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'New-Age American' restaurant Zest opens in Bay Shore

The crispy panko chicken club, with bacon, pepper

The crispy panko chicken club, with bacon, pepper Jack and avocado, at Zest in Bay Shore. Credit: Tom Warren Photography

The stand-alone building on West Main Street in Bay Shore that was last Slice pizzeria has been taken over by its head chef Michael Liebman, who in November turned it into a vibrant small-plates eatery.

Liebman, a graduate of the Long Island Culinary Academy, combined his education with experience at Tellers (Islip) and Nonnina Italian Bistro (West Islip), as well as Slice, to launch his own restaurant focused on "New-Age American" fare.

Among the plates are cauliflower crust chips; grilled zucchini rollatini with whipped ricotta, grilled cherry tomatoes, burrata and blueberry-onion relish; a Thai PB&J sandwich starring pulled pork, Thai peanut sauce, apricot jam and pickled cucumbers; and a loaded grilled cheese pretzel (stuffed with American cheese, topped with pepper Jack, pico de gallo, grilled scallions and Cajun ranch).

You can also grab a pizza — 12-inch craft pies like spicy sopressata, Buffalo chicken, and a la vodka with smoked meatballs, prosciutto, provolone and crispy shallots. Menu items cap at $18.

Desserts aren’t a main focus for Liebman, but a few are on special, including chocolate risotto balls that have the same consistency of rice pudding and are coated with cornflakes before being fried. They’re topped with cabernet fig jam and served on a plate that’s coated with cannoli cream and strawberry purée. There’s also an apple and pear cobbler served with French toast gelato.

A five-seat bar is stocked with beer, wine and sangria. Liebman said he’s working on bringing in wine-based alcohol, such as wine-based rum, vodka and tequila.

Zest is open Tuesdays to Sundays at noon; Tuesdays to Thursdays it closes at 9 p.m.; Fridays and Saturdays at 10 p.m. and Sundays at 8 p.m. Find it at 298 W. Main Street in Bay Shore. 631-647-4497, zestlongisland.com

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