Showtime At Campari Art House
Danyell Miller uses her pizza ovens for a lot more than Neapolitan pies at Campari Art House in Northport.
Take, for instance, her delightful Veal Osso Buco ($32) special that we devoured with aplomb Sunday night. Tender, juicy and peppery on the inside and crisp on the outside, the meat is braised in wine and au jus for two hours before it reaches your plate. Then put it atop a bed of creamy mashed potatoes and crown it with a medley of sweet potatoes, eggplant, fresh tomatoes, onions and garlic that bursts with flavor at every turn, and you’ve got yourself a real work of art.
It’s especially fitting since Danyell, who has owned the restaurant since February 2011, has thrown herself into showcasing the arts since unveiling Campari’s new art-house concept Nov. 15. Since then, Rich Rivkin, creator of a number of summer arts programs across Long Island, developed a Friday night live jazz and blues event called Northport After Dark at Campari. Fine artist Anu Anaam curates the art hanging in the dining room; until Feb. 2, it’s the eclectic work of Huntington Station artist Michael Krasowitz.
Savvy diners who frequented Danyell’s specials menu in recent months might have caught wind of her plans to shift gears from traditional Italian to fresh Mediterranean fare drawing inspiration from not only Italy, but Spain, France, Belgium, Turkey and Morocco as well.
After starting with warm rosemary bread and olive oil, we turned our attention to a pair of inventive starting plates. The Lobster Cake ($14), bursting with fresh pulled lobster aside a cream lemon sauce and paired with Portobello mushrooms in a sweet balsamic glaze, was an early showstopper. Get past the name and take the plunge on Salmon Cheesecake ($12), a light, mild medley of Norwegian salmon and a blend of cheeses presented in a Parmesan crust.
Traditional Italian Cioppino soup ($12), full of plum tomatoes, shrimp, clams and mussels, is another winner. So, too, is the Belgian Endive Pear Salad ($10), a light and balanced plate of mixed greens, endive and fresh pears with gorgonzola and honey balsamic dressing.
It was then that Danyell raised the curtain on fantastic entrees like the aforementioned Osso Buco. Pollo Picatta ($18) brings bright lemon flavor that plays well against capers and artichoke hearts, and Creamy Seafood Risotto ($24), a fragrant mix of shrimp and crab in a creamy yet pillowy saffron risotto, is equally satisfying.
Be sure to save room for dessert – pastry chef Kat Shewan, also a talented ceramic artist who is currently designing purpose-built plates to complement the dishes, works magic with delightful chocolate-based Salted Espresso-Caramel Tort, light Flourless Pecan cake paired with zesty orange curd, and excellent Key Lime Pie (all $8).
More art is on the way – Danyell is working with Bare Bones Theater group to develop a dinner-theater concept, and cooking classes with featured guest chefs are on the way – to which we say, “Bravo!”
Campari Art House
225 Main St., Northport Village
Atmosphere: Artsy jazz den
Hours: Sun-Tues noon-9 p.m.; Wed-Sat: Noon-10 p.m.; Sunday Brunch ($18 pp) noon-2 p.m.