Only a few months ago, a friend and I were strolling the Friday night streets of Patchogue in search of a beautiful cocktail. We knew that had we been in the mood for a great beer, or a nice glass of wine, the possibilities were seemingly endless. But we wanted a drink: a complexly crafted, high spirited, and gorgeously presented libation. We walked and talked, searching and finally settling on gin and tonics at a local dive, where we sat and discussed the unwavering need for a high end restaurant and bar in the revolutionized foodie hub of Patchogue.
It seems our wishes were heard, and the Universe teamed up with local restauranteurs James Bonanno and David Johnson and delivered us the perfectly balanced spot for everything our Friday night dreams are made of: delicious, creative cuisine, great wine, quality beer, beautifully crafted cocktails and a chic, cozy vibe all settled into a dimly lit and sexy space right on Main Street.
Thank you Universe, and thank you to the talented boys that have brought one of our other tried and true Friday night spots, Tap Room, their sister restaurant less than .01 miles up the street. Now with Flight under their helm, Patchogue feels a little more complete, and a lot more urban, as their newest addition to the buzzing scene allows you an opportunity to be transported to Brooklyn or downtown Manhattan with just a step into their South Shore space.
“We chose Patchogue because after owning Tap Room for the last six years, we have seen first hand the exciting revitalization of this town,” explains Bonanno, a Bayport-Blue Point native, and recent inhabiter of Patchogue’s booming young professional real estate craze. A foodie himself, though with little time to venture out into the scene, the multitasking Bonanno admits, “I am always focused on vibe and mood. This includes the type of music, temperature of the room, its lighting, and other sensory appeal. You can be enjoying the best meal or cocktail you’ve ever had, but if any of these things are not exactly right, your mind is not focused on your meal. And obviously the food and drinks must be great!”
And great they are, with a focus on fun and friendly sharing and a dining adventure that guides you through a multitude of classic tastes and playful innovation, the food and beverage program at Flight is fun for all five senses.
Through the giant window on the far end of the dining room, guests can see into Chef Jason Tepper’s kitchen. Tepper, a native of Blue Point, made his way back to the homeland after taking his culinary resume around the country, with stops in Miami and Las Vegas, where he served as the Corporate Chef for the hotel properties MGM, Siegal Group, before moving his family back home. “My main goal was to bring some Vegas flair back to Long Island, kind of like a West Coast meets East Coast approach, combining the trendiness of Vegas dining with a local Long Island farm to table concept.”
The menu, which consists of a combination of small and large plates, allows for a progressive course by course experience, but the highlight of both the dinner and beverage menus is the namesake concept of flights. Taking the common idea of a sample of things to a whole new level, the combination of Tepper’s flair and Bonanno’s memorable dining must-haves merged together to develop some really fun dishes.
“The small plates concept for me came from my experiences traveling in Spain. When I dined at night it wasn’t a question of what I was eating but rather what my group was going to try and share together,” Bonanno recalls. “We thought that was a fun way to experience different foods.”
“It’s a great way of trying one dish three different ways,” Tepper adds. “Who wouldn’t want a little of this and a little of that?”
Sourcing from all the different aspects of his culinary career, Tepper proudly smiles as he says, “I was inspired by my own family dinners; sharing food and making memories. Some of the menu items are a reflection of that. For example, His and Herz is named after my mother, Lillian. Surf and Turf was her favorite thing to eat and His and Herz was the name of the hair salon she owned right here in Patchogue. Shrimp is my oldest daughter Lilliauna’s favorite food and my youngest daughter, Khloe, loves Mac and Cheese.”
The flight plates, which offer one dish done three ways, are a really delicious and exciting way to bring the art of dining to a new level. With flight plates of Mac and Cheese, Lamb Chops, Sliders, Shrimp, and Surf and Turf—each done three ways—guests get to sample and share a culinary roadmap that Tepper himself has created and executed a dining adventure within.
Paired with a wonderfully artful beverage program, which includes beer, wine, spirit and craft cocktail flights, the bar at Flight has been developed and is run by the locally acclaimed Mark Seaman, who has made his way to this Patchogue hot spot after putting his creations on the Long Island cocktail map behind the bar at Roots in Islip.
“As far as I am concerned, a great cocktail, wine, beer or spirit is a culmination of many different factors,” says Seaman. “I mostly look for complexity and depth of flavor, uniqueness, balance and a lasting finish. When you have that combination, the drink transcends to something that leaves an impression; something memorable that you’ll think about after you’ve finished it and want to experience again.”
In regards to the unique program at Flight, “I wanted the menu and the exploration of its contents to be an experience in and of itself. By creating a list of wines, beers, spirits and cocktails that were sourced from small, artisanal providers, I was able to put a focus on creating a higher quality product without having to pay a premium for the brand. This exploration becomes an experience and in turn, memories with friends and loved ones are shared and guests return to go on another adventure again and again.”
Within the culmination of all these great and creative minds, a star was born, and lucky for us local foodie and cocktail enthusiasts, getting on board for a Flight through this new culinary adventureland doesn’t require more than a drive into Patchogue.