Overview: Mosaic is a charming, quaint, eclectic restaurant featuring most cuisines (although mostly European), but re-imagined as never before. Co-chefs and co-owners Jonathan Contes and Tate Morris decide in a flash of inspiration each morning when they wake up what that evening's five course menu will be, balancing their expansive imagination with conservative attention to detail. The patron would be hard-pressed to encounter a more creative, varied, and refreshingly new dining experience anywhere on Long Island, or in Manhattan for that matter. The restaurant lends itself to informal exchanges among those dining as well as between the diners and owners. In other words, this is a fun dining experience – and a wonderful date place.
Decor: Mosaic's interior bares the artistic sensibilities of its inventive owners. The art, pastel understated lime-green wall coloring and refined contours of the bar all seem deliberately placed yet nonchalantly hang together. It is worth walking up to the bar to see just how varied the spirits roam. The patron feels comfortable. Tables are spaced so as to allow for privacy but remain conducive to inducing conversations between tables. (This is consistent with the communal nature of the restaurant, which features "Cook with Jonathan" a few nights a month.) Contes creates a CD for the night to complement the menu – not a song in the bunch that wasn't cool or classy.
Drinks: Mosaic features extremely rare, tasty wines from around the world that Contes and Morris go out of their way carefully to select as matches for the course tastings, each with their distinctive stamp and savory aftertaste. Mosaic has one of the best collections of high-end wines in Long Island. The cocktail selections are no less impressive, such as the "Scotch Bonnet Scotch" (Single Malt Scotch; Dubonnet Mint; Ginger Ale) and the "Yia-Yia" (Ouzo; Triple Sec; Orange Soda).
Appetizers and Entrees: Despite the first rate decor, ambience, bar, and clientele (Mosaic doubles as a place to meet interesting people on Long Island), the food is the reason to go to Mosaic. The owners' goal is to make you have as joyous an eating experience as their cooking experience was. The scallop appetizer – with a texture and tang you'd otherwise have to fly to Peru and order Ceviche to taste – set a sublime stage for a culinary crescendo that was to build. The main dishes featured a beautiful spice-grilled salmon ensconced in blueberry honey mustard, followed by cranberry roast chicken covered in an espresso gravy that absolutely worked, culminated in a perfectly garnished, high-end filet mignon, the main draw of which was the delicious meat itself, were all underlain if not draped in colorful, earthy veggies. The meal was just wonderful.
Desserts: The final course, a survey of decadent delights from dark chocolate sprinkles to various mousses to a cobbler in a cup, burst out of their misleadingly dainty containers in full flavor, as if daring anyone to try not to smile after that cobbler. Impossible.
Service: Impeccable, which is stunning given that the chefs also serve your food. No one left the restaurant without joining the Mosaic mailing list.
Address: 418 N. Country Rd. (Edgewood Ave.) St. James, NY 11780Phone: 631-584-2058