By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
WHAT I WAS THINKING The year 2000 was almost upon us. It was time to leave angst-ridden contemporary America behind and return to a simpler time, the Colonial era.
BACKGROUND CHECK Food maestro Michael Meehan is a Long Island-centric chef, a local natural resource who has made a name for himself with his innovative cuisine at his two other projects, Sea Cliff's Tupelo Honey and Massapequa's Clearwater. This place is his rendition of neighborhood pub, with good food at fair prices. This is his gift to the multitudes.
CASING THE JOINT Located in a storefront on a busy stretch of Jericho Turnpike, Old Glory is easily passed by. Inside, with dark wood and railings all over the place, everything is very early-American and larger than expected. George Washington could have eaten here. This place would fit in perfectly in Roslyn Village, near the George Washington Manor or perhaps in Stony Brook Village. The ceiling in the front room soars up to the second floor with a skylight revealing a second floor with balconies looking down. George's troops could have enjoyed cigars upstairs. The bar is inviting, and the backroom is perfect for parties. The bathrooms feature inspirational John Philip Sousa marches to get things moving quickly.
WHAT WE ATE The American theme runs through the menu like the Mississippi River. Since I feel it's my duty to try anything that has the name Long Island attached to it, I start with Long Island Seafood Chowder ($3.95), a creamy and tasty assemblage of supposedly East End potatoes, corn and various chunks of fish. Another starter we have to sample is the Rock Shrimp Hash ($7.95). Have to, because I've never seen Johnny Cakes on a menu before. Anachronistically humming the tune "Johnny Yuma was a rebel," I devour the little cornmeal cakes with delicious bits of shrimp hash. The Beef and Black Bean Chili ($4.95), available only at lunch, causes a controversy at our table. The black beans are not cooked to mushiness, so they isolate themselves from the beef. Others at my table are thrown off by this, thinking that the beans should have been cooked longer. I feel that it is an intentional touch by the chef. Pan Crisp Long Island Flounder ($15.95) is lightly fried and perfect. Every Long Islander's favorite menu mainstay, pasta, is done up American style in keeping with the theme: American Tri-Colored Ravioli ($6.95) is available as an appetizer, but the Jambalaya Pasta ($11.95) invokes New Orleans with multi-colored linguini and bits of crawfish, spicy andouille sausage and smoked chicken. Another contribution from that city is the Delta Catfish Po' Boy Sandwich ($10.95). Po' Boy is another American word for hero, grinder or torpedo sandwich. This Po' Boy, though is on a big round Kaiser roll with Cajun remoulade dressinga two-fisted affair. A symbol of America from long ago, once proudly displayed on the nickel, is ground up and on a bun as a Buffalo Burger ($9.95). Like other game burgers, it's lean like sirloin; this version comes with fresh-cut fries and an earthy ketchup. Lucky thing the American bald eagle is still considered endangered by some parties or it could be in a pot pie here.
CAVITY PATROL George Washington may have been our only president who could not tell a lie. But he I think he would've enjoyed the cherry pie ($5)and he had wooden teeth, so what would he care about cavities?
VEGETARIAN ALERT In Colonial times they probably would have burned vegetarians at the stake as witches. So maybe this 21st century thing isn't so bad after all. Try the Grilled Vegetable Grinder ($7.95), which features organic baby greens and tomatoes on the side. A large Tortilla Salad ($9.95) with grilled vegetables and black beans comes with three different salsas. Various salads ($4.95-$6.95) can be ordered with or without cheese.
DAMAGE An appetizer and entrée will cost you $15 to $23. A bartender warns us to escape further damage as we leave when he calls after us, "Take care now, guys, and don't go to the city on New Year's."