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This restaurant is at the request of our member Aram.
The following is a review from NY times.
DINING REVIEW | LONG ISLAND
Homey Italian in a Strip Mall, Prix FixeA
Review of Tate’s Restaurant, in Nesconset
Kathy Kmonicek for The New York Times
By JOANNE STARKEY Published: September 5, 2013
Motorists on Smithtown Boulevard in Nesconset may whiz past Tate’s Restaurant (http://www.tatesrestaurant.com/tatesrestaurant/Welcome.html), thinking this modest spot in a strip mall is ordinary. That would be their mistake; Tate’s has a talented chef who makes his own bread, fresh pastas and desserts.
RelatedLong Island Vines: Malbec, Doing Fine on Its Own (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/08/nyregion/malbec-doing-fine-on-its-own.html?ref=nyregion) (September 8, 2013)Times Topic: Long Island Dining (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/newyorkandregion/long_island/dining/index.html)Connect With NYTMetro (http://www.facebook.com/NYTMetro) Follow us on Twitter (https://twitter.com/#!/nytmetro/)and like us onFacebook (http://www.facebook.com/NYTMetro/) for news and conversation.
That chef is Jack Mutell, and his sister, Carolyn Mutell, is the restaurant’s owner. Tate’s, which opened three years ago, is redolent of family. It is named for Mr. Mutell’s 14-year-old daughter, Tatum, and the sponge-painted walls are dotted with family pictures, including wedding photographs of the Mutells’ grandparents. Paintings of chefs in tall white toques share wall space with decorative plates and an antique map of Long Island.
Patrons enter through a small bar and are led into a separate carpeted dining room with white tablecloths covered with white bistro paper.
The décor is warm and homey, and the prices are moderate, but what attracts crowds is the food. Not many Long Island restaurants offer pork osso buco with a fig and fennel agrodolce sauce, or slow-roasted beef brasato with a tangy horseradish cream.
According to Mr. Mutell, about 90 percent to 95 percent of diners choose the three-course fixed-price dinner for $32 on weekdays and $35 on Fridays and Saturdays; à la carte dining is also available. No matter how strict your diet, don’t pass up the homemade bread. It’s sturdy, chewy and pleasantly salty; pair it with the roasted beet salad with goat cheese in pistachio vinaigrette. Another top-notch starter was the lightly bound meatballs teamed with a small salad. A mound of creamy ricotta under crispy speck was surrounded by halved figs and finished with a drizzle of truffle honey.
Figs also made an appearance in a flavorful combination of prosciutto, peaches and pecorino cheese. The Italian salad, with strips of salami, provolone, chickpeas and grape tomatoes and dressed in an oregano vinaigrette, was fresh and tasty.
Our favorite entree was the beef brasato, two thick slices of slow-roasted meat. Our waitress brought us a steak knife, but the meat was tender enough to cut with a fork. The pork osso buco was also succulent and appealing in its fig and fennel agrodolce sauce, a sweet-sour blend that went beautifully with the rich meat. Ziti with a lush pork ragù, caramelized onions and broccoli rabe was still another success.
The seafood section of the menu offered sweet sea scallops in a truffle vinaigrette, garnished with shaved locatelli cheese. We also enjoyed a large portion of pan-roasted sole in a lemon butter sauce, crowned with a sprinkling of capers.
Disappointingly, all meat and seafood entrees arrived with the same copycat accompaniments: broccoli rabe and flavorful mashed potatoes.
Tate’s menu changes frequently, so if a dish appeals, don’t put off ordering it. I was taken with the idea of corn ravioli, which Mr. Mutell, in a telephone conversation after my visits, described as shredded local corn mixed with mascarpone and stuffed in homemade ravioli, served with shiitake mushrooms and brown butter. Alas, it was not available on a second visit.
Desserts are all made in-house. All except a cheesecake, which was too firm and not creamy, were exceptional. The hit at our table was a wedge of peanut butter mousse cake with a fluffy texture, a thin layer of ganache on top and a chocolate cookie crust. The crème brûlée was another standout, thick and creamy with a crackly caramelized crust. Third place went to a moist almond poundcake, with chocolate layer cake and carrot cake close behind.
Tate’s is a cash-only, out-of-the-way place, but the homey food trumps any inconvenience.
292 Smithtown Boulevard
THE SPACE Homey storefront with seating for 50. No steps. Restrooms are spacious but have only one grab bar.
THE CROWD Mainly couples and small family groups. There is no children’s menu, but the chef will make what children want, including chicken fingers. The servers are friendly and efficient.
THE BAR A separate room with three bar stools and a wooden table with bench seating. Only wine and beer are offered. Wine list of 21 bottles, with many from Italy, all $24; five are offered by the glass at $8. There is also a small private selection of wines, $40 to $70. Nine bottled beers are $4 to $5.
THE BILL Three-course fixed-price dinner is $32 weeknights and $35 on Friday and Saturday. À la carte entrees are $18 to $27. Cash only.
WHAT WE LIKED Bread, meatball appetizer, beet salad, Italian salad, speck with figs and ricotta, prosciutto and peaches, ziti with pork ragù, pork osso buco, beef brasato, scallops, fillet of sole,crème brûlée, peanut butter mousse cake, almond poundcake, carrot cake, chocolate layer cake.
IF YOU GO Summer hours are dinner only, Wednesday to Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m. Starting Oct. 1, lunch will be served Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and dinner will be added on Tuesday. Closed Monday. Reservations are recommended. There is a large parking lot.
Dinner Menu: http://www.tatesrestaurant.com/tatesrestaurant/Dinner_Menu.html
Suggestion is the 3 course price fix $32 weekday price fix.
Although the 5 course Chef Tasting Menu for $50 is a great price.
4-5 Stars on various review sites, and more. (http://www.tatesrestaurant.com/tatesrestaurant/Press.html)
They do have a very nice wine selection, you can bring your own for a $15 corkage.