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58° Good Afternoon
58° Good Afternoon
Venue 56's farm-raised striped bass, $29, is served

Venue 56's farm-raised striped bass, $29, is served with tomato and lemon confit. (Feb. 5, 2010) Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

(Here's a blog post from June 2010 on the departure of chef Marc Anthony Bynum)

Marc Anthony Bynum, the dynamic chef who cut a swath through high-end Suffolk County kitchens ( Prime in Huntington, Tellers in Islip), has left his most recent post at Venue 56 in Hauppauge. His amicable departure came days after he won on the “Quahog Quandaries and Pickle Puzzles” episode of "Chopped" that aired on June 8.

Now that he’s won in the first round, Bynum will show up in the "Chopped" championship tournament, to air on Food Network later this year. In the meantime, the chef is traveling around the country doing motivational speaking. “Everyone makes fun of Facebook and Twitter,” Bynum told me, “but since I was on "Chopped," hundreds of people have contacted me. They go on my website [mbyumcreations.com], see what I do, and get in touch.”

In addition to motivational speaking (topics include “Dealing with you: Self esteem,” “Together but not equal: How to be a boss,” and “From the hood to under the hood: Making a choice to become a chef”), Bynum is also available to cater private parties and consult on restaurant projects.

Meanwhile, back in Hauppauge, Venue 56’s kitchen is now being run by Rodolfo Flores, who came aboard about a month before Bynum left. Flores, who most recently cooked at Pace’s in Hauppauge, is not changing the menu radically, but he has added some of his own items, including shrimp a la Flores, with bucatini, roasted-tomato sauce and asparagus.

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PREVIOUS REVIEW:

To anyone who's hungry on the Long Island Expressway: Get off at Exit 56. Venúe 56 makes it your next respite from traffic.

That tongue-twister accent mark must refer to the official Martian pronunciation. But for everyone else, remember Marc Anthony Bynum, a fine chef who previously starred at Tellers Chophouse in Islip. He has now turned the former Sweetwaters into a full-flavored destination. The interior has been brightened, but the irregular footprint is the same. So, seating can be pretty tight and the noise level very high on weekends. But maybe the idea is to place the mid-Island eatery between restaurant and nightspot. Either way, eat.

THE BEST

Bynum's stack of St. Louis-style ribs is smoky and sweet in a chipotle pepper-based sauce, capped with a ribbon of pickled watermelon. His tasty "V56 sliders" make you want to return for the lunchtime burger bar. A bracing beef tamale stands out, too.

Take an Italian turn with savory, wild-mushroom risotto, sporting a shaving of black truffle. The roasted beet salad with goat cheese and mâche; and the "winter wonderland" production warmed up with heirloom tomatoes, Roquefort cheese, Marcona almonds, fennel and arugula both ignite your appetite.

There's excellent pan-seared roasted chicken, flanked by olives, capers, chickpeas and spinach, atop Cheddar-spiked polenta. The dry-aged, grilled rib-eye steak: terrific. Have truffled pommes frites on the side. The juicy, double-cut Kurobuta pork chop with sweet potato puree rivals them. Top seafood: farm-raised bass, with tomato-and-lemon confit. Try pastry chef Lorraine Licursi's apple charlotte; or share a sundae for dessert.

THE REST

Dry beef and duck confit tacos; standard tuna tartare; dull shrimp, scampi-style on bucatini; underseasoned, Sichuan peppercorn-crusted duck breast; a panna-cotta-textured crème brûlée "cone" with raspberry gelée suited for a Linzer torte; near-melting, chocolate-filled mini-doughnuts.

THE BOTTOM LINE

Follow the chef.


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