|:: PRESS/REVIEWS ::
2825 Long Beach Rd.
|17 Things to Eat Right Now
|DINING carl corry | OCTOBER 25, 2016
Another Winner From Island Team
By JOANNE STARKEY
Published: October 23, 2008
BRASSERIE PERSIL'S success story began in 2003, when Julio Velasquez and Peter Oktas met at Bistro Cassis in Huntington; Mr. Velasquez was executive chef, Mr. Oktas a waiter. Mr. Velasquez went on to manage two other restaurants with the same ownership: Bistro Citron in Roslyn and Mac's Steakhouse in Huntington.
In June of 2006 the two men left their positions and a month later opened Sage Bistro in Bellmore, with food and ambience modeled after Bistro Cassis.
Last January they opened a second restaurant, Brasserie
Persil in Oceanside. As at Sage Bistro, Mr. Velasquez is the chef, and Mr. Oktas runs the dining room.
Brasserie Persil is larger and more elegant than Sage Bistro, with striped brocade banquettes, lots of dark wood and vaguely French paintings. Large, framed mirrors have dishes and prices written on them.
The service is excellent, with waiters giving prices when including specials, for instance. (A printed sheet is also given to diners as a memory aid.) Busboys should be commended: Bread plates always held a fresh hunk of baguette; water glasses were constantly being topped off.
The food, moderately priced, is the usual bistro-brasserie fare, but there were a few surprises, like an ostrich special one night and a menu item of a pounded and breaded pork chop topped with caramelized onions and a Waldorf salad of greens, apple, celery and walnuts.
Almost everything we tried was knowingly turned out. Only two dishes came up short: a burger that was medium rare as ordered but still a tad dry, and mussels marinière. The mussels were in a flavor-packed white wine broth loaded with garlic, but they were tiny, not the plump ones we had hoped for.
Soups were topnotch. The French onion soup on the menu had rich beefy flavor and was not overly salty, as it sometimes can be. Two soups du jour also hit all the right notes: a creamy lobster bisque with chunks of shellfish and croutons; and a rich mushroom velouté crowned with a tiny goat-cheese cream puff.
Salads were good starters, too. The octopus salad had tender nubbins of seafood tossed with baby arugula, cucumber, red onion and tomato. The creamy lobster bisque with chunks of shellfish and croutons; and a rich mushroom velouté crowned with a tiny goat-cheese cream puff.
Salads were good starters, too. The octopus salad had tender nubbins of seafood tossed with baby arugula, cucumber, red onion and tomato. The Persil salad was a simple pleasure of baby arugula, large parsley leaves, white beans and slabs of ricotta salata in a lemon-herb vinaigrette. Two salads on the list of specials also delighted: the classic frisée with crisp lardons of bacon and a poached egg on top, and a memorable fig salad. The latter consisted of three very large figs, served warm, stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in crispy pancetta, under a topknot of microgreens.
Entrees to consider include exemplary steak frites (tender strip steak and wonderfully crunchy fries); a pairing of juicy duck leg confit with perfectly cooked duck breast in a morel mushroom sauce; five seared scallops surrounding a mound of leeks and cubed butternut squash, all resting on a truffled cream sauce; and a fillet of sole baked in parchment paper with lemons, capers, olives and basil. It can be tough to decide.
Dessert presented more difficult choices. The apple tart à la mode and the warm banana tart were two hits. Chocolate lovers have three worthy picks: chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream and berries; a rich molten-center chocolate cake served with vanilla ice cream; and profiteroles topped with a deep, dark hot chocolate sauce. Kudos, too, to the silken crème brûlée and to the warm upside-down caramel cheesecake. And kudos to Brasserie Persil.
THE SPACE Attractive, upscale French brasserie. Not wheelchair accessible.
THE CROWD Animated couples and small groups, with lots of neighbors greeting neighbors. Few children.
THE BAR Small bar with five stools at the back of the restaurant. Wine list of 77 bottles ($26 to $150) and 19 wines by the glass ($7 to $8). In keeping with the classic brasserie emphasis, there is also a beer list with 14 selections ($5 to $17).
THE BILL Lunch entrees, $8 to $10. Dinner entrees, $9 to $27. American Express, MasterCard, Visa and Discover are accepted.
WHAT WE LIKE Onion soup, lobster bisque, mushroom velouté, frisée salad, fig salad, octopus salad, Persil salad; steak frites, pork chop, duck, scallops, fillet of sole; all desserts.
IF YOU GO Lunch: Monday to Friday, noon to 3 p.m. Dinner: Monday to Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m.; Sunday, 4 to 9 p.m. Reservations accepted for parties of six or more.
Reviewed on Oct. 26, 2008
Julio Velasquez came to this country from El Salvador; Peter Oktas emigrated from Turkey. Two years ago, the multinational team opened Sage Bistro, a French dining spot in Bellmore. Now, they've launched a second place in Oceanside, Brasserie Persil. As executive chef, Velasquez works with chef de cuisine Jose Velasquez (no relation) to turn out a roster of Gallic (and not-so-Gallic) dishes with élan and efficiency - no small feat, considering the crowds that pack the place nightly.
Entering from the rear parking lot, I survey the attractive space, much of it a corridor that widens in the front. The decor is pretty but somewhat generic. Still, the bar looks vaguely French; the mirrors have menu items scrawled upon them, a bit of bistro style.
The moment I'm seated, slices of baguette are placed on my bread dish; water glasses are filled. Alongside a triangle of plain butter is a little green butter-herb blend made with tarragon, sage, rosemary and the restaurant's namesake parsley.
I ask whether we can get a half order of the ravioli of the day as an appetizer. Mais oui, our decidely not Parisian waiter says. The al dente pasta pouches are filled with soft shreds of beef; the sauce is a rosemary-infused beef jus, almost a broth. Is the dish French or Italian? What matters is that it's delectable. I relish the smokiness of grilled octopus served over a toss of baby arugula, roasted peppers and chick peas. Plump mussels Provençale are bathed in a lively tomato, basil and garlic sauce.
One night, the risotto du jour is made with scallops, which are neatly seared and placed atop a creamy Arborio rice mixture laced with chopped scallops, asparagus, peas and fennel, a provocative contrast of tastes and textures.
It comes as a pleasant surprise that the steak au poivre, ordered rare, arrives exactly that. It's also tender and juicy, drizzled with a green peppercorn sauce and served with haricots verts and a sumptuous little potato gratin. Velasquez does skillful work with a steak-like duck breast and rich leg confit served with roasted butternut squash, leeks and a morel mushroom sauce. But the crisp-skinned snapper filet in a Mediterranean olive and basil sauce is dry inside, the accompanying salad of tomato and white beans way more interesting. Outclassing that is an inspired fricassee of monk fish and lobster, plated over parsley spaetzle and asparagus in a fragrant brandy-lobster broth.
A flavorsome "seared" pork chop paillard turns out to be coated with bread crumbs and fried. But it's perfectly fried, crisp outside, moist within, topped with a cool Waldorf salad and garnished with caramelized onions. I like the hanger steak sandwich, roseate slices on a fresh baguette served with ideally crisp, thin, piping hot French fries. Too bad they cool off so quickly.
Dinner concludes with tender crepes Suzettes in orange sauce; there is no flambéing at the table. A puff pastry lemon tart is nice and warm, a fruit-topped mascarpone tart better still. My favorite is the dark chocolate mousse crowned with freshly whipped cream. It's intense and bittersweet, like a night spent in Paris.
Reviewed by Joan Reminick, 5/13/08.
Lunch, Tuesday to Saturday, noon to 3 p.m.; Dinner, Tuesday to Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m., Sunday, 4 to 9 p.m.
THE YEAR'S TOP 20 RESTAURANTS: CHEAP EATS
FOOD (3 STARS)
Chef and co-owner Julio Velasquez, born in Salvador, presides over a mostly French kitchen with the proficiency of a native Parisian. Say oui to the smoky grilled octopus, plump mussels Provençale, steak au poivre and dark chocolate mousse.