The line of cars was almost backed up to Route 110 when we arrived at Valet for Four Food Studio. It was a Friday night; right after work and the place was hopping. The bar was crowded with smiles and laughs while “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” played throughout the restaurant (perhaps in honor of our local American Idol star Pia Toscano, the last song she sang on this season’s stage). My husband Michael and I were one of the few to sit down a bit early to enjoy a meal in honor of LI Restaurant Week. This was not just eating to stabilize my tapeworm like appetite from training for a triathlon, this became quite an experience. This was our first time in the Melville office populated area restaurant and I really didn’t know what to expect. Certainly from the initial vibe, we were off to a good start.
We were seated in the Autumn section of the restaurant, which was dead center, a great way to experience all in one visit. Maureen our superstar waitress immediately greeted us and educated us on the lay of the land. She mentioned that they try to get most of their food from local markets and farmers, supporting the local community and providing the customer with freshness and flavor. The restaurant architecture concept is based on the four seasons, with 4 separate rooms that represent that season. We were borderline in the winter section, with big half moon shaped tables and a sleek modern faux fireplace in the middle. The place was pretty groovy, and I mean that as an ultimate compliment. Looking around the perimeter of the place, I notice very high ceilings, a tall beautiful wood wine cellar, funky colors and overall a fun atmosphere. I know, I didn’t even get to one single food item yet.
I appreciated Four for having a full Restaurant Week menu on their website, which really helped in choosing a place. So I had a pretty good idea what I was going to order beforehand even before I stepped into the place. Maureen encouraged us to try the suggested bottle of wine for the evening Northstar Merlot from Washington state. This was an excellent full body red with depth and cherry notes.
Michael started with the market salad that didn’t look all to exciting on the plate. For such a bright place, it was a plate of all green. I thought oh boy, that is going to be bland. But no! This salad was packed with flavor and seasoning, the right amount of tangy, sweet and salt. It was really a surprise.
My mozzarella and tomato flatbread was simply wonderful with fresh cheese and pesto sauce that literally tasted like someone picked basil from the backyard an hour prior to serving and stomped on some handpicked olives to make extra virgin olive oil.
Maureen came over several times to check in and continued to pour our wine when the glasses started to get low. It was a flawless service that screamed experience and passion for her job and for the people she worked for. It is not something you see too often, especially on this level.
The main dining area became more and more crowded as happy hour came to an end and the happy folks continued to be happy at their seating. A quick glance at other tables I see a peel and eat shrimp plate with a lighted sparkler in the middle as to say, “I don’t care it’s not the 4th of July, we are going to party like it is! A couple of tables down I see a big pink ball in the middle of their table with two adults gently peeling pieces and popping it in their mouth with big grins on their faces. Could that be…cotton candy??? My husband concurs, and I am immediately jealous. No longer are the lobster tamales on my mind, I want to feel like a kid at Disneyland too! They were even getting this on camera.
At this point, my husband is trigger happy as the SD card racks up with images, one of his grand steak knife.
Suppressing those kid in a candy store thoughts for a bit, our entrees arrive hot and gorgeous. My husband ordered the 12 oz rib eye and I the lobster tamales. His first cut and he was impressed, it appeared cooked to his liking. A bite, yep he was happy. Maureen comes over to see if we were ok and made sure to point out their specialty onion rings that were served with the rib eye. My husband said they were hands down the best onion rings he has ever had. OK, pass one over hubbie. With one bite, I nodded my head in agreement. For someone who doesn’t care for fried foods, this was clearly made with love picked fresh from the garden.
My lobster tamale had a punch of fresh garden flavors of peppers, corn and avocado. The food stayed true to the story, representing that local fresh taste throughout the experience.
Dessert was over the top as I was tempted to lick my plate of last little bites of my guiness cake. This was a decadent chocolate cake that was perfect, offering a taste of nice deep savory chocolate in every bite, not too sweet, not too rich. Michael had the cheesecake which he loved as well.
With almost 100 photos taken and completely satisfied tummies, we were ready for the check from the great night. But wait, not so fast. Four was not done. With a big grin on my face and one more image taken, the cotton candy was delicately placed on our table to put a final stamp of fun to our evening.
Thanks to Michael Korol for the images!