California’s Napa Valley is as West Coast as it gets—with a tranquil pace, elegant surroundings and, of course, plenty of the finest wine. That warm and intoxicating lifestyle has taken root here in the east with the opening of Honig Grill in Woodbury.
The restaurant delivers the Napa region’s fine wines, fresh ingredients and relaxed attitude in a casual setting perfect for romantic interludes, family dinners or business gatherings. And it’s all inspired by Michael Honig’s family of wine crafters at Honig Vineyard and Winery in Rutherford, CA, though the restaurant shares no affiliation with the vineyard beyond its name and the availability of numerous award-winning Honig wines.
Entering Honig Grill, lattice dividers separate the hostess station from the dining spaces, with a small area boasting a bar and leading to a patio, sitting adjacent to the larger dining area with filament bulb hanging lights providing a modern, smoky ambiance. There is also an upstairs dining area, complete with its own bar.
When its time to eat, the stars of the appetizer menu include the Napa springs rolls and the artichoke and spinach dip. The springs rolls are warm, crisp and filled with pulled pork and cabbage and served with a Fresno chili sauce that provides a decent kick of heat. The artichoke and spinach dip is a crowd-pleaser with a mix of cheeses including Gruyere and served with house-made potato chips fresh from the fryer.
Honig’s raw bar is a great addition to the dining scene, with east and west coast oysters and more. But perhaps the most surprising feature at Honig is its expertly crafted sushi menu. The restaurant’s sushi chef comes from New York City’s renowned Rainbow Room, bringing with him high city standards at much more affordable prices. The Napa roll comes with glowing recommendations and features shrimp tempura topped with avocado, lobster meat and the chef’s special sauce.
The entrées are impressive as well and, as with the rest of the menu, come with enthusiastic wine-pairing recommendations from the staff. Honig’s grilled swordfish was among this eater’s favorite bites in recent memory—soft and supple, the fish is grilled to absolute perfection and is served with a sweet chili glaze and giant grilled asparagus. Another fresh catch, the branzino, is sautéed lightly with Honig sauvignon blanc and delivers the intensely desired crisp skin.
For meat eaters, the braised short ribs are pan roasted and fork tender, served with au jus and mashed potato. The Mongolian pork chop is another favorite, with sautéed greens and caramelized onions and apples. The bone-in rib steak is a mouth-watering, succulent dream—perfectly cooked, this 26-ounce slab is served simply with salt or with an array of sauce choices.
For a taste of Napa Valley, along with 140 bottles of wine and 15 available by the glass, check out Long Island’s own Californian grill at Honig.
Honig Grill, 8289 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury; 516-367-7400; www.honiggrill.com.