Northport Hotel's restaurant opens
For Kevin O’Neill, the opening of the restaurant at the Northport Hotel is the culmination of more than seven years of demolition, construction, legal wrangling, supply-chain woes and staffing challenges. It was 2016 when he and partner Richard Dolce purchased the property at the corner of Main Street and Woodside Avenue with the goal of providing Northport with a destination boutique hotel that would complement their other village venue, the John W. Engeman Theater, opened in 2007.
“A restaurant was always part of the plan,” he said. “The Engeman brings 125,000 people a year to Northport and we wanted to create a casual, fine-dining spot that would accompany that theater experience.”
The hotel finally debuted in July and, shortly thereafter, the restaurant opened to friends and family. It took less than a week for O’Neill and Dolce to realize that the team they had hired “was not going to be able to deliver the dining experience we wanted.” They “put everything on pause while we looked for a new team” and the Restaurant at Northport Hotel 2.0 relaunched in September with a new kitchen crew led by executive chef Michael Ross.
The well-seasoned chef’s most recent gigs were Primehouse in Garden City and Pearl in Island Park, and he had a long association with Tom Schaudel that saw him running kitchens at Jedediah Hawkins House in Jamesport and the former Jewel in Melville.
Ross’ opening menu acknowledges Northport’s maritime history, with lots of seafood: Lobster salad with Asian pears and Kaluga caviar; grilled octopus with chickpeas and red-pepper hummus; malfadine pasta with lobster, crabmeat and spinach; seafood stew with saffron-ginger butter; and pan-blackened swordfish with sweet potatoes, shrimp hash and brandy-étouffée sauce.
Meat eaters will find Italian meatballs with ricotta; house-smoked candied bacon with cabbage slaw; grilled lamb chops with Greek salad; and grilled pork chops with hot cherry peppers, fingerling potatoes and balsamic glaze. Starters range from $16 to $26; pastas and flatbreads, $17 to $29; mains from $43 to $46. Prime steaks start at $58 for a 10-ounce filet mignon to $69 for a bone-in cowboy rib-eye.
The owners spared no expense with the facility. The luxurious 15-seat bar gives way to a dining room whose white walls and tablecloths are complemented by charcoal accents and handblown light fixtures suspended from the double-height ceiling by black cords. The room accommodates 160 and a 65-seat portion can be paneled off for private parties.
Right now the restaurant is open for dinner, but, eventually, weekday lunch and weekend brunch will be added. O’Neill also hopes to have a lively after-theater crowd. “The sidewalks here pretty much roll up at 9:30,” he said. “We’d like to provide a place for theatergoers to come after the show to decompress, talk about the show, have a glass of wine and a light bite.
"And, we have a piano in the bar — it doesn’t take much to get the performers to do an impromptu cabaret.”
225 Main St., Northport, 631-628-7000, thenorthporthotel.com.