688 Fort Salonga Rd, Northport
sevenquartstavern.com, (631) 757-2000
This new gastropub that replaced J. Michaels Steakhouse is a dark, rustic tavern—booths, brick walls and many craft beers written on a bar mirror are central décor. The limited menu offers an upscale, modern American take on pub food and the well-informed waitstaff is excellent at describing the dishes. There are some slightly unusual spins on a few of them; some work, some don’t and some vary depending on personal tastes.
The grilled wedge salad ($14) falls into that last category. It neither looks nor tastes like the expected dish. Instead of a wedge there are a few flat pieces of charred and chilled romaine lettuce next to a bed of rather tasty succotash, bacon lardon and feta cheese in lemon-thyme vinaigrette. Traditional eaters will probably be surprised, even disappointed, yet an equal number of diners will enjoy this version.
Three other preparations suffered from timid seasoning. The New England clam chowder ($6), the soup of the day, was bland and lacked any of its usual expected richness. And the crabmedos clams, a mash of little neck clams, roasted corn, panko breadcrumbs and pico de gallo ($15) was strangely flavorless. A side of rather mundane fingerling potatoes fared no better, but entrées did in a big way.
The Snake River Farms short ribs—braised with cabernet and bursting with mellow meaty flavor—were escorted by noteworthy mashed potatoes, wild mushrooms and German fried onions ($29). The slightly seared coriander crusted ahi tuna was high-quality, rare akami tuna with a wonderfully contrasting coriander crust enhanced by fine herbs and black bean ragout ($32).
Black and bleu shrimp ($21) listed under the large shared menu section can be shared by a number of diners or ordered as an entrée. The four tasty, tangy Cajun blackened jumbo Gulf Coast shrimp come hot and aromatic in a skillet along with strips of carrots, scallions and celery with a touch of gorgonzola.
Desserts sampled were an abundant apple pie burrito ($9) improved by an overlay of vanilla ice cream (additional $3); a terrific banana Betty parfait, layered with banana pudding, vanilla wafers and bananas ($9); and a hefty, substantial German chocolate cheese cake that tasted like a good traditional version with nary a hint of overwhelming chocolate frosting ($9).
Note: Only after arriving at the new Seven Quarts Tavern in late September was I told that despite being in business for a few weeks, its grand opening hadn’t occurred yet; it was scheduled for early October