Vintage Bar & Grill

Vintage Bar & Grill
(516) 364-4641, Jericho

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Whether you knew it or not, you’ve been to the restaurant at 399 Jericho Turnpike. More accurately many, perhaps most, of you have. That’s because it’s been a restaurant forever—for thirty-five years as Capriccio, then for shorter runs as Palio and Philippe Chow. Now it’s the Vintage Bar & Grill and much like its predecessors it’s a noteworthy spot boasting superior kitchen and dining room crews. Only time will tell if this new venture will fare any better or longer than the appealing operations that preceded it.

Yet if it fails it won’t be because of Vintage’s flaws, for there are few, if any. Vintage is an instant Long Island dining destination restaurant. Its crystal chandeliers, candles, dark wall panels, handsome scalloped white curtains, cow skin upholstery, white tablecloths, huge peacock mural, appropriate music played at a discrete volume and polished professional service all stamp it as a serious contender. And why not? It’s owned by two veterans of the Island restaurant wars: Michael Cacaro (its chef) and his wife Victoria, who for twelve years have run the successful Vintage Prime Steak House in Saint James and operated Syosset’s Maneros Steakhouse, which became Fulton and Prime before it closed recently.

Despite its red meat roots at the original in Suffolk, the Vintage Bar & Grill isn’t a steakhouse. There are just a few steaks on the menu with many more chicken, veal, fish, lamb and pasta picks. If they are all as excellent as the New York sirloin ($39) with its rugged charred surface and all around red meat perfection, they shouldn’t be neglected. Other sizable, well-presented entrées were three hefty, luscious lamb porterhouse chops ($36) on a bed of earthy cremini mushrooms, roasted asparagus and red potatoes and a bountiful, too-big-to-finish farfalle and chicken pasta ($24), rich and complex with spinach, sundried tomatoes and very fresh mozzarella.

King sized too was a grilled pear salad ($12) that achieved a pleasing balance in its mix of lettuces, strawberries, walnuts and gorgonzola enrobed in sweet, but not too sweet, balsamic dressing.

A husky, rather than refined puréed French onion soup ($10) sans cheese cap, was accompanied by a welcomed grilled cheese sandwich. A creative, distinctive, Asian-Latino Peking duck taco fusion appetizer ($12) harboring tender, vibrant Chinese barbecued duck was the hands-down number one starter.

Speaking of bests, the non-traditional bananas Foster ($12) with its banana bread, vanilla ice cream, rum sauce and ripe bananas led the dessert choices while an apple cobbler ($9) was standard stuff.

Photos by Stephen Lang

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richard jay scholem

Richard Jay Scholem practically invented the Long Island restaurant culture through 800+ reviews of the region's eateries both on radio and in print over the last 30 years. He is a former New York Times Long Island Section restaurant reviewer, has contributed to the Great Restaurants of...magazines and Bon Vivant, authored a book, aired reviews on WGSM and WCTO radio stations, served on the board of countless community and food and beverage organizations, and received many accolades for his journalism in both print and broadcast media. He is currently available for restaurant consultation. Reach him at (631) 271-3227.