T BAR Roslyn brings Manhattan to Long Island

T BAR Roslyn brings Manhattan to Long Island
T BAR Roslyn exterior. (Photo by Taylor Herzlich)

Keith Valenti, 48, is bringing Manhattan to Long Island with T BAR Roslyn, a luxury steakhouse located on Old Northern Boulevard.

Though now residing in the city, the restaurateur was raised in Westbury and attended W. T. Clarke High School. His work in restaurants traces back to his childhood.

“I’ve been in the restaurant business since I was probably about 12 years old, so it’s kind of always been there,” said Valenti during an interview at Felice Roslyn. “[And then] it was very convenient while I was playing in a rock and roll band.”

Since opening T BAR Roslyn less than two weeks ago, Valenti’s days have been packed full and each morning starts with a commute to Long Island from Manhattan.

“You know, somebody said to me, ‘Everybody tries to do Manhattan in Long Island and I think you guys actually kinda got it where the vibe is right,’” said Valenti, dressed sharp with long hair and shades. “But it’s not obnoxious or rude. You know, we have a lot of older clientele that we love, so we’re not just catering to the younger crowd. But the vibe is great. To me, that’s the hardest part.”

The vibe, “very sexy” says Valenti, permeates throughout the business, from the valet service at the door — a rarity in Nassau County towns — to the ambient lighting and plush seating inside.

Along with its main dining room, T BAR Roslyn has several private dining rooms available for parties and events. Larger groups can request full or partial restaurant buyouts.

The restaurant is ready for a Long Island summer, offering an upstairs dining room leading to an outside deck and separate upstairs bar.

Much like T BAR Manhattan and T BAR Southampton, the steak bar is a standout at the restaurant, but the menu also offers yellowfin tuna tartare, extra crispy Long Island duck, a superior turkey burger and sushi, to name some of Valenti’s favorites.

The co-owner raves about the restaurant’s cocktail selection: “better than I’ve seen on Long Island at all.”

Valenti and his T BAR partner, Derek Axelrod, previously owned a juice bar in Hoboken together. This past experience explains Valenti’s hands-on care for the bar program, personally making the juices and sugars for the drinks.

And customers are certainly liking the menu.

“It’s been booked out completely,” said Valenti, just nine days after the restaurant’s opening night. “Like, rocketship kind of stuff.”

The restaurant’s success makes sense, considering the popularity of the other T BAR locations. Plus, this isn’t Valenti’s first venture into the restaurant business, having been involved in Brass Swan in Roslyn, which closed last October.

But in a way, T BAR Roslyn is somewhat of a passion project for Valenti and Axelrod.

The restaurant’s original owner, Tony Fortuna, died just two months ago. He was a career restaurateur, helping to run a host of trendy restaurants throughout New York City.

When Fortuna fell ill, Valenti left his job to join T BAR full time.

“Really, it’s Tony’s legacy,” said Valenti. “I think it’s really just about keeping the T BAR name and driving Tony’s legacy, you know, into the future.”

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