Small Plates and History at Wild Honey in Oyster Bay

wild honey moores building

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Small plates have been quite the rage over the past year, and it makes total sense. You can try all kinds of delicious food in much smaller proportions. They are great for sharing and it’s fun to pick out all these interesting dishes. Cut out the cocktail to start and go straight to a nice glass of wine, or a bottle if you’re with a few people. I have found that for two diners, three to four small plates are perfect. Double for four or more. Share a dessert or skip it all together, and have an espresso over a cappuccino. It’s less filling and it’s fewer calories. If you really must have an entrée, share an appetizer or salad to start.

I recently enjoyed a fabulous small plate meal at the ever-so-cozy Wild Honey in Oyster Bay. Small plates are not the only thing Wild Honey has to offer. It serves up an interesting history as well. This romantic eatery, set with dim lights and candles, is housed in what was once President Teddy Roosevelt’s summer White House.

Built in 1891, it was originally a corner grocery, until James Moore bought the building in 1901 and expanded it to its Queen Anne style. Moore added a second and third floor, which he intended to use as a public offices. Little did he know, President Roosevelt would soon take occupancy during the months he was residing at his estate at Sagamore Hill. Roosevelt’s secretary, William Loeb, primarily used the offices and had a direct telephone and telegraph line to Sagamore Hill and to the White House in Washington D.C. Known as the Moore’s Building, the structure is now on the National Register of Historical Places.

Husband and wife Rob and Tina O’Brien bought the restaurant 11 years ago. They redecorated and changed the name to Wild Honey after a U2 song. Rob describes his restaurant as “creative American cuisine.” Serving small plates is one of their specialties.

“This is the way my wife and I like to eat,” states Rob O’Brien. “I didn’t want my restaurant to be an occasion place, where people are just coming for a birthday or anniversary. By offering small plates, it’s more affordable. I want people to feel like they can come here three times a week, and not just on special occasions.”

By offering small plates, guests can also try a variety of Wild Honey’s food. They will bring each plate out one at a time if you request. The night I ate there I had a fabulous crispy calamari with Thai barbecue sauce, pickled Asian vegetables and toasted sesame seeds. Following that was a filet mignon Wellington that was simply irresistible. I highly recommend the spinach and truffle baked oysters featuring Blue Point oysters, and the crab and lobster meatballs. Amazing… The small plates range from $10 to $12.

“It’s customizable, same as the wine list,” O’Brien adds. “People can order a really good bottle of wine for $40 or less. The bottom line is this is how we like to eat, so I wanted to create the same experience for my customers.”

Wild Honey is open for lunch Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Dinner is served nightly beginning at 5:00 p.m.

If you can’t make it to Oyster Bay, check out some other Long Island restaurants featuring small plates. Here is a list of some popular places:

Café Buenos Aires in Huntington Village, serving tapas.

Lola in Great Neck.

Roots Bistro Gourmand in West Islip.

Salumi in Massapequa.

Swallow in Huntington Village.