It’s exciting to find top caliber new restaurants opening on Long Island. We discovered 1221 at MFP in the elegant Roslyn Hotel. MFP is a nod to My Father’s Place, the recently rebooted legendary music venue in the same hotel.
The chef, Tomoyuki (Tomo) Kobayashi, started working in a kitchen in his native Japan when he was 8 years old. By 16, he was working in a French kitchen in Osaka. He came to the U.S. in 1988, working in kitchens in Philadelphia and New York City with Christian Delouvrier at Lespinasse.
His reputation then grew as he worked with Gabriel Kreuther of The Modern fame and Alain Ducasse at the Essex House. His base of Japanese, French, and American cuisines brought him to become a mentor to Executive Chef Noriyuki Sugie at Asiate at Mandarin Oriental. In 2007, Tomo came to LI and opened Toku Modern Asian Restaurant, his own restaurant on the Miracle Mile, under the Poll Restaurant Group. Two years ago, he became the executive chef for Louie’s Grill in Port Washington.
He is the first Japanese chef to receive the coveted Academic Culinaire de France Diplome. Now patrons can enjoy Tomo’s superb menu at 1221 at MFP.
The atmosphere at 1221 is pretty, and new and clean, neat and pleasant, stylish and subdued, with soft hues and tables spread out. The restaurant seats about 80 plus, with more seating at the bar area. The service is polished and impeccable.
Guests will be seated and given a warm towel before starting the meal. The menu is designed so one can determine in what order the food should be served. A prix-fixe menu is also available. Don’t expect the usual green salad, spaghetti, or hamburger!
The wines are from small producers and brought in by a small import company in New York. The restaurant serves wine by the glass from one of the largest organic wine selections on Long Island.
Tomo marries flavors from purveyors around the world, blending the products from his vendors. The meal started with a gift from the chef of crème fraiche with haricot vert, almond and a peach puree.
Yellowfin tuna crudo had a Japanese influence, served with wasabi avocado mousse, and for a crisp texture, smoked sesame seeds and quinoa, garnished with watercress.
The chicken broth sang with a dumpling of chicken, lemon grass, parsley and fresh herbs, baby bok choy, watercress, and a touch of chilies.
An attractive colorful plate of octopus was served with Peruvian teardrop peppers with an impressive tomato-like taste, distinctive arugula, sweet and sour ponzu, and tarragon aoli.
The black sea bass was pan seared giving it a crisp skin, and served with Savoy cabbage and leeks in a spicy miso broth. The fish and the mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, and greens stood out and were not soggy in the broth. And what a bouquet as it was brought to the table!
The steak bavette, the “butcher’s best kept secret,” is a cut that is an extension of the T-bone and porterhouse on the short loin. Tomo served this with chimichurri sauce and a salad simply dressed with olive oil and salt and pepper.
Dessert was a coconut soup with mango, Japanese peach, candied nuts, sweet beans, and matcha panna cotta and coconut sorbet. The flourless chocolate cake was served with vanilla gelato and garnished with a dehydrated pineapple. Each was a great ending for the palate.
We enjoyed an excellent meal with nuances in the creations which are married with a diversity of cultures and techniques.
1221 at MFP is located at 1221 Old Northern Blvd. in Roslyn. It can be reached at 516-583-9803 or 1221li.com. Open for dinner Tuesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. Appetizers (called One and Two) $11-$22; Entrees (called Three) $21-$42; Prix Fixe $42.50, Happy Hour (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Sunday) $5-$12.
Jeff is a practicing attorney. Vera is a retired schoolteacher. Both love Long Island food and wine and are delighted to share their discoveries with you. Contact them via [email protected].