Eat Beat: Martini Grill

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Eat Beat: Martini Grill

Hadn't been West recently so I hadn't seen the sign announcing that someone else was trying to make a go of the old Speonk Inn...

(Or as my Mom related from her days with bobbed hair and rayon knee-highs, the "Steiger Inn1 and stagger out.")

....but Bryan Dean mentioned that Ali Fathalla, late of Le Bistro on Sunset Avenue, had just re­opened the Montauk Highway landmark, so when Jeanne said she wanted to eat out, that was a logical destination.

(Plus she prides herself on being able to figure out where I'm taking her, and she couldn't have had a clue about this one!)

Midway through the eight o'clock hour there was brisk (younger) business at the bar, but the dining room wasn't all that crowded so we were seated immediately.

(According to Ali, Martini Grill has been open three weeks2, or just before Irene arrived, so he not only "lost" an important weekend, but hasn't had much of a chance to build up word of mouth.)

They don't have a Website with their menu yet3, so all I can say is that it's a bit on the pricy side for Speonk... but then while Ali may be new to 11972, he's certainly a known quality in the area from his years in West­hampton Beach and Center Moriches (at the old Sunrise Restaurant).

Jeanne had the crab cakes from the menu, and I went with the paella offered as a special, which was bountiful with chicken, shrimp and chorizo.

She thoroughly enjoyed her ample crab cake... she brought the second one home... and proclaimed it comparable to her baseline for excellence, those offered by Starr Boggs.

(I was able to leave with enough paella for a lunch, so portions are considerably more generous than the traditional nouvelle cuisine.)

So, at first blush, excellent food, good service and, as noted, pricy, but not over priced... dinner for two, with two glasses of wine, two imported brews and gratuity, was a not unreasonable $110.

Ali, who I do not know, came out and introduced himself to us midway through the evening, and indicated his intentions to go year 'round... but that more businesses in the area would as well.

(Aiding in that endeavor, the potential for a robust bar trade is there, and well-insulated from the dining room... in the old bowling alley space... is a "rowdy room" with a juke box and, according to our server, a karaoke machine.)

We wish him the best and will continue to occasionally favor Martini Grill with our custom... there's a $28 steak on the menu I'm dying to try!

Notes
  1. The place was owned at the time by the parents of the late actor Rod Steiger.
  2. Curiously, there's a review of Martini Grill on 27East dated "July 29," so perhaps someone is doing some guerrilla marketing on behalf of Ali.
  3. If ever.
  4. Aided immeasurably by the fact that our server, Bobbie, was a real personality gal.

Comments

1. Adriana Krambeck said...

Thanks so much for your support Mr. Speir, looking forward to seeing you again!

Enjoyed ourselves immensely... as Ah-nauld has made a career saying, "We'll be baaaack."

O, and it's...
Dean

2. Guy said...

Me and my girl had dinner at Martini Grill Saturday night, mostly in response to your blog entry. It was a quiet night for Ali and Adriana, who introduced themselves and chatted with us amicably. Also for Bobbie, the waitress, who is, as you have said, loaded with personality.

The meal was great and fresh, a couple of excellent martinis and we came in at $116 with three appetizers and two entrees and two soft drinks as well. Not unreasonable. The big comment here is that the food was fresh and artfully prepared with a delicate palate. There are not many places in town where I can make this comment.

I had the chicken marsala - delicious mushrooms, tender chicken and a perfectly balanced sauce. My girl had the shrimp scampi pasta - many jumbo shrimp artfully prepared in a buttery garlic parmesan sauce. We started out with calamari - fresh, not frozen calamari, properly prepared with a delicious heaping side of marinara sauce, then we had Greek salad for two – which had a great mix of fresh vegetables with, what seemed like French feta – high quality feta cheese and a very well balanced balsamic vinaigrette.

I, too, am very glad to see another year 'round start up and especially wish them luck in this historically difficult location in Speonk and this obviously difficult economy. It is good to see this couple back in the greater Westhampton area and I wish them much success.

We will repeat!

Thank you for your concurrance... glad to put you onto something good.
– Dean

3. Hampton West said...

I had once read that Rod Steiger was either born in Westhampton or raised in Westhampton, I had always though he was from Newark NJ (some contrast!) You have any info?

Steiger had a lot of good roles over the years, I recently bought "No Way to Treat a Lady" and I'm looking for "The Pawn Broker" at a reasonable price. Found a copy of "The Illustrated Man" the other day - watched it - not his best effort but not for lack of talent.

Rare is the large (or small, for that matter) screen adaptation of a Ray Bradbury story that works, with "Fahrenheit 451" a notable exception. But yes, Mr. Steiger was Westhampton born and bred before running off (and away from a home with an absentee father and an alcoholic mother) at age sixteen to join the United States Navy right after World War II broke out. (He actually saw action serving as a torpedoman on a destroyer in the Pacific Theater.)

While not as notorious as his contemporaries George C. Scott and Jason Robards, Jr., he had his own strugges with the bottle.
– Dean

4. Gordie Howe said...

Yo --

Is Bobbie the Bobbie from Sunwater Grill??

Best-
#9

Dunno!
– Dean

5. Adriana Krambeck said...

Yes Gordie, the one and only Bobbie!

6. Bobbie said...

The restaurant is open seven nights a week. We do Happy hour 4-7 every night with half price appetizers and a prix fixe menu in the dining room. Come visit us! smiley

Perhaps you guys should be advertising somewhere... doncha think?
Dean

7. Adriana Krambeck said...

Check out The Southampton Press.

Okay..............
Dean

8. xclaxmom said...

I've been a fan of your blog for well over a year but have never posted before. I read this entry with interest and stopped at Martini Grill Wednesday evening to check it out. We had a delicious dinner and plan on going back tonight with friends who didn't know that Ali was back in business. Thank you for this most useful review.

You're welcome, I'm sure... when I find something that pleases me, I like to share it.
– Dean

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