Tula Kitchen

BAY SHORE, N.Y.

This was supposed to be a review of El Besito, a Mexican restaurant in Huntington, N.Y., where they make your guacamole tableside. However, my sister and her friend failed to make reservations, a necessary evil during Huntington Restaurant Week. So, instead of guacamole, we had chickpeas at Tula Kitchen.

Tula serves the vegetarian crowd and their meat-eating friends in Bay Shore on a block littered with bodegas and empty storefronts. The decor is eclectic, in that Arabian Knights meets Pier 1 Imports sort of way. They had no problem squeezing five of us at their largest table when we walked in after 6:30 last night.

The menu, governed by Tula Rules, which state that they strive to use as many organic and natural ingredients as possible. The menu features about a dozen salads, available in small and large portions, as well as a slate of entrees and non-beef burgers.

Most everyone had an appetizer, either as a starter or a meal. The honey-baked Brie featured a generous wedge of cheese, drizzles with honey and served with toast. The PEI mussels came in a wine-tomato broth, but featured a no-no in restaurant fish. One of the served shellfish did not open. How any kitchen allows that to cross it’s threshold into the dining room is beyond me. My sister had the Mediterranean plate for two, a mix of spinach pie, tzatiki, hummus, and Greek salad that looked extremely filling. My grilled vegetable skillet (pictured left) was a blend of broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and onions, drowned in balsamic vinegar, sautéed and served over a bed of field greens with two average-sized pieces of wheat toast topped with melted goat cheese. Jennifer’s lentil soup was described as. More “lentily” than she ever had, but still good.

Every table is served a complimentary order of bean salad–a blend of chickpeas, black beans, herbs, oil and vinegar–with pita toast. Refills are available for $4.

Two of us had the sesame seared tuna (pictured right). Two sashimi grade steaks are served with mashed potatos and grilled asparagus. The waitress asked if I wanted rare. I said I would take it raw. We compromised on black and blue. While nicely flavored, I doubt the sashimi quality, as the fish required quite a bit of cutting with my ill-equipped butter knife to split the fat. The accompanying soy sauce and wasabi cream made a nice accompaniment, but did not take away from the effort required to slice through the fish.

Dinner for five, with two glasses of wine, was $165.

Tula Kitchen is located on E. Main St. In Bay Shore, NY, across from T.J. Finley Public House.

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