is one of the hidden gems of Babylon Village – a bar and a few tables in the Deer Park Avenue windowfront might leave you scratching your head, but a beautiful back dining room and original dining experience will have you returning week after week. Father-son combination Mark Hrisho and Mark Thomas Hrisho have been running the business for just over a month now.
Tell us a little about yourselves.
Mark (M): We both live in Holbrook. I was in retail for over 30 years. I decided to make a career change and went to the French Culinary Institute in Manhattan for their program. From there, the school hired me to work in their restaurant, where I was for three-and-a-half years. My whole goal of going there was to eventually have my own restaurant.
Mark Thomas (MT): My background is actually anthropology and writing, but I am fond of the drink. [laughs] I have a pretty decent palette, so I've assembled a pretty good amount of beer and wine knowledge. The entire wine, beer and cocktail list was created by me.
What makes Nocturne unique or different from other restaurants?
M: We're a seasonal French-style bistro featuring local ingredients and vegetables. We deal with a lot of local vendors in Babylon – our meat and cheese come from the meat market and cheese stores here. We're trying to keep it as local as possible.
MT: A lot of our vendors are local guys – one of our wine representatives lives here in Babylon Village. Everything here is fresh – fish shipments come in almost every other day, vegetables as fresh as we can get them.
M: The menu will change seasonally, especially the fish.
MT: Our wine list is pretty unique for the area, I'd say. We have a lot of wines you won't see – new world wines, some from South Africa and Chile. We support craft local beers – we have Blue Point and Long Ireland on tap. We like to experiment a lot.
M: We usually try to offer one special every day. These "experiments" change daily... we try to provide something extra. We're just trying to keep it fun and exciting here. It'll get boring cooking the same thing every single day.
MT: We just like to keep it interesting.
Where did the name "Nocturne" come from?
MT: That's a funny story actually – we were stuck for a while. I jokingly suggested "Black & Gold," because our family when they lived in Europe were on the borderlands, and the last place they lived was under the Habsburg Empire whose colors were black and yellow. I also mentioned the great painting "Nocturne in Black and Gold" by James Whistler. My mother heard that and said, "Oh, Nocturne! That's a nice name!" We liked it, hated it, liked it again – we finally said we liked it enough to stop worrying about a name and just go with it. It fits because its French and we have a nice night time scenery here.
What's the most unique or popular item on the menu?
MT: That's a tough one... I want to either say our duck breast or striped bass. Part of me even wants to say the pork chops. The striped bass has Yukon potatoes and the steak is easily one of the most popular things here. It's really tough to answer since somethings can change by the day. A lot of people really seem to love our French Onion Soup – people keep coming in asking for it.
Why did you choose Babylon as the home of Nocturne?
MT: We looked at a lot of places outside of Babylon – we looked out east, but that's just too seasonal. A lot of people suggested Babylon. We love the main streets here. It's very much within walking distance of everything else. We love the village – just some of the nicest people you'll ever meet. We wanted to use the local vendors, so it made it easy coming here. If you're going to open a place, it just might as well be here.
Nocturne Restaurant is open Monday through Sunday. Hours are subject to change with summer approaching; please check their website or their for more details.