A Taste Of Manhattan On Long Island
Vitae Restaurant & Wine Bar, located on New Street in Huntington, is fairly new to the area, but has already begun to make a name for itself. Previously known as Abel Conklins, owner Vince Zollo and his partner John Estevez took over and completely transformed the place into a chic, Manhattan like restaurant.
modern décor and subdued lighting throughout the restaurant sets the tone for the
relaxing evening that awaits. From the beautiful, upscale dining area you get a
glimpse of the trendy urban lounge complete with a large, fully stocked bar. On some
evenings you’ll see the bar area transform into a nightly hot spot. The glass and
soundboards found on the ceilings in the dining area allows music to play softly in
the dining room while the DJ plays louder, fast paced music in the bar area.
man behind the fabulous cuisine of Vitae is Executive Chef Steven Del Lima. He has
worked in many acclaimed restaurants in the past including Aureole, Le Bernardin,
Cascabel and Giorgio. He has a very diverse background and that becomes evident as
you peruse the menu he has created. He initially was brought on board at Vitae to
help make some changes, but once Vince and John witnessed his culinary talent, they
asked him to become a permanent member of the team. Steven is a very innovative chef
with much to offer. He knows there’s lots of competition, being one of the many
restaurants in Huntington, so he strives to stand out and be different from the
others. He gives bold flavors to simple foods.
Our server Doug was polite, attentive and very personable. He was consistently on his toes, presenting us with new silverware and plates with each course. Upon being seated we were presented with a breadbasket with some homemade olive oil for dipping (below left). This olive oil is definitely something to rave about. Chef Steven simmers the olive oil for 16 hours before serving it and it consists of 24+ ingredients. It’s extremely flavorful and very popular amongst patrons, so popular that many people have requested it to be bottled and sold.
As we awaited our appetizers we sampled three of their most popular signature drinks – the Cherry Lime Rickey Martini (above right), the Vitae Lemonade (below left) and the Vitae Margarita (below right). These libations were smooth, refreshing and very enjoyable.
The Ahi Tuna Tartare was the first appetizer to reach our table (below left). We were impressed with the chef’s presentation, as it was beautifully plated featuring bright colors. Served with some hot house cucumber, avocado, pink ginger, taro chips, sriracha, ponzu and a green olive tapenade, all the colorful flavors combine to create a delightful, palate pleasing appetizer.
continued with the Grilled Marinated Warm Portuguese Octopus (above right), complete
with sweet balsamic onions, grape tomatoes, baby arugula and a lemon-sage
vinaigrette. The octopus was enjoyably tender and the balsamic flavor really shines.
A standout appetizer we would highly recommend is the Pan Seared Diver Sea Scallops served in a romanesco cauliflower puree with micro, saffron butter and a truffle essence (below left). The scallops were cooked to perfection and the puree accents them nicely. Again, the presentation was beautiful and this appetizer is also available as an entrée.
out our appetizers were the Braised Short Rib Meatball “Lollipops" (above
right). Pickled red onions accompanied the “lollipops” that were drizzled with a
horseradish crème fraiche and served in a natural braising jus. The crisp outer
shell was filled with tender pulled short rib creating a tasty treat for your taste
buds. John suggested we pair this appetizer with a glass of Peter Lehmann of the
Barossa Shiraz, a red wine from Australia. It was fruit forward with low tannins and
further complimented our final appetizer.
Our first entrée was the Rubbed Ahi Tuna “Nicosie”, accompanied by a French bean and frisèe fricassee, oven dried tomatoes, a six-minute egg and an olive tapenade with EVOO (below left). The think cut tuna was extremely fresh and featured a strong pepper flavoring. The presentation was admirable and the entrée presents a generous portion of food.
Everything Crusted Florida Red Snapper is cooked with its skin on to preserve the
flavor (above right). Served atop a chilled roasted red pepper, asparagus and goat
cheese quinoa in a chardonnay-pesto butter, the snapper featured a hint of spice and
a crisp outer coating, while the inside was ever so tender. Some crisp Idaho
potatoes also joined the snapper and the inventive chardonnay-pesto butter was quite
We continued with the C.A.B. Flat Iron Steak served on a bed of Latin style fried rice (below left). The steak was tender, prepared to an ideal medium rare and topped with a sunny egg and Cuban “haystack” potatoes. Some classic chimichurri sauce was served on the plate for some added flavor if desired. This entrée was paired with a Louis M. Martini Cabernet Sauvignon, which was a fantastic accent to the steak.
Grilled Veal Chop Vitae was our final entrée (above right). This grilled t-bone is
one of their signature dishes and was impressively succulent. A Gorgonzola polenta
cake and watercress-garbanzo and grape tomato salad accompanied the veal, which was
bathed in a wild mushroom jus. The jus featured bold, flavorful mushrooms, further
enhancing the entrees exotic flavors.
Our dining experience ended with two sweet endings beginning with some House-made “French Quarter” Doughnuts dusted with cinnamon sugar and served in a toffee sauce with a side of raspberry preserves for dipping. They were extremely soft and warm, tasting similar to a zeppoli.
you long for a mouthful of chocolate after your meal, be sure to order the Warm
“Falling Down” Chocolate Cake. The cake is presented alongside a smooth,
delicious bananas foster gelato, raspberry caulis, vanilla toile, whipped cream and
chocolate chards. This delectable treat would be the ideal ending to any meal.
Vitae Restaurant and Wine Bar is definitely a Huntington hot spot. They’re a triple threat in that they offer great food, drinks and service alike. Come here for a delicious meal and stick around to enjoy the nightlife!