Jonathan’s: They Just Do Everything Better
Step one: Picture yourself in culinary paradise. Step two: Trust Jonathan’s Ristorante in Huntington to take you there.
Mapping uncharted dining territory in the village of Huntington, the exceptional quality of food at Jonathan’s is the backbone of the restaurant’s reputation as a culinary stronghold. Owner Roberto Ornato’s investment into his Wall Street restaurant speaks volumes, not only in the quality and selection of food, but also the restaurant’s selection of wine, its earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence every year since 2004. If you need help choosing, the staff will surely guide you in the right direction, away from the typical merlots and cabernets and instead towards something exotic and satisfying.
But back to the food. Our recent visit started with the Insalata con Alici Siciliane ($10), and we were amazed by how far Executive Chef Tito Onofre can stretch the limits of a simple salad. The colorful dish features a medley of mild Sicilian white anchovies, red and green cucumbers, watermelon radish and onion, drizzled with mustard vinaigrette dressing.
Jonathan’s General Manager Alex Vergara explains the beauty of the salad perfectly.
“It stands out. Salads often revolve around arugula, while this salad revolves around anything but,” he said.
Next up was the Tartare di Tonno ($16), a beautifully plated antipasti of raw Yellow Fin tuna served over avocado salad, a bed of thinly sliced cucumber and a fresh wasabi drizzle. The fresh tuna pairs well with the mashed and savory avocado salad, which finds just the right balance of smooth and chunky textures. It is served with housemade potato chips that are all too easy to gobble down.
The menu focuses on European and Northern Italian flavors. While the chef adapts the menu to each season, he has found that some staples must stay on the menu based on customer demand.
The Agnolotti di Zucca ($19) is one of those dishes, and with good reason. The thin layers of pumpkin ravioli, lightly smothered in a butter, sage sauce, shaved parmigiano cheese and dusted with crumbled amaretto cookie, is the upscale version of comfort food, no matter what season it is.
Jonathan’s procures ingredients from a number of trusted, top-quality vendors, and lucky for us, the mozzarella di bufala was in stock the night of our visit. The appetizer ($14) features the cheese, made from the milk of buffalo cows, and comes with marinated mushrooms, eggplant, roasted tomato and a tasty balsamic reduction is a simple yet complex.
Even the simple Speck e Parmigiano ($14), comprised of smoked prosciutto, parmigiano and marinated artichokes, shines. Each component of the dish is carefully prepared in isolation to bring out the different flavors in each. Having said that, it is amazing what Chef Onofre can do with an artichoke!
We were sure to save room for the artful Black Linguini ($23) pasta dish. A hint of spice dances on the edge of your tongue, tempting you to take another bite of the savory squid ink linguini, topped with tiger shrimp and a spicy San Marzano tomato sauce. Similarly, the Risotto al Funghi ($20) is one of the best in town.
As the sea of dishes on our table grew and grew, amazingly so did our appetite. Onofre’s passion for food and the meals he prepares for customers at Jonathan’s resonates in every bite, and that held true especially in the Maiale con Vegetali Tartufati ($32) – an outstanding double-cut pork chop. Onofre’s “baby,” this dish features a thick (and we mean thick) and tender cut of meat, perfectly cooked cipollini onions, Tuscan potatoes, sautéed artichokes and truffle oil.
From the specials menu, we had the honor of sinking our teeth into Jonathan’s evenly seared sea scallops ($32), topped with a bed of baby artichokes, baby arugula, haricot vert and pesto. My, my my, scallops have never tasted (or looked) so good.
The Branzino Limone e Capperi ($29) certainly does the fish justice. The boneless, but otherwise whole fish, is served in a light but flavorful lemon, caper and white wine sauce and plated alongside rosemary roasted potatoes.
After seeing what Onofre can do on a hot stove, we highly recommend you save room for dessert. The homemade maple mascarpone cheesecake, the brioche bread pudding with caramel sauce and the chocolate cake are all prepared in house, and they’re flawless.
The smooth and perfectly creamy texture of the cheesecake is unlike any other we’ve had – it’s almost too light to be cheesecake as we know it. With its maple flavor, it is the ideal merger of breakfast and dessert. The flourless chocolate cake is smooth, rich and decadent.
Jonathan’s Ristorante’s elegant and unassuming atmosphere is extremely inviting, and is conducive to either a casual or upscale lunch or dinner gathering.
“Everything has to work together. The kitchen, the front, the bar, everything. Above all, I want them to have a good time at the table,” Vergara said.
And have a good time at the table you will. The staff is well trained, eager to please, the food will keep your taste buds singing, and the stellar wines will keep your mood high.
Jonathan’s Ristorante 15 Wall St., Huntington village 631-549-0055 Cuisine: Northern Italian/European Atmosphere: Elegant and inviting Price range: Moderate-Expensive Hours: Lunch: Mon.-Sat. noon-3 p.m.; Dinner: Mon.-Thurs. 5-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 5-10:30 p.m.; Sun. 4-9 p.m.