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Roots: Sea Cliff, LI

Has anyone been to Sea Cliff? It's been recommended to me twice this past week and I'd love to hear your experience and opinion if you've been. Thanks!

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  1. Been there twice - once shortly after its opening and just a week or so ago. Here's my opinion...

    It's a small, cozy place staffed by friendly people. The interior decor is an eclectic mix of rustic and industrial design elements resulting in a visually striking appearance. However, comfort and efficient use of space suffer as a result. If you sit in one of the several booths available, you'll spend your meal bolt-upright eating on a relatively narrow table with your feet slightly dangling from the seats (I'm 6' tall). If you sit at one of the tables, you'll be eating not much further than 18" from the tables on either side of you - be prepared to overhear and be overheard.

    The food menu is appealing albeit somewhat limited. The beer menu has some ecclectic choices - both bottled and on tap - but the breadth of the beer variety leaves something to be desired. I don't drink wine and won't pretend to know anything about it.

    The food is mixed but generally good, but I'm reluctant to give it a hearty endorsement. I have two basic complaints: the portions are relatively small and the preparation is somewhat amateurish. For example, I ordered red snapper and it arrived (with warning) in a plate that can only be described as just short of molten glass. However, the slender sliver of zuccini was barely room temperature, the rice pilaf was cold and the fish was appropriately hot. The freshness and flavor were all good but the inconsistent temperatures and the smallish portions of the vegetables left me underwhelmed. I also ordered a side of vegetables that was equally as small. A children's portion of mac-n-cheese was $12 and on the smallish size. I also ordered a brownie desert, which while good, was about the size of a wide book of matches and included a small dollop of whipped cream. The table bread provided was some sort of deep fried sliced Italian bread that initially tasted good (although greasy), but repeated on the dinners for the remainder of the evening.

    So overall, I think it's worth a try but improvements could be made in the areas of comfort, intimacy (layout and use of space) and professional food preparation. To a lesser degree, the portion/cost ratio (aka value) could stand some improvement.

    1. We ended up going last weekend. I agree with you googie...the people that work in the restaurant are so nice. The decor, while funky and different, is very uncomfortable. We sat at a table for two, cramped, and so close to the other tables on both sides that it feels like communal dining. The "bread" that we got, just like you described, was just 2 half slices. We asked for more but never got it. I too had the snapper dish. Fish was good, but I wasn't impressed enough to order it again. While we had an ok dinner/evening, due to the uncomfortableness of the seating & tables, we won't go back.

      1. Sounds like we might have similar dinning preferences - can you recommend any other decent restaurants in Nassau? We've got a pretty short list. For a relativley casual experience and good quality albeit salty food, we go to The Wild Fig in Glen Cove quite frequently.

        1. We like18 Bay in Bayville, Fiddleheads in Oyster Bay, have been to Wild Fig a number of times but we have a place similiar to that closer to home, Diane's in Roslyn, and once in a while Tupelo Honey. Testorrosa in Syosset for mussels, salad, thin crust pizza...Waterzooi in Garden City...but we are always looking for new places to try to get out of our rut. I want to try Heirloom.

          1 Reply
          1. re: synergy

            We seem to be on the same page as far as the places we like. Having said that I would highly recommend Luca in Bellmore. Was once Toque. Same chef/owner. Now Italian rather than French influenced. Have gone two weeks in a row and have been very happy. They start you off with excellent bread, huge green olives, head of roasted garlic, red pepper and white been tapenade. Last night I had the mussels in a spicy white wine broth to start and the veal chop milanese which was a special. The chop had the bone in and was just the right thickness, crispy but not dry, with a cold salad on top the likes of which I have not eaten before. I could have made a meal of the perfectly dressed greens alone. I almost forgot about the balsamic reduction that was on the plate also. Husband had a thick bean with sausage soup to start and lightly pan fried tilapia with roasted cauliflower and green pea risotto. Sublime. Prices are moderate, service caring and efficient. Bonus, they take reserv. for 2 or more. Not a huge space but the noise level is fine. Give it a try.

          2. Sounds great! THanks

            1. I was there last night. Cute place but the food was small portions and so-so. Did you ever try Adirondack Grill in Glen Cove? It's also American but bigger and better tasting portions. For an inexpensive Italian dinner that is sooo good, I recommend Villa Milano on Plandome Rd. Manhasset. The front is a pizzeria but the back is a restaurant. Nothing fancy but the food is excellent and very reasonable. If you like sushi or teriyaki, the cutest place is in Oyster Bay is Midori. It's on Pine Hollow Rd. in a small shopping ctr. The front is I think called Green Wagon which is a small asian fruit market and in the back is the restaurant.

              1 Reply
              1. re: janinee3

                I second Villa Milano. The owners used to own Joe's Pizza on Springfield blvd. in Bayside. I grew-up eating their pizza everyday. Especially the scicilian slice... it was SO delicious! For a more fancy and authentic Italian, try La Piccolo Liguria on Shore Rd. in Port Washington. I assume you Sea Cliffians all eat at Sea Cliff Coffee & Sushi Co.?? I had 2 great meals there in the past month.

              2. I haven't heard of Adirondack Grill...can you tell me more? What type of food? Do they have a weh site?

                1 Reply
                1. re: synergy

                  I checked for a website but it doesn't come up. If you google the restaurant you will get a few reviews. It is right across the street from Blockbuster in Glen Cove. It used to be a Friendly's years ago. The decor is like a hunting or ski lodge. The food is American like Steak, Burgers, Turkey, Shrimp. The owners also own Buckram Stables in Locust Valley.
                  I like Adirondack better. Where do you live?

                2. Just tried Roots the other night. While it's comfort could indeed be called into question, I really liked the decor and atmosphere and had high expectations. The menu looked very creative. Unfortunately, the food did not deliver on what was promised...at all. I had a special entree that was beyond bland and, yes, it was delivered on a dangerously "molten" plate! Service was lacking as well given the intimate setting. Overall it was a tremendous disappointment. We live in the area and were hoping for a new "regular" place. Seeing as our number one pet peeve was the very substandard food as prepared by the restaurant's chef/owner...we would not be returning any time soon to dine there.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: motherlab

                    We felt the exact same way about Roots. Have you tried Heirloom in Locust Valley? That might fit the bill for you in looking for a new "regular" place.