Maroni Cuisine has recently shot to the top (nearly) of the Zagat food ratings. It's well-known for its tasting menu, and the chef was even featured on an episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay
in the "meatball throwdown." This is something the website
never fails to remind you of. You expect Michael Maroni to walk around the restaurant, saying, a la Ron Burgundy, "I don't know how to put this, but I'm kind of a big deal."
The wife and I were there last Saturday. That night they were only offering the tasting menu, which is $105. They make certain to tell you this when you call for a reservation (which is helpful) and that they don't take checks or credit cards. The $105 includes "whatever you drink." You are also warned that you have the table for an hour and a half. Yikes.
The location is nice, just off Northport Bay, in little, cozy downtown Northport. Parking is convenient--we found a spot in the park across the street. But the dining room is tiny. It holds maybe 10 tables.
I counted 17 courses in the tasting menu, and you get a clean, small plate with each (more or less). So, people are constantly putting stuff on your table (sometimes three courses at once) or taking it off. You feel like you're in competition with the wait staff to eat your meal before they take the food away. Not exactly a relaxing dinner.
I don't know how often the tasting menu changes. But this setup was just weird. It was a hodgepodge of Italian, Asian (including sushi), and American (I guess). I won't go over all 17 courses but will highlight the hits and misses.
Hits: meatballs (tender and mild in flavor); lobster bisque (sweet); potato chip with crème fraîche and caviar; eggplant parmesan; and scallops in a manilla clam sauce.
Misses: chicken dumpling with ginger (no flavor); BBQ spare rib (stupid idea, stupid presentation [cole slaw on the rib like it's some f*cking pulled pork sandwich], heavy sauce); prosciutto di parma (boring); asparagus with carrot-ginger dressing (tasted all right, but this should not be an individual course in a tasting menu); a kobe beef cheeseburger (I love beef, and I love fat, but this was one of the worst hamburgers I've ever had); and dessert (again boring).
I had a glass of Pinot Noir (they didn't have Zinfandel), and my wife wanted a Bordeaux. They left the bottle of Bordeaux, and there was no separate charge for wine on the bill. So that was nice.
All in all it was an OK meal. I don't get what all the hoopla is about. Some stuff was very good, some was very bad. But it was all very simple. Nothing blew my mind, and I felt I could do it all, myself, just as well if not better. Some stuff I know I can do better, because I do it better. When I order a tasting menu I want complexity and artistry. Not a pork rib with cole slaw on it.
Two people, tax and tip = $265
3 out of 5 stars
18 Woodbine Avenue
Northport, NY 11768