Main Catch, a fine seafood restaurant, has opened its doors in the former site of Southside Fish & Clams and is ready to serve its diners.
The Commack restaurant is still run by the same ownership, but has put a new focus on their customers. Main Catch is a full-service restaurant featuring seafood, steak and sushi on Jericho Turnpike, where Southside was previously self serve.
"People didn't like the self-serve concept in this area. They didn't want to wait for their food or have to grab their food at the counter," said owner Tony Gambino. "With waiters and waitreses, they can sit down and have a great dining experience.
Southside Fish & Clams closed suddenly early in 2011, putting up word via its website that it would be "temporarily closed for minor interior alterations, to better accommodate our guests."
Those who step inside might be surprised to find the dining room doesn't look radically different. It features dark mahogany woods and a nautical theme, with notable addition of a sushi bar and additional seating to bring the restaurant's capacity to 200 people.
Gambino said many of the restaurant's changes occurred on the back end, behind kitchen doors, as the restaurant prepared to shift from self service to full service.
"We had to restaff everyone, bring in key people. Instead of regular cooks, we brought in new chefs," Gambino said.
Main Catch's executive chef is Mario Coiro, who previously last cooked at Marino’s on the Bay in Port Washington. He is joined by two sushi chefs who have more than 47 years combined experience.
Robert Pence, previously owner of Oppenheimer Meats in Manhattan and a master butcher, will lead the staff of Main Catch as its general manager and have a hand in selecting the dry-aged steaks to appear on the menu.
Main Catch's new menu will have a little bit of something for everyone, according to Gambino. Dishes include grilled swordfish ($27) and prime dry aged rib steak ($34).
Another major change at Main Catch, will be the addition of a wine list as the restaurant will begin serving alcohol. Mixed drinks and bottle service will be available from the bar.
The restaurant is holding a soft opening, accepting dining by reservations only - no walk-ins.
"We want to give everyone a great dining experience with no hiccups," Gambino said. "The worst thing that can happen at a new restaurant is to get slammed, and not meet expectations."