How To Love Iceland After Three Sentences
1) Iceland celebrates Beer Day on March 1 to commemorate the repeal of Prohibition, which, within the country, spanned seventy-four years, until 1989.
2) Gunnar Hansen, who played Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was born in Iceland.
3) Björk (see our article this month).
We love Iceland.
(516) 513-1487, Jericho
A descendant of Bill Holden’s West End Cafe in Carle Place, Market Bistro emphasizes locality and sustainability with season-inspired creations via Long Island farms, breweries and wineries. Developed over three years and established in November of 2011 by Holden, executive chef, Adam Acerra, former bartender at West End Cafe, and Bob Caras, Market Bistro uses local sources for salad greens and vegetables, including Satur Farms and Stan Pat Farms. (Even its pickles are crafted on Long Island, courtesy of Horman’s Best Pickles.)
Acerra, who describes Market Bistro’s space, adorned with reclaimed wood from a barn in Canada, as “rustic industrial,” believes Long Island “needs more restaurants that are conscious of our farms and incredible resources.”
Acerra on Market Bistro’s beer portfolio:
“We’re pouring seven drafts right now, and there will always be staples of some styles, including IPA, lager and porter. I want to add variety, so we’ll rotate beers seasonally, but staples are definitely important. We also want to support our local breweries, so expect Barrier Brewing Company and Blind Bat Brewery to pour frequently. However, that doesn’t mean we won’t have a California-based IPA, as well.”
(516) 750-8125, Williston Park
Purchased by Louis and Rino Di Maria, natives of Williston Park, and reopened in August of 2010, Willy Parkers has Optimus Prime’d its menu under the fraternal proprietors.
“We decided to keep the name, but the food and atmosphere are completely different,” says Louis Di Maria, who suggests horseradish-crusted tilapia with Hawaiian chutney and jasmine rice as “an example of the new Willy Parkers.”
Though its 24-draft bar includes Bear Republic Brewing Company Racer 5 IPA (a pine-forward ale with flavors of sweet malts and grapefruit) and two dining rooms possess separate entrances, and, subsequently, separate identities, Louis hopes to integrate craft beer into his entrée list by providing suggestive pairings and a multiple-course prix fixe dinner.
“If someone misses a beer dinner, they’re normally out of luck,” he says. “We want to eliminate that.”
Super Neat Factoid: Willy Parker is an affectionate term for a particular resident of Williston Park. He also possesses an epic beard.
Luce & Hawkins
(631) 722-2900, Jamesport
“My roots and heritage are here,” says Keith Luce, proprietor and executive chef of Luce & Hawkins, regarding his multi-century ancestral lineage in Jamesport. “Being in the place where my family has been since the 1600s makes it that much more personal.”
Luce, whose credentials include a sous-chef position at the White House during the first Clinton administration, established Luce & Hawkins in 2010, following the closure of Jedediah’s. Within Jedediah Hawkins Inn, a restored, Italianate-style residence constructed in 1863, Luce offers “a serious food and beverage program built on local products, sustainability, quality and integrity.” (“We make our own salt from the three major bodies of water, and churn our own butter,” he adds.)
Though “this area is still not the easiest place to sell beers other than the standard Heineken and Bud,” according to Luce, recent pours include Greenport Harbor Brewing Company Black Duck Porter and Sixpoint Craft Ales Sehr Crisp Pilsner. “I worked in Chicago, California and Washington State—all areas that were far ahead of the rest of the country in the craft beer arena. It is great to see things happening here on Long Island.”
Food/Beer Matrimony: Crescent Duck Farm duck breast/soba noodles/farm egg with Sixpoint Craft Ales Gemini.
Long Island Ale House
(631) 569-5515, Medford
Joff Sahin, proprietor of Pita House in East Setauket and Patchogue, ceased operations of Global Sports Cafe to “reinvent the space and create art with local food and beer,” according to Ari Rutan, partner for the metamorphosis.
Following a year-long closure, delayed by construction permits, Long Island Ale House opened in July of 2011 with regional seafood (e.g., raw bar of Peconic Bay clams and Blue Point oysters), produce (“Most of our produce is purchased from local farms,” states Rutan.) and beer. The latter, which totals 30 drafts, includes six selections from Blue Point Brewing Company: Blueberry Ale, Double Blonde Ale, Hoptical Illusion, Rastafarye Ale, Toasted Lager and Winter Ale.
Rutan, who managed eateries in France, Turkey and Switzerland prior to Long Island Ale House, notices the appreciation for local-friendly product.
“Medford wanted to keep that space open,” says Rutan. “We have customers that thank us for caring about our product and featuring Long Island.”
Click here to follow Niko Krommydas and his blog, Super Neat Beer Adventure, Yes!!, where you can find more on the Long Island craft beer culture.
Photo by Stephen Lang