Since 2000, the Library Café, a sophisticated, yet casual American bar and restaurant, has been a mainstay in the center of Farmingdale. It is one of 19 venues owned and operated by Lessing’s Hospitality, a sixth generation, family owned-and-operated business founded in 1890 and one of the most recognizable names in food, service and catering on Long Island.
The Library Cafe name stems from its location, a renovated 1907 library. Features of the original building still stand with classic mahogany walls and molding, 29-foot ceilings and a full-mirrored bar spanning 25-feet up the wall with a classic library ladder to reach all top shelf liquor. Dining booths and carousel horses separate the 20-seat bar from the downstairs dining room with views of Farmingdale’s Main Street. The restaurant’s logo is also etched throughout the restaurant with casual décor elements such as ceramic ducks and surfboards.
Upon walking in, we were greeted by Dave, one of the managers, who was friendly and personable. After looking at the appetizers, spanning from classics like potato skins and chicken quesadillas, we couldn’t resist trying something new, like the Buffalo Chicken Empanadas, Mini Reubens, and a Main St. Specialty (an entree I just had to try as an appetizer), the Killer Mac and Cheese with BBQ pulled pork (could you have resisted either!?). The Buffalo Chicken Empanadas were crispy on the outside, but bursting with creamy, tangy, spicy flavor on the inside. The Mini Reubens, made with corned beef, swiss cheese, and sauerkraut on rye served with a side of russian and whole grain dressing, were delicious. Toasted bread, tender meat, and just the right amount of sauerkraut made the sandwich blend together without any one component overpowering another. The Killer Mac and Cheese with BBQ Pulled Pork was exactly how it sounds: beyond amazing. Creamy four cheese mac and cheese with smoky, flavorful, melt in your mouth BBQ flavored pork.
There is an entree for everyone here, ranging from soups, chili, salads, sandwiches (from a Tuna Club to a Portabella Mushroom Sandwich), specialties (like Chicken Pot Pie and Fish Tacos), and your choice of Angus Beef, Chicken and Turkey burgers. We chose Prosciutto Wrapped Shrimp, a Roast Beef Melt, and a Bistro Chicken Burger. The Shrimp were served over a bed of wild mushroom risotto with sautéed spinach. The savory prosciutto and juicy shrimp were a wonderful combination, and the creamy risotto with perfectly cooked spinach gave the dish a unique depth. The Roast Beef Melt was thinly sliced, as ordered, and came with just enough cheese to make you appreciate both flavors. The Bistro Chicken Burger was a full chicken breast with arugula, pesto, blue cheese, and applewood smoked bacon. The chicken was juicy, not dry, and the peppery arugula gave a great bite and texture to the creamy blue cheese and smoky bacon. Washed down with bottled, old fashioned, icy cold root beer, it was delicious.
Even though I was full enough to pass on dessert, I couldn’t resist the Cinnamon Bun. The sweet, sticky, warm bun was creamy and bursted with cinnamon flavor. The vanilla ice cream it was topped with gave a refreshingly cool accompanying taste. The perfect end to a fabulous meal.
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. on Sunday, from 11:30 a.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. The bar is open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Current promotions include a full-service, sit-down Sunday Brunch buffet; “Straight Up” Thursdays with steak specials, side dishes and dessert for $21.95 and $8 martinis; “Wine Down Wednesdays” with half-price bottles; “Happy Hour” with half-price drinks; and more. Call 516-752-7678 or click here for more info.
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