Aria Melanie: Elegance in Long Island
Written by Salvatore DiBenedetto [The Grubfather]
Aria Melanie inspires the romantic’s soul. Set along the banks of Bay Shore’s Lawrence Lake, the simplistic beauty of the restaurant is accented with rave-worthy cuisine. As a new addition to the Suffolk County culinary scene, Aria Melanie is digging its heels into the bedrock of essential Long Island dining.
Daniela and I had no idea what to expect as we swung open the doors to Aria Melanie. The first thing to greet us was an elegant, wood-clad bar buzzing with patrons. I grinned knowing Aria Melanie’s attention to drink culture was substantial as it was a cold night and I sought to set my blood on fire with a quality bourbon.
We paced through several rooms; all adorned with white table cloths and candles. The space was sophisticated yet approachable, never once stepping into pretentiousness. As I sat there, hand grasped around an apple-bourbon cocktail, I couldn’t help but think what a quality date night spot Aria Melanie was proving to be. The Autumn sunset covered the lake in gorgeous colors that accented the eyes of my beloved who sat across from me. All was good in the world of The Grubfather, especially the drinks in hand.
Our waitress was outstanding and genuinely proud of the menu she was serving to patrons. It is always a good sign when the waitstaff is enthusiastic. She offered us several recommendations which we happily accepted. During the wait for our appetizers we hastily dunked fresh bread into an assortment of butter, extra virgin olive oil, and sun-dried tomato pesto. A quality bread program is always a nice touch.
For appetizers, a pumpkin soup du jour, imported truffle burrata and fritto misto gave me an insight into Chef Fabrizio Perinelli’s mind. While playing on Italian heartstrings, Chef Fabrizio also seeks to add some signature zest. His technique shined brightly in the fritto misto which tied fried calamari, shrimp, scallions & zucchini together with a honey chipotle sauce. Not only was the sauce intriguing, it offered the palate a delicious spin on a classic Italian seafood dish.
While the appetizers were a dynamic display of Aria Melanie’s food perspective, it was the entrees that had me in a state of infatuation. Opting for a surf & turf theme, Daniela and I’s eyes lit up at the arrival of our Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon, Pistachio Crusted Tuna and Melanie’s Mac & Cheese.
Bacon Wrapped Filet: Insanely tender cut of filet, the bacon’s juice melted right into the meat which was complimented expertly with truffle butter and thyme red wine reduction. I couldn’t resist crowning the filet with Melanie’s Mac & Cheese which I recommend you do as well.
Pistachio Crusted Tuna: Excellently cooked tuna. The pistachio element was something I’ve never encountered with tuna but the nutty flavor worked well with the seafood cut. The avocado mousse and soy sauce was a nice blending factor.
The ending to the meal was nothing but sweet. A table of Chef Fabrizio’s friends who sat at the table next to us could not stop talking about his Tri-Layered Tiramisu. The symphony of banana, coffee and raspberry was truly out of this world. I still think about it today. Also noteworthy was Aria Melanie’s signature Grand Marnier Creme Brûlée; a great rendition of the classic dessert.
Overall, Aria Melanie is an exception restaurant that is very worthy of adding to your Long Island hit list. With a refined ambiance, inspired menu and excellent service - you’ll be hard pressed to find a better traditional date night spot. Don’t miss it!