Restaurant Reviews

Christoper J. Davies
Publisher, LongIsland

reproduced and presented with permission

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Tellers Restaurant & 6 Long Island Wineries Support Breast Cancer Charity
Story by Roy Bradbrook
Photos by Chris Davies

Click on photos to enlarge

Virginia Regnante is the President of the West Islip Breast Cancer Coalition and she was full of praise for Tellers Restaurant on Main Street in Islip for their generosity in recently hosting a Wine Dinner in collaboration with a number of top Long Island Wineries for the benefit of this very deserving cause. As Virginia told me, 'There are very few families here on Long Island who have not been touched in some way or other by Breast Cancer. Help like this is so wonderful'

Tellers is housed in a very grand building occupied for many years by banks and the interior has been cleverly adapted without losing the beautiful proportions of the original building. Owner John Bohlsen is a banking executive who also owns the Beachtree restaurants in East and West Islip and H2O in Smithtown. Apparently when he went to buy this building, because of his banking background, it was only agreed upon after he clearly stated that he had no intention of opening a bank there.

Today, Tellers is a very elegant restaurant capable of seating around 90 in the downstairs room and a further 60 in the upstairs rooms. The emphasis is primarily on steaks and chops but other dishes are always available, Dining Room Manager, Manuel Concha explained. 'We also serve a three course prix fixe lunch for $24 on Monday through Friday and this is becoming very popular.'

For this benefit, Chef Craig Jermin chose a menu that Wine Director Daniel J. Thames paired with carefully selected Long Island wines. Danny explained that their wine dinners are very well attended and he expects to stage them regularly during the year, so prospective diners are recommended to keep a close watch on their web site (linked below) for full details. Tellers is fast becoming a destination dining restaurant for patrons from NYC, Queens and across Long Island and Danny Thames is determined to make the restaurant a wine destination as well. The original bank vaults are now part of the wine cellars where over 12000 bottles are carefully cellared for the enjoyment of diners. Danny is particularly concerned to ensure that wines in the $40 and below range are the very best quality and value possible and the same kind of care and attention goes to the selection of wines by the glass where the prices range from $6 to $12.

The first course of Long Island clams and oysters was impeccably paired with a crisp clean Brut sparkling wine from Martha Clara and a very interesting 1999 Rose of Merlot from Peconic Bay Winery, which had a gorgeous ruby translucency coupled with a soft dryness and good finish.

As we enjoyed these delicacies the tranquil sounds of the harp, skillfully played by Merry Miller, added to the ambience. Next came one of the star dishes of the evening, a pan-seared halibut with a citrus beurre blanc and a julienne of mango and jalapeno that added a tantalizing taste sensation to some wonderfully cooked fish. Two white wines from different grapes provided diners with the opportunity to taste how they both, in their individual ways, complemented the dish. The steel fermented 2000 Chardonnay from Peconic Bay was appropriately crisp in finish and the Pinot Blanc from Lieb Cellars was fresh, apply and soft.

Duck breast served with a herbed risotto and Raphael's 'First Label' 1999 Merlot went very well together although personally I would have preferred a Pinot Noir as the wine for this dish with the Merlot paired with a meat course.

Tellers has a well won reputation for the quality of its steaks and the Tuscan rubbed sirloin was a worthy choice Here diners were able to taste a Cabernet Franc 2000 Reserve and a 1997 Select Red Meritage both from Palmer Vineyards with the steak and to compare the lighter varietal with the classic Bordeaux type blend.

Finally, a delicate kiwi mousse with a grilled sickle pear and kiwi coulis, paired with Paumanok Winery's delectable 1998 Late Harvest Sauvignon Blanc, full of fruit and heady aromas, brought the meal to a very satisfying close.

For additional information:
Tellers Chophouse
605 Main Street
Islip, NY
Tel. (631) 277-7070

Reader letters and comments should be e-mailed to: Publisher@
2003 Long Island Wine Country No reproduction of any of the components or images may be reproduced without written permission from Long Island Wine Country and the nIdea™ Corporation.

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