Seafood has long been in L.J. Sealey-Ashford’s blood: His family has owned and operated raw bars in Cape Cod for nearly 40 years. The Massachusetts native grew up watching his cousin Robert Weekes (originally from Long Island) whip up seafood dishes at his long-running restaurant The Raw Bar. Living on Long Island since 2009, Sealey-Ashford decided to bring the concept to Rockville Centre. In January, he opened The Village Raw Bar, a fast casual spot focusing on lobster rolls, chowders and oysters.
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The restaurant stays true to the original’s focus on fresh items with live lobsters being delivered daily. Same goes for the variety of oysters coming from local sources and elsewhere like Canada. But The Village Raw Bar also has an advantage.
“The Cape Cod location is seasonal; we are year-round here,” said Sealey-Ashford. “We are able to expand on the menu and try some new options.”
Some already popular ones include The Village Idiot—a pound and a half lobster broiled and topped with truffled corn, jump lump crab and buttered Parmesan crumbs. It’s paired with roasted red potatoes and mixed greens. There’s also Poseidon’s Trident, a bun stuffed with crab cake, fries, shrimp, cole slaw, clam strips, lettuce and tomatoes. Other seafood dishes are simpler. Think crab fries, a fried cod sandwich, cold water mussels, North Atlantic salmon and baked clams. Paying homage to his Barbadian roots, Sealey-Ashford also added Barbados jerk chicken to the menu.
Some drinks are just as tropical with signature juices like a Morning Breeze made with fresh squeezed lemons, guava and pineapple ginger. Coffee also gets creative with the Chocolatta comprised of espresso, chocolate syrup, steamed milk, dark hot chocolate and sea salt. And adult beverages like the Punch Drunk Love made with Barbados rum punch are available.
The decor follows the coastal theme with cream colors and warm wood. Photographs of favorite beaches and locations on Long Island, New England and the Caribbean hang throughout the restaurant. The hope is that customers will take in vacation vibes as they dine. “We want everybody to feel as if they took a trip far away from this area and take the time to unwind and enjoy the food.”
The Village Raw Bar is located at 88 N Village Ave in Rockville Centre.