Spring Fling 2012 – Gold Coast

Storied for the legacy set forth by early 20th century Captains of Industry, our North Shore’s western corner is where you’ll find an upscale evening in one of our splashier villages.

The Brass Rail
The Brass Rail is an interesting mix of the modern and the classic. Its trendy gastro pub concept means that small bites and large bites are equally in force—you can have either dinner with drinks, or drinks punctuated by a morsel or two. The weekly recurring specials are a treasure trove of classic dishes—try the Coq au Vin on Wednesday or the Chateaubriand on Saturday. A big draw to this eatery is the bar—an ornate piece circa late 1880s that graced a bar of the same name in Manhattan. It resides front of house, anchoring the who’s who of Gold Coast denizens nightly.
107 Forest Ave., Locust Valley, (516) 723-9103, thebrassraillocustvalley.com

Fork & Vine
Small plates and wine are two very big reasons to check out this Glen Head locale. With a formula of “3 flavors in 5 bites,” the diminutive dishes blend together international and regional favorites—the Philly cheesesteak might end up in a spring roll. The wine list is award-winning and features 150-plus bottles. To experience the full range of available flavors, try the five-course tasting menu with vino pairings that changes weekly.
32 Railroad Ave., Glen Head, (516) 656-3266, forkandvineny.com

Il Mulino
This is true Italian cuisine, a faithful tribute to chefs/owners Fernando and Gino Masci’s culinary experience in their home region of Abruzzo, located in the “ankle” of the Italy boot. Fish, lamb and cured meats are major players, along with homemade pecorino and ricotta cheese, all prepared simply with a rustic feel. And, of course, the lion’s share of the wine list is devoted to Italian vintages from across the country. Nestled a stone’s throw from Americana Manhasset, you won’t find yourself in a tony village settling, but that’s OK. Whether or not you make the splashy shopping spree part of the trip, this is the perfect setting in which to unwind with a three-hour dinner.
1042 Northern Blvd., Roslyn, (516) 621-1870, ilmulino.com

imageMP Taverna
MP Taverna pulls ahead of the pack of mediocre local Greek/Mediterranean grub. Each day of a rotating weekly special highlights a G/M classic and everyday items are simply but scrumptiously prepared. Give them enough notice and you can go whole hog, literally (or whole goat/lamb/veal). The wine/beer list not only features the provenance of the liquors, but also their detailed taste characteristics, from “Explosive & Bold” to “Light & Aromatic” and beyond. Foodies love the raw, but tastefully stripped down ambiance (think exposed wood) that lets the fare take front and center.
1363 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn, (516) 686-6486, mptaverna.com

The Metropolitan Bistro
This casual bistro with modern artsy decor is a side-venture to the Metropolitan Catering powerhouse, and features all the old faves retooled to a high yet casual standard—choices include a daily pizza from a wood-fired oven, a voluptuous burger, a roasted organic chicken or LI duck and plenty more. The wine list is short, but imparts enough location/grape knowledge to make an informed choice. The village surrounds make for artsy, eclectic window shopping before or afterwards.
39 Roslyn Ave., Sea Cliff, (516) 801-4500, themetropolitanbistro.com

Wild Honey
Consider this your crazy aunt’s living room, decorated with empty wine bottle sculptures and mismatched artwork. Who doesn’t love that? But the quirky departure from its former role as Teddy Roosevelt’s local office is only the first reason the crowds are loyal. The big one is of course, the eclectic and New American menu. Inspired, unexpected flavors are incorporated into such old favorites as chicken and shellfish, the wine list is lengthy and diverse, and the Sunday price fixed dinner has more choices than most. Loyalists gathered at the bar are relaxed and friendly, you’ll feel right at home.
1 E. Main St., Oyster Bay, (516) 922-4690, wildhoneyrestaurant.com