The North Shore of Long Island is filled with nooks and crannies of wooded hills, hidden coves and delightful villages that recall times past. Luckily for me, I live near one of these timeless towns, the quaint village of Stony Brook with its rich history and shops, where there is plenty to do on a summer day but more excitingly plenty to eat.
For consecutive weekends I went for a hamburger in two restaurants across the Stony Brook village green, Mirabelle Tavern at Three Village Inn and the newly opened Latitude 121, which occupies the space that formerly housed the Brook House. They’re both so classic Long Island, a meld of cultures: Mirabelle Tavern reminds me of something you’d find in the Hudson Valley while Latitude 121’s style and décor feels very New England.
In addition to having that feeling of being on vacation less then 15 minutes from my home, it’s the burgers that struck me. Mirabelle Tavern’s Tavern Burger is an 8-ounce oz sirloin patty with cheddar, succulent bacon and onion marmalade; the bun held together perfectly. One bite and I was hooked. Add the live jazz playing and you get ambience and satisfaction with this meal.
The next Saturday brought me to Latitude 121 where I was eager to try their Longitude Burger after hearing so much about it from a friend. I was quite happy to see that the new owners have kept the ice cream parlor, where as a child I saw Senator Jacob Javits enjoying a cone. There is brightness at this new restaurant, which shines through the setting as well as in its menu. The Longitude comes with lettuce, tomatoes, onions and pickles. I enhanced my burger with mozzarella and mushrooms, which to my delight was a combination of wild mushrooms. The bun with its shiny egg white wash held strongly with each bite and the burger was cooked just as I like, a perfect medium well.
As I watched the sun set over the harbor from my seat at Latitude 121, I was grateful there are two restaurants so close with a meal dear to my heart. Wait make that three; I still have a burger to try at Pentimento. With so many choices for a wonderful meal in such a beautiful setting followed by a walk to the harbor or the Grist Mill, I will be dining in Stony Brook Village more often than not.