates restaurant already is a beacon for a young, savvy crowd. And this hard-surface spot, just north of Main Street, is as close to hipsterdom as you'll get in the ZIP code.

The main dining room in the back has a bright, very of-the-moment, work-in-progress look, starting with the spackling. There's artful, industrial lighting, plus exposed beams, a faded Oriental carpet and, in a corner, a bust of JFK.

A Lincoln portrait is near the kitchen and opposite the bar. Chalk art illustrates the midsection. At the dimly lit, drafty entrance, there are a few wood-topped tables and bentwood chairs, and the sort of horizontal, wide-plank wood paneling that could do double duty as knotty flooring. On Saturday night, the path through the bar is packed with people and irony.

It's all accompanied by good, local beer, respectable wines and chef Scalesse's full-flavored food.

The crusty, sliced chorizo finds a foil in brown-sugar-glazed apples, sriracha aioli and scallions. Sriracha aioli and fennel-fern aioli spark a starter of fried Sexton Island oysters. Spicy, dry Calabrian sausage and espresso-rubbed Barely Buzzed cheese highlight the charcuterie board.

Scalesse's savory lamb ragù, with carrots and parsnips, could use a few more ribbons of pappardelle. The pork tenderloin is overdone, but the herb-goat cheese polenta and green-apple reduction that support it are fine. So's the sliced, pan-seared rib-eye cut, atop sweet potato hash and broccoli raab.

Add pork belly and enliven the satisfying baked cauliflower with aged Cheddar, finished with a crumble of Brussels sprouts. Smoked Gouda enriches the house's creamy mac-and-cheese. Wild mushrooms drive the winter salad of frisée and mâche. The mushroom consommé, with pickled honshimejis and pearl onions, warms you with its undercurrent of chili oil.

Monkfish "osso buco" with littleneck clams, fennel, carrots, celery and tomato is very good. Even better are the pan-seared scallops with French green lentils and chive cream.

The inviting Sunday brunch choices include a lobster roll, chorizo hash, an avocado BLT, lemon-poppy seed pancakes.

Sweets, however, are forgettable. You can peel intact the lid of the coffee crème brûlée. The poached apple tartlet tastes undercooked. Chocolate cake: dry.

But the crowd at Tullulah's doesn't seem concerned about dessert.


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