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May 13, 2021


I don’t know about you, but when I chow down at a “fine dining” restaurant, I want chairs that are comfortable enough to make me feel as if I’m having breakfast in bed. It’s not that the chairs invite me to take a walk every five minutes, but pair me up with an eatery where the food is as relaxing as my body feels. Well, obviously if I didn’t find such a place, I wouldn’t be writing this…so here goes.

Quick scenario. My college buddy Nancy Garbowski and I (geeez, we’ve been friends for over 35 years…oy!) decided to cavort in Great Neck (midway from where we both live) and do dinner and a movie. Sorry, Kenny, but it’s girls night out. Now, go on the internet and find a restaurant. A few clicks and a phone call and I ask about the menu of Grill 25. Menu sounded fine.

Great looking restaurant, cozy looking bar, but it’s the food that counts. We are seated in what has to be the most restful chairs invented. Michelle approached us (having gotten the menu) and asked if we would like to order a drink. Electric Martinis? The “ice cube” placed in the center of the glass is lit up. Great idea. If you’re drunk and in the dark, you can at least still imbibe. We toasted the holiday season and placed our order.

The cuisine is what I would describe as being “creatively organic fruit and vegetable accentuated American”. For instance, the Frisee Salad has poached pears, pickled shallot, candied walnuts and English Blue and the Scallion Pancake was made with grilled shrimp and served with citrus crème fraiche and a whole grain mustard lobster reduction. Okay, that one didn’t have much fruit, but doesn’t it sound yummy?

We did the sharing thing and requested the Yellow Fin Tuna and Hamachi Tartare (close enough to sushi). Made with lime, sweet soy, sesame oil and Kafir lime leaf served with crème Fraiche and Sevruga Caviar and the Braised Short Ribs with sweet and sour cabbage and a ginger scallion Gremolata. So much for the appetizers.

I must say…yes, I must…that a vegetarian would be surprised with the entree choices. There was a risotto pasta with butternut squash, wild mushrooms, shaved Reggiano and white truffle oil, a vegetable lasagna with celery root, braised fennel, and acorn squash served with a wild mushroom sauce and spaghetti squash (scoop out the cooked squash and it really resembles spaghetti) with baby turnips, pearl onions, brussel sprouts and zucchini.

My eyes immediately spotted the Grilled Hangar Steak. You have to have faith in the chef when it comes to this cut. When cooked correctly it is quite tender and tasty. The steak was served with an herb Spaetzle, creamed chicory and a Chanterelles and apple compote. They had a coconut and coriander crusted yellow fin tuna accompanied by green Thai rice, cucumber mango salad and a sweet and sour tamarind sauce and if it weren’t for my “sushiholic” trend, I would have had this vs. the tuna appetizer.

I was also thinking about the Grilled Sirloin just because it was served with a rutabaga hash and baby spinach…couldn’t imagine what that would taste like…but Grill 25 offers sides of this dish (amongst others)…and it was quite good.

So, let’s take a break for the info on Grill 25, located at 25 Middle Neck Road (516) 773-3690). The talented chef’s name is Craig Attwood, who worked for such prestigious Manhattan restaurants as Veritas and Judson Grill. Lunch, dinner, late night dining, a full bar and live Jazz Sunday Brunch gives you a chance to indulge. Back to the food.

Although Nancy and I were full we did notice that there was still some time before the start of the movie and a glance at the dessert menu was motive enough. Not the most usual desserts. The ones that particularly caught my attention were: vanilla scented poached pear Claufotis with star anise crème Fraiche: spiced pumpkin spring rolls with caramel dipping sauce; and chocolate soufflé cake with caramelized banana and peanut butter sauce. It was the last two that we chose…and we were glad we did.

The movie, “Ocean’s Twelve” was excellent, but the seats were more comfy at Grill 25.

December 30, 2004 - Queens Times


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