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January 1, 2012
Review: Aperitif Bistro Lounge Wine Bar
By Karen Jones
The bistro invasion of Long Island means any French-infused eatery must provide a certain "je ne sais quoi" to rise above the tide. Aperitif, located in restaurant-rich Rockville Center, has a skilled chef who has deftly added his signature to French classics, particularly with Asian influences.
Dark wood, tiled floors, mirrored walls and soft globe lighting create the bistro scene while rows of wine bottles provide ambiance. There is only one inconsistency--though a casual vibe is expected, table linen would have been more aesthetically pleasing than paper placemats.
Service is pleasant and informative which is helpful because there are essentially two menus-- robust dinner selection and small plates. That said, you can enjoy a delightful and affordable meal here sharing small plates ($5-$13). These include meatballs with coconut curry sauce, zucchini pancakes, steak tartare, escargots, fondues, seared tuna, flatbread, lobster cerviche and more.
The seafood salad small plate was a succulent blend of scallops, shrimp, calamari and mussels tossed with a tangy citrus vinaigrette. Crab cakes were excellent but the fried calamari was a disappointment. Try the mussels provencal or mariniere instead. Though small, they are plentiful and delicious.
Entrees ($17-$29) run the gamut from pignoli nut crusted tuna and bronzini in phyllo to chicken paillard, steak au poivre and filet mignon sliders. The elegantly seared duck breast paired with a sweet potato puree and the finely grilled lamb chops served with mashed potatoes and sauteed spinach were both excellent. Ditto the delicately seasoned filet of sole sauteed with lemon caper sauce. Also fans of steak frites are in good hands at Aperitif. Their mountainous portion of filet mignon ($28) was perfectly cooked and velvet tender. Unfortunately there were no real standouts on the dessert menu and that includes a curiously flat creme brulee. Ask for dessert specials or stick to a simple sorbet or cheese plate.
As befits any bistro there is an excellent wine list with many choices under $10 per glass. Wine flights are also available plus you have a large number of foreign and domestic beers to sample. For cocktail aficionados the signature martini is vodka, Lillet Blanc and Cointreau.
Aperitif is owned by the Sage Bistro Restaurant Group which also owns Sage Bistro in Bellmore, Sage Bistro Moderne in Woodbury and Brasserie Persil in Oceanside.
Aperitif Bistro & Wine Bar
Long Island Restaurant News Plate Rating System:
Karen Jones is a lifestyles journalist with clients that include The New York Times and The New York Daily News. A dedicated foodie, she writes from the heart and for the appetit. Her website is www.karenjones.biz. Follow her on twitter: @kjoneswriter.