A Review of Om Bistro, in Great Neck- NY times
The large, airy dining room at Om Bistro, which opened in January.
Published: March 15, 2013
For almost a decade, I have been a fan of Richard Desmond. When he was cooking at Bliss (http://www.blissli.com/) in East Setauket from 2004 to 2006, I was there. When he went to Public House 49 (http://www.publichouse49.com/) in Patchogue in 2009, I followed him. In January he became the chef at Om Bistro (http://www.ombistro.com/) in Great Neck, a new restaurant where he is also an owner. His partners there are Harjinder Singh, who is also a co-owner of Raga (http://ragali.com/) in East Setauket, and Sandeet Mehen.
Mr. Desmond is known as the singing chef, based on his proclivity for bursting into song, much to the delight of patrons in the dining room. I have rarely heard him sing; my admiration is based on his cooking.
The kitchen at Om prepares nearly everything, including breads, sauces and desserts, and nothing on the menu tops $19.
As for the name, our waiter said, “The chef wants diners to relax.”
The place makes a good first impression with its well-spaced tables with white tablecloths and flickering votive candles.
The kitchen impresses, too. The homemade bread is delicious: two types of focaccia were served the nights of my visits, along with house-made hummus. An amuse-bouche from the kitchen, a savory vegetable-stuffed mushroom on two visits, was a good start to a meal.
The most economical appetizer, the soup of the day at $5, was also our favorite. It was a mushroom bisque the night we tried it, rich and creamy, with abundant sliced mushrooms.
Salads were another hit. We loved the pear salad ($6), a mound of feathery greens laced with Roquefort cheese in a balsamic-ginger vinaigrette, all crowned with slices of pear. The chopped salad, resembling a Turkish shepherd’s salad, was a fresh-tasting mixture of diced cucumbers, onions, tomatoes and peppers, with no lettuce. The substantial frisée salad, tossed in a whole-grain mustard vinaigrette, was studded with minced haricots verts and flavorful nubs of bresaola and topped with a fried egg. Beneath all the greens was a pleasant surprise: puff pastry wrapped around a fig filling.
We also liked the house-made veal sausage paired with tasty eggplant caponata atop homemade flatbread. Smoked trout cakes, with horseradish rémoulade and tomato marmalade on the plate, had a pleasingly smoky taste but were a tad mushy.
My favorite entree was spaghetti with cauliflower pesto. The $15 pasta, which had crunchy herbed bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, roasted garlic and olive oil in the sauce, was loaded with flavor.
Running a close second were the jumbo grilled shrimp covered with wild mushrooms in a wine reduction, all atop creamy polenta.
Another creative dish was roasted cod perched on a tube of pasta filled with ground beef and ricotta, accompanied by three separate vegetable terrines — eggplant, carrot and zucchini. Long Island duck with confit leg and pan-seared breast was also deftly prepared.
Two also-rans were the beef brisket and the lamb burger sliders. Both were a tad dry.
Desserts were elaborate creations that filled the dinner plates they were served on. We liked all that we sampled: a puff pastry apple tart topped with a dollop of custard; a moist red velvet cake thickly layered with cream cheese frosting; a chocolate tart topped by a huge dollop of chocolate mousse filling and a drift of whipped cream; and a chocolate napoleon. The last was a layering of chocolate phyllo, chocolate crème brûlée and chocolate Rice Krispies. Chocolate lovers were ecstatic.
You don’t have to be a chocolate lover, though, to like Om Bistro. From start to finish, the food is exciting.
4 Welwyn Road
THE SPACE Large, airy dining room seating 80, with bar and lounge down a step and to the side. The restaurant is wheelchair accessible, but the restrooms have no grab bars.
THE CROWD Mainly couples, some children. The staff is attentive and friendly.
THE BAR A shiny, granite-topped bar with eight stools and two couches in an adjoining lounge area. List of 24 wines by the bottle ($22 to $80, with more than half under $30), and six wines by the glass ($6 each). There are 16 international bottled beers ($5 to $9).
THE BILL Entrees are $14 to $19. The prices are very reasonable for these creative dishes. American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover are accepted.
WHAT WE LIKED Mushroom bisque, pear salad, chopped salad, frisée salad, veal sausage with caponata, spaghetti with cauliflower pesto, grilled shrimp, roast cod, duck, all desserts.
IF YOU GO Open Sunday, and Tuesday to Thursday, from 4 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m.; closed Monday. Reservations are accepted. There is parking behind the restaurant.
Go to Attendee List