There are a few foods that really define us as Americans—perfectly done burgers, crispy fries, cold milkshakes and fresh lobster rolls. While finding a burger joint on Long Island is a breeze, finding a place that will also satiate the pescatarian in the group can be a challenge. A place with a menu that accommodates both those tastes often ranges between somewhere you’ll pay a small fortune, or where someone will be yelling about the game in the background the whole time.
But a new Mineola restaurant is changing that, serving up delicious, high-quality food in a beautiful, relaxed environment. The Rex, which opened last month, markets itself as fine food with fast dining, offering diners quintessential American food in an upscale setting.
Jonathan Otto, founder and chairman of MetroCapital Realty which owns the Jericho Turnpike plaza that houses The Rex, as well as Panera Bread, Chipotle Mexican Grill and Luigi’s Pizzeria, describes his latest eatery as a cross between a “French bistro, English pub and American steakhouse.” Featuring a plush red booth running along one wall and high-top wooden tables separating lower tables from the bar, the setting is casual enough to take the kids, but nice enough for a mid-week business lunch. And though it may be billed as a fast casual restaurant, the food is anything but.
The Rex replaces a crowded menu with a less complicated one, offering only three main entrees—their burger, chicken sandwich or lobster roll. For The Rex, less is more, as the eatery serves all three of these in delicious, mouth-watering fashion.
Forget the trip northeast, the lobster rolls at The Rex will satisfy any seafood snob. Flown in from Maine each day, the lobsters are freshly caught 24 hours before they arrive on the plates of hungry diners, who will be mentally thanking these sacrificial crustaceans for being so succulent and delicious. The perfectly grilled rolls overflow with large, juicy pieces of lobster tail, claw and knuckle, and topping it all with warm, melted butter takes the experience to another level.
The Rex’s chicken sandwich stands out from other contenders in the market for its crispiness. The all-natural chicken is brined in buttermilk, salt and spices (and jalapeños if you opt for the spicy version) for 24 hours, before being breaded and cooked in a non-trans fat blended oil. All around, it’s a great sandwich that fills you up without sitting heavy in your stomach.
While the latest trend has been toward customizable burgers, where customers can choose everything from how they want their toppings cooked, the type of exotic game and what type of bread product they want it all served on, The Rex offers a simpler arrangement. While omissions can be accommodated, the basic burger at The Rex is simple—beef, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and a secret sauce. The only optional additions are raw or grilled onions and bacon.
But diners don’t need a list of vegetables, sauces and types of bread to add on—the burger alone is absolutely delicious. Featuring 6.4 ounces of all-natural meat served in two patties, the burgers are simple without compromising on great taste, and will remind the taste buds of In-N-Out burgers. And since you can’t get In-N-Out in New York, going to The Rex is the next best thing.
But of course, you can’t eat just a sandwich; we’re not savages after all. Fries are served thinly sliced and crispy, and can be paired with a choice of four sauces. If you’re with a group, opting for all the sauces—roasted garlic, black truffle, spicy mayo and melted cheese—is definitely worth it. And since you’ve come this far, indulge yourself a little more by adding a milkshake to your order. Spun by hand, the milkshakes use Häagen-Dazs ice cream and come in chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, coffee, cookies and cream or dulce de leche. Topped with housemade whipped cream, the milkshakes were notably delicious. The bar also serves up a modest selection of wine and craft beer.
The Rex offers delicious food and a great ambiance, without being too hard on the wallet. If you’re looking for a classic American meal that’s delicious without being overly complicated, The Rex is sure to please.
The Rex is located at 524 Jericho Turnpike (at Herricks Road) in Mineola. For more information call 516-739-2747 or visit www.the-rex.com.