She brought you sweets, and is now taking care of the rest of the meal.
Karen Morel, the brains behind Long Island Instagram sensation My Cookie Dealer, has opened her first restaurant, Réserve in Huntington. Patrons can expect two things: Fine dining and full stomachs.
“I like fine dining, but I don’t like when it’s so fu-fu and the portion is so tiny and you’re still hungry,” Morel said. “I like combining a good portion of food that’s really flavorful.”
Morel and her husband Juan, a professional body builder, launched My Cookie Dealer a few years ago. It has more than 300,000 followers on Instagram and pop-up stores in Riverhead and Deer Park. But Karen wanted more.
“I’ve been looking into the food world for a really long time,” she said. “I didn’t know how it would translate, a cookie to fine dining. Juan has been really supportive of letting me take the lead on this.”
So after searching for restaurant space the last few years, Morel found her spot in Huntington and designed the style herself to give customers a place “they could dress up for.”
The next step was finding the right chef.
“We auditioned chefs in our home in St. James, and the ones who made it through a few interviews, we invited back to our home to cook,” she said. “We must’ve interviewed between 20 and 30 chefs.”
They eventually chose Benjamin Borer, a Long Islander who has worked on Long Island, down South and at Fontainebleau in Miami. Morel describes the food as “new world American,” with influences ranging from Spanish to Asian.
Among her favorite meals Chef Borer makes: the Tuna Tartare, all of the steaks and the Brie and Fig Pizza.
“I even love the beet salad, which I never typically do,” she said, “but I almost feel bad eating it because it looks so good.”
As you might expect, dessert doesn’t disappoint
Located at 326 W. Jericho Turnpike, Réserve officially opened on Feb. 18 and has received great reviews.
And as far as dessert goes, you know there had to be some My Cookie Dealer influence.
“We took our Death By Chocolate cookie and used it like a Molten Lava Cake with ganache on the inside and special gelato,” Morel said.
Unlike her cookies, this dessert doesn’t way a 1/2 pound.
Keeping up with both businesses though can be a lot of mental weight for Morel. Nevertheless, she said there’s a method to the madness.
“It’s so crazy with the cookie business, so we just keep adding on so you don’t really have have time to worry about it,” she said.
Réserve is open every day except Tuesday and doors stay open til 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.