Tucked in Island Park’s thriving bayside restaurant row is Jimmy Hays, a sophisticated steakhouse with a reputation as one of the top chop houses on Long Island. Jimmy, the namesake and proprietor, is usually on hand greeting dining guests as did his grandfather, Jimmy McCluskey, at the old McCluskey’s Steak House in Bellmore, which is now an Applebee’s.
The full breadth of steaks and chops are consistently prepared to your temperature by Executive Chef Carlos Miranda. Our go-to entree is the bone-in ribeye. On a recent visit we paved the way with a crispy Caesar salad and warm shiitake mushrooms over with sautéed spinach.
Our friends opened with Maryland crab cakes served over potatoes with roasted peppers and baked Blue Point oysters. Try Jimmy’s Michael Cohen’s Lobster Salad made with Maine lobster, applewood smoked bacon, chopped lettuce and tomato in a light Thousand Island dressing.
Don’t decide until hearing the evening specials. There is often an elaborate ribeye special that may be served over a potato pancake topped with Gorgonzola. Our friends enjoyed a commanding bone-in filet mignon and the tuna special — pan seared dressed with wasabi sauce, avocado, sautéed spinach and olives. The veal and lamb chops are as big and juicy as you will find. Don’t ignore the seafood entrees.
The wine list is always groomed with excellent choices and fair prices. A waiter shared that while most restaurants charge triple their cost, Jimmy’s wine prices are only double his cost. On our last visit we had a 2010 Chateauneuf-du-Pape for $70 that would have cost $150 elsewhere.
We couldn’t leave without tasting Jimmy’s Deep Dish Hot Brownie Pie with vanilla ice cream.
Jimmy Hays Steakhouse, 4310 Austin Blvd., Island Park, 516 432-5155. Mon.-Thurs. 4- 10 p.m.. Fri.-Sat. 4-11 p.m., Sun. 3-10 p.m. jimmyhayssteakhouse.com.
CHEFS ON THE RUN
Chef Jonathan Scinto, a North Bellmore resident who does private parties (chefjonathans.wixsite.com/jonathanscinto), took first place in Seafood for all of New York State in the Taste of America Challenge, giving him the opportunity to compete at the World Food Championships.
David Ladner recently joined the team at Sandbar (55 Main St.) in Cold Spring Harbor as Chef de Cuisine.
JORDAN LOBSTER FARMS
The Jordan family has been providing Long Island with the tastiest lobsters for nearly 80 years. Keeping the crustaceans in a strikingly clean environment, Jordan Lobster Farms initially was wholesale but later added a lobster bar, then a full-service retail counter before graduating to a full restaurant.
Steve Jordan is a hands-on proprietor. In addition to the outdoor picnic tables to accommodate the exterior window service at the lobster bar, Jordan’s added an indoor dining room and a beautiful patio to dine al fresco when the weather’s nice. Ask for a tour of the lobster tanks, unlike those tanks seen in most restaurants. Each is a huge bin filled with an abundance of live lobsters sorted by size and ready to be shipped to Jordan’s retail store and restaurant customers.
Vera loves the big ones. Not 2 1⁄2 or 3 pounds, but 7- to 10-pound lobsters. Properly cooked, they are the best-tasting lobsters.
Dig in and break up those legs and knuckles. The lobster meat inside is the tastiest. The small ones have juicy meat, but the big ones have chunks of lobster meat that taste even better than the tail.
Four of us recently shared a 10-pounder for under $150, accompanied by cole slaw, fries, and corn on the cob (all included in the price). The price is tough to beat and Jordan’s always has a special on lobsters. Appetizers are not to be missed. The lobster roll is the best we have had. The crispy, tender, fried calamari is done to technical brilliance and served with both homemade tartar and tomato sauces. Broiled scallops, shrimp, seared tuna, salmon – we could go on.
Want to savor the flavor the next day? The retail counter has a full array of fish and seafood and prepared dishes to serve at home.
Jordan Lobster Farms, 1 Pettit Pl., Island Park. 516-992-6690. Everyday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.. jordanlobsterfarms.com.