Vitae In the Press

Vitae -

Originally published: August 10, 2011 5:35 PM
Updated: August 11, 2011 1:38 AM

Vitae gives new life to an old place.

Earlier this year, Vitae took over the site occupied for decades by Abel Conklin's, in a building that dates to 1841. The overhaul dramatically improved the look of the vintage address and definitely transformed the kitchen.

Now, metallic hues, bronze to gold, polish the interior. The big bar glistens with onyx. Burgundy leather banquettes, mahogany-topped tables, brass-and-fabric sconces -- in short, bye, bye, Conklin's. The personality of the newcomer manages to be both lively and relaxed. General manager John Estevez's experience includes the departed Gatsby in Islip and Iberian in Huntington.

Chef Lawrence Palladino is a Northport native whose resumé stretches from the Three Village Inn in Stony Brook to the El Tovar hotel at the Grand Canyon. You'll want a taste of his refined, Continental-New American combo.


Plump, pan-seared scallops arrive with parsnip puree, and a lemon, butter and truffle sauce. Mussels open up to an invitation of saffron, in fennel-and-herb broth. Tuna tartare veers east with ginger and ponzu, segues west with potato gaufrettes, heads south with a tuna-and-avocado tostada. All very good. So are the shrimp cocktail, the Caesar salad and the ample chopped salad. Tender baby back ribs, surprisingly, lead the main courses. They're excellent, casually accompanied with fries and coleslaw. An exceptional pan-roasted Berkshire pork chop, with hot-and-sweet peppers, onions and Yukon Gold potatoes, competes alongside. Peppers also contribute to chicken Lawrence, a savory number with sauteed onions and roasted potatoes. Seaside, try the seared, rosy Montauk tuna and the almond-crusted grouper. There are plenty of satisfying wines by the glass to go with any meal. A créme-brûlée trio highlights desserts.


Respectable wild king salmon with broccoli rabe, and crab-crusted sole finished with lemon beurre blanc; routine pasta primavera, orecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe; standard cheesecake


The (very) good life.


Notable Opening: Vitae in Huntington -

Posted: March 22nd, 2011
by East of NYC Staff

Out with the old and in with the new. This is a constant theme in life, and especially, the restaurant world. The newest Huntington hotspot is Vitae (pronounced VEE-TAY), located in the famous spot where Abel Conklin's reigned for many years over the Huntington scene (in a historic building dating back to 1841). The name Vitae means life, and it is with this in mind that Vitae opens its doors to welcome in Spring and the hungry masses coming out of their winter hibernation.

You might not be able to tell from the exterior, which is plain in contrast to the warm and intricately designed interior, but Vitae is actually brimming with life. Our visit to the restaurant during their first week of operation was met with a line at the door for those who didn't plan ahead with a reservation. There was an excitement in the air and those who were told there would be a wait happily made their way over to the bar to enjoy a few pre-dinner cocktails while General Manager John Estevez kept an eager eye out for them to be led to their table when it opened up.

The food is billed as Continental Cuisine that complements their extensive wine list. Our personal favorites from the meal were the Baked Clams Oregenata appetizer; whole clams perfectly seasoned and covered in baked bread crumbs that could go toe-to-toe with some of our favorites of the past, and the delicious 10oz. Filet Mignon served with sauteed spinach, roasted red potatoes and a red wine demi-glace. The filet was cooked to medium rare, tender and seared with a crust.

Executive Chef Lawrence Palladino, who most recently was a sous chef at Cold Spring Country Club, is striving to create a wine-friendly menu with roughly 20 entrees and a dozen appetizers. We were too stuffed by the time that dessert rolled around, but had we enough room to spare, Stefanie's Cheesecake was calling our name.

Vitae earns 3 out of 4 "MMMMMS".


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