100 Best Restaurants on Long Island
It has been a year of many changes, from the national economy to your diet. And Newsday’s annual list of Long Island restaurants reflects the volatility.
More than a quarter of the list is new restaurants. The reasons for the departures ranged from intense competition to dips in quality, retirements to the passing of owners and chefs.
There’s also a new category for 2019: barbecue, because of its extraordinary growth and jump in both worth and value. To make room for barbecue, the less-than-popular Mediterranean category was dropped – though some of its eateries found their way into other ones.
So, these are the Top 100 for this year. Eat here now.
Note: Restaurant menus can change with the season and the chef’s whims; dishes mentioned in these listings may not always be available.
Adam Kopels and Elizabeth Ronzetti are the husband-and-wife team behind this exceptional country-style restaurant, where the Italian-inspired food is a testament to what’s in season. The tasting menu changes weekly in this late-18th century house. Pick your week — or month. The stellar dishes have included baked Peconic Bay scallops in any preparation, including enriching hand-cut conchiglie pasta; seared soft-shell crab with sumac yogurt; handmade rotolo pasta with ricotta and morels; fazzoletti pasta primavera; cod fritter with curry aioli and lamb ragu; fluke crudo with either green nectarine or rhubarb and wild mustard; bluefish crudo with celery lettuce; a lobster-and-pork terrine capped with Champagne foam; roasted striped bass with artichoke ragout; roasted Atlantic halibut with saffron, tomato and baby turnips; braised short rib with cucumber kimchee; and a Painted Hills New York strip steak with grilled heirloom chicories and shallot rings. Memorable desserts: blood-orange semifreddo, with nutty, oniony but mild nigella-seed shortbread; the strawberry-and-rhubarb cobbler, and a peach-and-cherry cobbler, each with vanilla gelato.
Named for a 16th century gourmand Mughal emperor, this upscale northern Indian restaurant was a pioneer on Long Island and, four decades later, still delivers consistent, high-voltage cooking. Sink into regal rooms decorated with extravagant carpets and chandeliers, and ponder tandoori specialties such as chicken tikka marinated in yogurt with garlic, spiced minced lamb or seekh kebab, that is moist, and grilled lamb chops that are neatly charred. Unlike many northern Indian restaurants, it's the vegetables at Akbar that leave a real mark: baingan dahiwala, eggplant in yogurt with onions, and aloo gobi, the union of potatoes and cauliflower, are delectable.
French and New American cooking fuse with flair at Almond, a bistro with an old-fashioned Hamptons vibe of tin ceilings, subway tiles and vintage wallpaper, plus a handsome bar and on-point service. Start with oysters and clams from the raw bar, then segue to dishes cooked by chef -owner Jason Weiner, from saffron risotto with rock shrimp and chorizo to rack of lamb with green garlic hummus, chickpeas cooked with lamb fat, garlic chive oil and sheeps-milk cheese. Much of the produce and fish that pass through Almond’s kitchen are raised or caught on the East End, but their preparations often come with a sense of whimsy, too. Even Almond’s more seemingly straightforward plates, from carrot salad to "le grand" macaroni and cheese — arrive with thoughtful twists, from green harissa to preserved truffles. Finish with chocolate pot de crème.
Jimmy Lian, a Nobu veteran, prepares colorful, flavorful sushi here, as well as inventive riffs on the Asian-fusion theme. Lian works like a diamond cutter for results that are pristine and precise. Recommended: omakase — or the chef's choice of what's best from the market that day — which may include sushi of diverting combinations such as white tuna with salsa verde and fluke with onion salsa. Also look for ceviche-packed fish tacos; the salmon "invincible sandwich;" maguro tuna "invictus;" shrimp shumai. Perennially packed, Arata's staff will subtly discourage lingerers.
Jimmy Lian, a Nobu veteran, prepares colorful, flavorful sushi here, as well as inventive riffs on the Asian-fusion theme. Lian works like a diamond cutter for results that are pristine and precise. Recommended: omakase — or the chef's choice of what's best from the market that day — which may include sushi of diverting combinations such as white tuna with salsa verde and fluke with onion salsa. Also look for ceviche-packed fish tacos; the salmon "invincible sandwich;" maguro tuna "invictus;" shrimp shumai. Perennially packed, Arata's staff will subtly discourage lingerers.
TOP PICK: On an island where Italian cuisine can hew popularly to red sauce, Autentico is eclectic — an intimate dining room that feels like a tea house, with ever-changing dishes from a Sicilian chef, Francesco Pecoraro, that can evoke regional preparations. Two years in, Pecoraro’s pastas are especially polished. They include an excellent spaghetti alla chitarra with clams, peperoncinos and cherry tomatoes; and rich pappardelle alla Bolognese. But Pecoraro also is mindful of special diets, turning out meatless and wheat-less dishes with panache. Both gluten-free and vegetarian diners can find harbor with a starter of crisp panelle, chickpea fritters served with tart, whipped avocado; grain-loving companions can go for charred piadina, an Italian-style flatbread, wrapped around arugula, prosciutto di Parma and melted stracchino cheese. The handwritten menu always lists a few meat entrees, such as a red-wine-braised beef brasato atop polenta. Desserts are mandatory, whether sfingi, the fried Sicilian pastry served with ricotta cream, oranges and pistachios; or pistachio cake topped with fresh berries.
Backyard Barbeque, which opened last year, is the first restaurant venture from Archie Ware, a former Town of Hempstead sanitation worker and backyard barbecuer par excellence. After he retired in August 2017, he "got bored of sitting at home doing nothing." The menu is fairly traditional, with one big exception: The specialty is brisket rubbed with lemon pepper. The simple interior is dominated by a huge mural depicting musical giants of blues and jazz, among them, Ray Charles, Etta James, B.B. King, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Billie Holiday. "I listen to R&B, hip-hop, reggae," Ware said, "but for smoking, it's gotta be the blues."
Before 2015, Nassau's North Shore had never seen a Chinese restaurant like Beijing House. The small, L-shaped dining room looked like scores of others, but the bustling kitchen was putting out seaweed and slow-cooked pork spare-rib bone soup, cold sliced oxtail with chilies and cumin, green bean jelly noodles with cucumber, braised beef noodle soup, stir-fried pork intestine. Local Chinese families showed up in droves and, gradually, curious and adventurous non-Chinese have joined in. While the menu offers Chinese-American classics, don't miss the opportunity to sample such Northern Chinese winners as sautéed lamb with scallion, spicy dan dan noodles, Chinese thin celery with sliced dried tofu or whole fish in hot chili oil.
These sophisticated Mexican siblings boost that country's cuisine to refined but still festive levels, absent sombreros, mariachi bands and bean burritos. At each, guacamole is prepared tableside and spiked with as much heat as you want. Melting chile rellenos are a consistently solid starter, as are tacos delivered in an iron skillet. When you want to get serious, though, Besito obliges, cinching together regional Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes with flair: Duck enchiladas, crab budin (lump crab and shrimp layered between tortillas with salsa, queso and pico de gallo), pan-seared mahi mahi crusted with blue-corn tortillas and slow-cooked ribs with agave and chipotle are among the larger plates, backed by a supporting cast of excellent margaritas and cocktails (try the tangerine highball). Outdoor seating in Huntington and Roslyn lend an al fresco note to dinner. (Other locations at 1516 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn and 399 Montauk Hwy., West Islip.)
Blackbird Kitchen & Cocktails
Food and drink carry equal weight at this gem of a spot on Merrick Road. The bar dominates the front of a cozy dining room, and with good reason: This is the playground of bartender Jonathan Gonzalez, whose house cordials and bitters, riffs on the Old Fashioned, and wildly imaginative cocktails are among the best anywhere. Chef Chris Perrotta picks up where the bar leaves off, plating soul-pampering things such as smoked Gouda gruyeres, roasted chicken with spring vegetables, Jerusalem artichoke puree and tarragon-wine sauce, or seared sea scallops with sugar snap peas, roasted garlic and mint. Perotta is especially deft at making pasta, which finds its way into dishes such as spaghetti cacio e pepe and seasonally stuffed ravioli. The house burger is simple but luxe, and sheathed in Vermont Cheddar cheese.
TOP PICK: The look of this prime steakhouse suggests a bit of Frank Lloyd Wright. And the cuisine often is creative and stylish as well as first-rate. Blackstone is one of three Anthony Scotto restaurants on the Top 10 list of steakhouses. It’s equally recommended for terrific sushi. Consider Blackstone the ultimate, redefined surf-and-turf destination. So, start with the classic nigirizushi, or with bluefin tuna crudo. Try a sushi roll, especially the wagyu beef number with king crab and spicy tuna; or the Vietnam roll, with king crab, lobster, asparagus, avocado, chives, sweet chili sauce, and Sriracha, wrapped in rice paper. All steaks stand out, from the porterhouse for two or four to the bone-in rib-eye, sirloin and filet mignon. And there’s an appealing Kurobuta long-bone pork chop. Seaside: steamed or broiled lobster. Mashed potatoes and creamed spinach on the side. Banana cream pie or cheesecake for dessert.
Bostwick's Chowder House
A sunny afternoon and a table on the patio at Bostwick’s signal summer. You may dine indoors, too, where the décor has the expected marine theme. But alfresco reigns. And plan on a wait to be seated in either area. Although the service sometimes can be brusque and less-that-attentive, the unfussy style and seriousness about seafood will make up for it and lure you more than once. The casual eatery excels with lobster rolls, salad variety or buttered; oyster po’boys; fried oysters with roasted-corn salsa and rémoulade sauce; fish tacos; broiled flounder with lemon-beurre blanc sauce; sea scallops with lobster sauce; and fish and chips made with cod. Steamed lobster with corn on the cob, coleslaw, and drawn butter is summertime, plated. Dependably good are New England clam chowder, corn chowder, steamers, and especially oysters, littlenecks, and cherrystones on the half-shell. The "seafood tower" is pricey, but generous with oysters, clams, a shrimp cocktail, a chilled one-pound lobster, seared tuna and more. Bring your sunglasses.
Bryant & Cooper
The newly renovated Bryant & Cooper, gracing this corner since 1986, anchors the Poll restaurant group. The steaks are served by an experienced staff in a clubby setting, where many diners know what they want before the menu arrives, checking only the blackboard for specials. In season, stone crab claws are obligatory. Anytime, sample the shellfish cocktails, clams oreganata, and the reliably excellent linguine with white clam sauce. The porterhouse for two, three or four is the big cut. Equally recommended are the sirloin, rib steak and filet mignon, plus the chopped sirloin with onions and the lamb chops. You can veer off-course with a hefty chicken parmigiana, veal piccata, and broiled lobster. The Lyonnaise and cottage fried potatoes vie with the baked spud and the mashed ones. Creamed spinach also is a winner. At lunch, the house bacon cheeseburger is a juicy attraction. Key lime and pecan pies top the sweets.
When Hugo Garcia opened his singular Huntington restaurant in 2007, his goal was to introduce Long Island to the cuisine of his native Argentina, from seafood ceviche and plump, golden empanadas to parrillada mixta (mixed, grilled meats). In the ensuing decade, he's also made Café Buenos Aires one of the Island's most dependable spots for classic tapas (tuna-stuffed piquillo peppers, shrimp in garlic sauce, serrano ham with manchego cheese) as well as Spanish and Latin American specialties such as paella and tacos. The spirited restaurant takes in a dining room, a bar and, when it's balmy, outside tables on Wall Street. As the night progresses, watch for impromptu tangos.
Chef-owner Billy Sansone fuels this high-style, aptly named cafe. It’s a comfortable, modern restaurant, good for socializing, business and the points where they meet. Sansone stars with seasonal dishes such as linguine with fava beans, English peas, asparagus, and Corbari tomatoes; and fried zucchini blossoms stuffed with ricotta, mascarpone, and mozzarella. Savor stuffed artichoke crusted with Pecorino Romano cheese and delicious veal meatball sliders. Enjoy his Atlantic halibut with a lemon zest-and-breadcrumb crust, too, as well as marinated and grilled octopus with escarole, ceci and tomatoes. Sansone’s pastas feature paccheri with pork osso buco meat and white beans, mezze rigatoni in a veal-and-sausage Bolognese with peas and warm ricotta, and housemade ricotta-and-spinach ravioli with marinara sauce. The grilled Black Angus sirloin arrives with caramelized onions and new potatoes; herb-crusted rack of lamb with grilled asparagus. Delectable sweets: caramelized banana custard napoleon with ice cream; pear, strawberry, and raisin almond cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream; coconut crème brûleé; flourless chocolate-hazelnut cake with hazelnut gelato and an egg cream shooter.
Cassariano Italian Eatery
Chef Giancarlo DiMaggio and owner David Baez team to create an easygoing, friendly and flavor-packed restaurant that features savory fare seasoned with authenticity. Take a northern tour with beef carpaccio, accented with arugula and Parmesan cheese; or veer to the coast with carpaccio of swordfish dotted with capers, both in a lemon dressing. Try the polenta cake finished with creamy Fontina cheese and the tasty arancini, which improve considerably on standard rice balls. Leading pastas: pappardelle or cavatelli Bolognese, spaghetti carbonara, linguine with seafood, veal-and-ricotta cannelloni, braised-beef ravioli in Marsala sauce and spinach-and-ricotta ravioli in a zesty Gorgonzola sauce, in a diverting dish balanced with poached pear. Fig risotto is the unexpected partner for a roasted duck breast in a Port wine reduction. A panko-and-sundried tomato crust brings added texture and taste to pan-seared halibut while asparagus and lemon sauce complement pan-seared tuna.
The son-father team of Michael and Jim Avino opened Catch Oyster Bar in 2017. And the casual, 30-seater has been a downtown dining destination from the start. Subway tiles, exposed ductwork, models of fishing boats, and a distressed sculpture of a mermaid decorate the compact place, where most customer sit on stools. The obligatory choice, naturally, is oysters, raw or cooked, both east and west coast varieties. The oyster po’boy with Blue Points, the roasted oysters, and the spin on oysters Rockefeller with Parmesan cream rival them. Baked clam "stuffies" with bacon are excellent. So are the ceviche of scallops, vivid bluefin tuna crudo, and tender octopus salad. New England edges Manhattan in the clam-chowder competition. The shrimp-and-chicken jambalaya packs just enough heat; and the South Shore fish stew, with cod, calamari, and shellfish delivers them in a snappy garlic-tomato broth. Buttermilk-fried chicken and the "dockside dog" of kielbasa should satisfy the exclusively carnivorous.
The restaurateur behind several Manhattan spots — Legend 88, Legend 72 and Legend Upper West — presides over this sprawling eatery whose decor is Swiss chalet crossed with Buddhist temple. You can get sushi here, as well as most Chinese-American standards, but Wang is at his best with classic Sichuan dishes such as braised pork belly with leeks (surprisingly lean), cumin lamb (or beef or ribs), cold rabbit with spice ("cold" refers to the numbing presence of Sichuan peppercorns; the chunks of bone-in rabbit with fresh bamboo shoots is served over flame), and a terrific noodle soup with shredded pork and pickled vegetable, a rib-sticking brew with an unexpected sour kick. There are also five types of you-cook-at-the-table hot pots.
This 2018 takeover of the old Jani satisfies every Chinese yen. At Cheng Du, you can still have your egg roll, wonton soup and chicken with broccoli (and even sushi) but the draw here is regional Chinese cuisine, largely Sichuan (Chengdu is the capital of that province). Groove on fresh bamboo shoots or wontons bathed in chili oil and showered with sesame seeds, dry-fried chicken or tea-smoked duck. Or go farther afield with Shanghainese soup dumplings, Taiwanese pork buns, Cantonese salt-and-pepper shrimp. The dining room is roomy and opulent, service is solicitous and fortune cookies still cap every meal.
With her two Clay Ovens, chef-owner Lubna Habibi takes a modern approach to authentic Indian food. Think tandoori chicken wings, pakoras that play on cheese sticks, lamb meatball curry that will remind you of a Scotch egg, a halal chicken taco. Habibi’s latest innovation: the Bombay bowl where you chose your rice (turmeric-tinged, onion pulao or biryani) and top it with your choice of lentils or chickpeas, your choice of meats and relishes. (Other location at 601 Veterans Memorial Hwy., Hauppauge.)
TOP PICK: What an adventure awaits the diner at Coco Palace, the only restaurant on Long Island serving the food of Yunnan (and one of very few in New York). The province is bordered by Sichuan, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam, and you’ll discern all of these influences in dishes that are, by turns, subtle, pungent, herbal and spicy. Jingpo chicken and Old Kunming eggplant are two must-order cold dishes. For pure drama, get the Crossing the Bridge Noodles, here called Yunnan Oriental-style noodles, prepared tableside in a simmering caldron. The kitchen veers, successfully, into more East-West territory with truffled wontons in broth and bacon-wrapped, spiced branzino. Enjoy it all in Coco Palace’s serene dining room and BYOB while wine-beer license is pending.
Coral Tapas and Wine Bar
Spain, once a bastion of time-honored foodways, has become a seat of culinary innovation. You can taste both at Coral while you take in spectacular views of Moriches Bay. The kitchen does right by the classics, from paella to tapas (including patatas bravas, garlic shrimp, croquetas of Iberico ham). But head chef Roberto Leon also ventures into molecular gastronomy, the modernist style pioneered by the great Spanish chef, Ferran Adriáa, which explains the special-effects opener of lush smoked oysters, unveiled from under a cloche, sending out little plumes and sporting both a hint of chorizo and a cloudlet of lemon "air."
It took serious mangoes to open a dosa restaurant less than a quarter-mile up the street from LI’s legendary dosa dispensary House of Dosas, but, since 2016, Dosa World has been giving 20-year-old House of Dosas a run for its money. The titular dosas are griddled crepes made with a rice-lentil batter; they vary in size (large to huge), serving style (folded or rolled) and filling (seemingly limitless combinations of vegetables and seasonings). In southern India, they are a popular street food; here you can sit down to fully enjoy their variety. Also on offer: Indian snacks, rice dishes, curries and breads. Everything is vegetarian.
This authentic Mexican restaurant is the third jewel in a triple crown owned by the Rojas family, who also own Taqueria Mexico and Taqueria Cielito Lindo, both in Riverhead. The décor is no-frills (though possibly more-frills than the others) but colorful, and the food is on point. Tacos, served on homemade tortillas, are exemplary, particularly the campechanos, filled with beef, pork and sausage. Tamales, so often too dense, are light and tender. Meaty mains are consistently fine, as is the pozole, a piquant soup thick with exploded hominy kernels and hunks of braised pork.
F.A.N. Authentic Chinese Cuisine
A little strip mall across the street from Tanger Outlets is not where you’d expect to find a first-rate regional Chinese but F.A.N. upends most expectations. It’s a neat, bright spot whose kitchen is largely Sichuan, with some interlopers from Taiwan, Shanghai and the American suburbs. Don’t miss the pea sprouts in house special soup, a silky symphony flavor-bombed with both salted and smoked duck eggs and little red goji berries, the wontons in chili oil, dry-braised calamari or the shockingly verdant green scallion sauce egg fried rice.
Fortune Wheel planted its flag in 1993 in this unlovely Levittown shopping center. As Long Island’s Chinese restaurant scene has embraced sushi, fusion and Sichuan, it has remained steadfast in its devotion to two Cantonese treasures: dim sum and seafood. The former is available every day, but on weekends you can order it from the rolling cart. As for the latter, you’ll always find superb clams with black bean sauce and stir-fried lobster. For daily specials, check out the fish tanks on your way to your table and order accordingly: live coral shrimp simply steamed, Dungeness crab in a casserole with sticky rice and sausage, fresh water fish with ginger and scallion.
Elegant and traditional, Franina has grown into a remarkable restaurant since it arrived in 1980. Chef-owner Franco Zitoli, his parents, and family have defined Franina. The two dining rooms are handsomely appointed and loaded with regulars. Come for the splashy seafood salad and grilled octopus with white beans. On cooler nights, try the cotechino sausage with lentils or wild boar sausage with cherry peppers and Parmesan polenta. Take the hearty route with a special of tripe with tomatoes and potatoes. Twirl classic pappardelle Bolognese and spoon up orecchiette Norma, in eggplant-and-tomato sauce with a shower of ricotta salata. Turn briefly French with Dover sole meuniere and return to Italy with snapper in herbal tomato broth with baby clams and farro. A spicy cherry-pepper sauce complements the Berkshire pork chop; in another preparation, sauteed apples and fennel gratin do. The mandatory desserts are the cloudlike zabaglione with berries and panna cotta with raspberry sauce.
Pastas are the star of the menu inside this elegant, clubby, comfortable space, where chef Juan X. Pareja’s dishes exude his experience at high-level New York City restaurants. Start with the silky crudo of the day and then move on to peppery, comforting cacio e pepe, finished with mint; squid-ink tonnarelli studded with blue crabmeat, saffron and bottarga; or tagliatelle with spring peas, bacon and pecorino. For the carb-averse, the kitchen turns out an excellent brick chicken or lamb chops. Either way, the staff injects the experience with drama via a long pass in the middle of the dining room where dishes are plated with flourish.
TOP PICK: Impeccable fish imported from Japan anchors the adventurous meals at Ginza, an opulent, imposing, ambitious spot where eye-catching presentation is the order of the day. The fatty and medium-fatty tuna are the top, but don’t overlook Japanese snapper, called madai; baby yellowtail; horse mackerel; live orange clam; or toro tuna tartare. Give a nod to spirited sushi rolls that don’t smother the stellar fish, but highlight it with just enough adornment. If you’re feeling indulgent, the chef’s selection is not to be missed.
Sleek, handsome and behind a bamboo facade, Hana serves up splashily fresh seafood from both Japanese and local fish markets. The multicourse omakase is a showstopper, and chirashi, or scattered sushi on rice, is minimally adorned and gorgeously cut. The chefs source at least three kinds of mackerel: "Blue skin" horse mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and Japanese mackerel; they also slice amberjack, striped bass, and other raw fish to perfection. More warming plates include miso-braised black cod; pork buns; wagyu A5 rib-eye; and a succulent roasted lobster with garlic butter and risotto.
Going strong since 1999, House of Dosas is the Long Island restaurant that popularized the dosa, that manhole-cover-sized rice-lentil crepe that comes stuffed with scores of savory fillings. If you’re overwhelmed with the variety, start with the butter masala dosa, rolled around savory potatoes, and work your way down the list. And don’t neglect the thicker, dinner-plate-sized uttapams, seductively spongy, crisp-bottomed rice-lentil pancakes whose fillings are embedded in the tender top surfaces. Other hits at this vegetarian eatery include bhel puri, a popular street snack made with puffed rice, onion and chili, and idly, steamed little medallions made from rice and lentils.
TOP PICK: A Latin eatery? I Am Nacho Mama redefines that label with cuisine inspired by no fewer than a dozen countries in Europe, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Five members of the Juarez family oversee the place, chief among them paterfamilias Carlos, a Guatemalan native whose Nacho Mama’s food truck took Nassau County by storm a few years back. He’s the chef and visionary behind this buoyant bricks-and-mortar transplant, a whiz at everything from Portuguese picanha to Mexican street corn to Puerto Rican pernil. Juarez’s wood-fired meats come to life in multiple mediums (nachos, tacos, burritos and bowls), but the most exciting moments come when cultures collide, from a Cuban sandwich brightened by Salvadoran curtido and burgers amped up with Argentinean chorizo.
Inlet Seafood is owned by fishermen. They respect the catch, the waters and you. Their second-floor restaurant is waterside, with a heady view of sailboats drifting by at sunset. More important, however, the seafood consistently is a pleasure, plain or fancy, cooked or uncooked. Baked Montauk Pearl oysters, with blue cheese and panko; spiced yellowtail and jalapeño sashimi with yuzu sauce; a spicy lobster and avocado roll wrapped in kombu seaweed paper; tuna tartare; shrimp shumai dumplings; and elegant nigirizushi are super starters. In season, try soft-shell crabs, either sautéed or fried; and pan-seared striped bass. Fluke piccata with mashed potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, olives, and capers; and tempura-style codfish and chips deservedly are mainstays, along with lobster, expertly steamed or broiled. Casually savor the Cajun-seasoned fish tacos and burritos. Linguine with clams is a deftly done version. Grilled sirloin steak with crisp onions and baked potato; and sliced skirt steak Bearnaise with fries will satisfy any diner not lured by seafood. The warm, double-fudge brownie with vanilla ice cream; and the chocolate chip cookies with ice cream, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce are apropos finales.
Insignia Prime Steak & Sushi
The biggest and showiest of Anthony Scotto’s steak-sushi trio, Insignia announces itself with striking design, high-octane socializing, and steaks that make you want to return. As at Scotto’s Blackstone and Rare650, those steaks are rivaled by the seafood, especially sushi. Go for nigirizushi, or the uncooked fish on ovals of vinegared rice, or the pristine sashimi. Then, segue to the colorful rolls, which can go colorfully to extremes. Shellfish cocktails and oysters on the half shell compete. Or pick grilled octopus, jumbo lump crabcake, or a generous salad. The ample Kansas City sirloin leads the selections for one, followed by the bone-in rib-eye, T-bone, and filet mignon. The porterhouse is sized two to four. The hefty alternative is a two-pound steamed lobster, which vies with sea scallops with pistachio-cream risotto and candied orange zest. Black truffle macaroni and cheese suits Insignia. Dessert: blackberry-mascarpone cheesecake and honey-almond gelato baklava.
Polished, dependable and welcoming, Jonathan’s Ristorante immediately makes you feel as though you’ve been eating there for years. The downtown mainstay is a handsome, cozy spot. And chef Tito Onofre’s cooking ensures return visits. Soft polenta with wild mushrooms is a soothing starter, as well as his lentil soup and rice balls with mushrooms. Or you can take another route with refreshing tuna tartare; and a goat-cheese flatbread gone seasonal with asparagus, leeks, mushrooms and crisp pancetta. Stellar pastas include tagliatelle with bay scallops, morels, asparagus and leeks in a bechamel sauce; bucatini Bolognese; linguine with swordfish, capers, olives, and tomato sauce; and linguine with clams. Notable main courses: double-cut pork chops with a maple-balsamic glaze, sirloin steak with green peppercorn sauce, rib-eye steak with salsa verde, chicken with lemon-and-rosemary sauce, branzino with lemon-caper sauce; and, at lunch, crabcake with arugula and fennel salad, and chicken parmigiana. A pine nut and chestnut tart, panna cotta with berries, and gelati and sorbets are apropos finales.
TOP PICK: Kababjees means "Mr. Kebab" in Urdu and, in a cogent encapsulation of Hicksville’s culinary history, the address was once occupied by the original Mr. Sausage. You can’t lose with any of the Pakistani-style kebabs, either served from the skewer or rolled in flatbread. Don’t miss the chicken karahi, an intensely savory — though not terribly spicy — dish that takes its name from the cast-iron pot ("karahi") in which it is cooked. The meat-centric eatery also has a gift for spuds: toofani aloo is a spiral-cut potato, stretched out and deep-fried into a crispy Slinky; aloo naan, an exotic take on the potato knish.
Kingfish Oyster Bar & Restaurant
Chef Tom Schaudel’s newest venture has a name that suits both the cuisine and the restaurateur. His vibrant establishment is situated in The Vanderbilt, a luxury hotel and rental residence. Eat here a couple of times and you’ll want to stick around. The polished, smart, and flavor-packed spot is devoted to "Atlantic Rim," and is a seafood showcase where the day’s catch counts. Apropos starters: oysters, either on the half-shell, grilled with Sriracha mayo, or fried; yellowtail poke; shrimp pad Thai; and an inventive undersea "charcuterie" combo that may include smoked bluefish pate, beet-cured gravlax and sea urchin custard. Segue to pan-roasted cod with Vidalia onion risotto; almond-crusted swordfish; crabcakes with soba noodles and seaweed; yellowtail poke; and the casual pleasures of the oyster po’boy, mini-lobster rolls and the tempura-fried ish-and-chips sandwich. Seafood alternatives: pan-roasted chicken and the bacon cheeseburger. The brown butter-and-fig tart with mascarpone gelato and the passion fruit cheesecake are satisfying finales.
Kyoko and Kikumatsu Mitsumori are the mom and pop who own this old-school Japanese restaurant, one that feels slightly caught in time. Kikumatsu buys much of his own hopping-fresh local fish in Freeport, then expertly slices it with knife skills honed over 40 years. He’s not interested in creating complicated rolls, so your best bets here are the simplest: nigirizushi, sashimi, chirashi. Kyoko is responsible for the cooked menu, including huge homemade gyoza (folded in house, and fried on one side), ramen and donburi, or rice bowls.
Kyma transports you to a reverie in sky-blue and white, a daydream of the Aegean and a hint of Santorini. The daily selection of whole fish ready to be grilled may include fagri, the sweet and meaty Mediterranean pink snapper; red snapper; royal dorado; pompano; and black sea bass. The grilled langoustines and giant tiger shrimp, the Maine lobster and Alaska king crab legs, will be pricey, but they’re excellent. And the skewered swordfish materializes moist and splashily fresh. Precede any of these with a selection of flavorful Greek spreads, zucchini and eggplant chips with tzatziki sauce, zucchini fritters, grilled halloumi cheese, pan-fried graviera cheese, sesame-crusted feta cheese with candied figs, and an exceptional starter of grilled octopus with onions and capers. The watermelon salad with feta and the familiar Greek salad are refreshing. Kyma also prepares some of the best moussaka in Nassau or Suffolk, a superb charcoal-grilled sirloin steak, juicy lamb chops, and a savory lamb shank oven-baked with feta, orzo, and tomato sauce. Desserts matter here, from baklava, galaktoboureko and ekmek, to lush Greek yogurt.
Get in line for some of the brightest, most authentic Mexican flavors in the Hamptons. La Fondita is the most casual member of the East End's Honest Man Restaurant Group (Nick & Toni's, Rowdy Hall, Townline BBQ) but the culinary standards are just as high, as is the celebrity quotient. The restaurant is little more than an enclosed stand with a few counter stools, but there are picnic tables on the lawn and Adirondack chairs around the pond out back. You’ll likely devour soft-corn tacos filled with either shrimp, smoky carne asada, spicy chorizo sausage or fried fish. Great chicken tortilla soup and hearty tortas (Mexican sandwiches) are on offer, too, as are surprisingly good salads, Mexican drinks and desserts.
At this warm, family-run eatery, you can glimpse Sudesh Nawaz (chef, owner and mom) in the kitchen while her children run the dining room. A 2018 transplant from North Bellmore (where it first opened in 2003), Lazzat specializes in the cuisine of the Punjab, in the north of India and you won’t find better tandoori chicken, a Punjabi specialty, on Long Island. Another highlight is the haleem, a sort of meat porridge made with beef, cracked wheat and lentils and garnished with fresh ginger, lemon and jalapeños. Even though Nawaz is from the meat-eating north, the menu offers scores of meatless options, among them aloo gobhi, a clean and fresh stir-fry of spiced, tender cauliflower; and aloo tikki, savory pancakes of mashed potatoes.
Grandeur is the order of the day at Limani, a sprawl of airy, elegant dining rooms surrounding an open kitchen and fresh fish displayed on ice. This Greek estiatorio serves a harvest of seafood, from Kumamoto oysters on the half shell to grilled whole fish. You can start off light, with a chili-laced salmon tartare; or luxe, with either grilled calamari stuffed with feta, manouri, and kefalograviera cheeses or smoky Tunisian octopus, also grilled and drizzled with oil and vinegar. For the main event, whole grilled and perfectly deboned fish such as loup de mer and royal dorado stand out alongside langoustines and skewers of swordfish with grilled peppers and tomatoes. Carnivores will find plenty to savor, too — lamb chops, veal chops, and steaks all see flame here. Limani’s prices can match its splendor, but lunchers and early birds should seek out the fixed-price menus, four courses that might finish with a moist slab of karidopita, or honey-drizzled walnut cake.
What happens when a globe-trotting foie gras magnate opens a restaurant that pays homage to the cuisine of his parents’ homeland, Israel, and then infuses it with North African and Southeast Asian flavors? At Lola, you can taste the results. When owner Michael Ginor is away collecting new ideas, executive chef Lenny Messina turns out dishes such as green eggplant salad with coriander; charred octopus with roasted leeks and hazelnut romesco; fattoush salad with kale, mint and sumac; za'atar-roasted chicken with pomegranate couscous; seared duck breast with toasted farro, braised Swiss chard and spiced jus, and halvah parfait. Sunday brunch is inventive, as is the $55 chef’s tasting — and hummus lovers will find five versions here, including one topped with spiced ground lamb.
This cozy diamond brings idiosyncratic chic, thoughtful cooking and great wines together in the West End of Long Beach. The tight quarters feature a communal table, a few stools at the bar and a handful of tables, all with a view of an open kitchen. It’s casual in the extreme, but chef-owner Alexis Trolf's cooking is both highly refined and imaginative — and you won’t know what’s on the menu until you show up. The dozen-odd small plates change frequently and might include a salad of persimmon, blood orange, Marcona almonds, basil and pomegranate (in the fall), seared scallops with fennel pollen or octopus with smoked paprika and potatoes. Larger dishes — such as a dry-aged rib-eye steak or roast chicken — can easily sate a couple. Finish with excellent housemade dessert, such as apple pie. Cash only.
About 22 diners fit snugly into Lost at Sea, chef-owner Alexis Trolf’s name marine counterpart to his nearby, New American, and equally appealing Lost & Found. The menu at the cash-only eatery is just as tight as the dining room. But the food comes first on the terse menu, especially oysters and clams on the half-shell; Peconic Bay scallops with agrodolce, or a sweet-sour Italianate accent; a rich Arctic char tartare spiked with dill and Dijon mustard; broiled scallops with drawn butter and salsa verde; salmon with horseradish-dill crema; and the crudo, which changes daily. Consider the flaky cod finished with crisp breadcrumbs and lemon-zest sparked sauce; seafood salad with citrus vinaigrette; smoked fish dip with crostini; a peel-and-eat shrimp cocktail; and baked topneck clams. Steak frites with aioli may be the lone consolation for the landlocked customer.
Lucharitos Taqueria & Tequila Bar
Marc LaMaina's rollicking North Fork Mexican joint (and its condensed sibling, Little Lucheritos at 487 Main Rd., in Aquebogue) has settled into its status as a Greenport landmark. Whether you’re bringing the kids for lunch or settling in with a round of margaritas, this is crowd-pleasing fare. The fearsome poses of Mexican wrestlers known as luchadores adorn the walls; on the plates you’ll find more than a dozen tacos (including an ever-changing seasonal fish taco, and a vegan version filled with grilled veggies), as well as burritos, empanadas or any one of seven versions of nachos, including one topped with barbecued local duck.
This smart New American bistro has an informal style, upbeat mood and a seasonal menu from chef Chuck Treadwell. Come for the bouncy-fresh market greens, rock-shrimp tacos or skillet-roasted organic chicken with spaetzle (which seems to grace half the tables) and then return for the MB burger, a rib-eye-brisket-short-rib winner loaded with cheeses and finished with aioli. The bar is a convivial place for solo dining, or imbibing a craft cocktail such as an Old Fashioned made with both bourbon and black-fig vodka, as well as a booze-soaked cherry.
It's easy to miss this tiny jewel box of a Pakistani-Indian restaurant that has grown to be the standard-bearer for the kind of South Asian cuisine one can now demand on Long Island. Opt for a seat instead of takeout in this no-frills spot, the better to appreciate the finesse and flavor of chef-owner Farzana Sohail's cooking. Aromatic rice biryanis come studded with fall-off-the-bone chicken. Tender hunks of bone-in goat arrive bobbing in creamy korma, a complex curry of coconut milk, cashews and almonds. Fragrant vegetables — spinach, eggplant, cauliflower — are a wonderful complement to the meat-centric menu.
Mi Viejito Pueblito
A little hole-in-the-wall it may be, but you won’t find more authentic Mexican on the island. The tacos, burritos and cecina plate are all terrific, part of a menu that rarely disappoints. Owned by Eulogio and Emelia Valerio, originally from the Mexican state of Guerrero, the restaurant is a dream 19 years in the making. That’s how long the Valerio family saved up money — working construction jobs, as Uber drivers, etc — to open an eatery featuring Eulogio’s recipes. Any way you look at it, the results were well worth the wait. If soup is on the menu, order it. Ditto the nachos simple, which are delicious and anything but.
Guy Reuge’s Mirabelle turned the historic Three Village Inn into a four-star dining destination. He has fashioned a repertoire that includes a nine-course tasting menu and a la carte fare, with accents French and New American, Asian and European. Pick at random and enjoy the traveling. Reuge’s vibrant cuisine has taken in a farm-to-table menu, with courses such as chilled asparagus, parsnip and pea soup with chives; and roasted Berkshire pork loin with baby artichokes and red-onion marmalade. He prepares superb charcuterie, from housemade country pate to rillettes, garlic sausage to salumi. Roasted octopus glistens with an orange vinaigrette. Kobe beef sliders: burgers, elevated. Pan-roasted steelhead trout swims in with orzo caponata. Sage-scented gnocchi announce themselves with roasted trumpet mushrooms and parsley pesto. A Berkshire pork chop turns Alsatian with sauerkraut, pork sausage and creamer potatoes. And the duck Mirabelle with seared breast and confit is a classic. Sample artisanal cheeses. But leave room for that almond ginger tart.
The first Long Island location of a fast-casual Indian chain based in New Jersey can be a playful romp through the crispiest, crunchiest and smokiest tart-sour-spicy-sweet snacks and breads you may never have tasted before. Since few of them cost more than $10, misfires aren't painful. Mithaas' menu mines multiple regions — north, south, Mumbai, the border with China (for a raft of Indo-Manchurian dishes) — but doesn't stray from the street-food ethos. Flatbread and crepes reign supreme here, from papery roti, to dosas, to pancake-like uttapam. The cheese uttapam is akin to an Indian quesadilla — melted mozzarella oozing from between sour rice-flour crepes you'll drag through sambar, an earthy lentil curry that comes with many breads.
This sparkling satellite of Flushing's Fu Run specializes in the cuisine of China's Dongbei region (the northeasternmost area that used to be called Manchuria), which is heartier than Cantonese, less incendiary than Sichuan. There are comparably authentic Chinese restaurants on Long Island, but what distinguishes New Fu Run is that it aims to serve diners of all backgrounds: much English is spoken. Recommended: a cold starter of country-style beef shank with cucumber, stew cabbage (sauerkraut) with pork and vermicelli served in a gleaming soup tureen, triple delight vegetables (a salty-sweet stir fry of potatoes, eggplant and red and green peppers) and the signature dish, cumin lamb chop, a rack of lamb ribs that hasn't been seasoned so much as overwhelmed by cumin.
Nick & Toni’s is a star turn, whether you’re eyeballing the celebrities who join the festivities, or enjoying the stellar cuisine of chef Joseph Realmuto. On Saturdays in summer, this is the white-hot table of the Hamptons, as it has been for 30 years. For many of them, the essential pasta has been and still is penne alla vecchia bettola, in a zesty, oven-roasted tomato sauce. More recent winners: chestnut-ricotta mezzaluna with braised short rib and horseradish, and bucatini tossed with Dungeness crab meat, Calabrian chilies and toasted breadcrumbs. Realmuto’s striped bass crudo with salsa verde shines in every way, as does his whole black sea bass from the wood-burning oven. Likewise, swordfish with fairy tale eggplant and fennel puree. Veal chop Milanese with a salad of Sun Gold tomato, corn and arugula is accented with preserved-lemon vinaigrette; the Painted Hills rib-eye steak, with polenta fries and shrimp butter. If you are there when pizzas are served, know that they’re fine. Superb desserts: bombolini, cheesecake profiteroles, ruby peach sorbet.
Hermanto and Lina Jong’s rousing fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine pack Nikkei of Peru in both Port Washington, 55 Shore Rd., and Oyster Bay, 94 South St., almost every night. The Jongs both once worked in the Nobu empire, and some of Nikkei’s 42 seats are at the sushi bar; wait for one for the full experience. Starters such as ceviche and flash-fried kale with Asian pear salsa pave the way to inventive raw fish. The "inspiration" menu pairs silky fish with toppings such as chimichurri and threads of crisp onion, and sashimi tacos come with tomatillo salsa. On the hot side, try the steamed monkfish liver with sweet miso sauce and caviar or braised short ribs with jalapeño salsa. (Other location at 94 South St., Oyster Bay.)
NoCo Kitchen Wine and Cocktails
TOP PICK: Polished and charming, NoCo, which stands for North Country, makes you want to eat every dish on its menu. That means specials, too. The lively establishment is owned by Joseph DeNicola, whose restaurant group includes Ruvo in Greenlawn, Ruvo East in Port Jefferson and La Tavola in Sayville. DeNicola and the group’s executive chef, Anthony D’Amico, offer an eclectic cuisine that takes its inspiration from Italy, France and Asia. Lobster bisque with an ample amount of lobster meat is deeply flavorful, as is the pressure-fried duck leg confit paired with a masa corn waffle and stone-fruit jam. Wine-braised beets with whipped ricotta, toasted pine nuts, grapefruit, mache and more sounds over-orchestrated, but it’s addictive. Sample the harmonious lobster-and-corn cake with tomato-avocado salad; and semolina gnocchi with acorn squash, English peas, chanterelles and pickled shallots. Select the baked clams with chorizo, fennel, tomato and rye breadcrumbs. Creekstone Farms strip steak, seared duck breast and leg confit with chanterelle risotto, and pan-roasted hake with chorizo, clams, corn, and beet greens stand out. All the desserts do, too.
North Fork Table & Inn
Under new chef Brian Wilson, North Fork Table & Inn remains a stellar farm-to-table spot, with gracious style and unfussy, richly satisfying seasonal fare. It’s all served in dining rooms that elegantly combine subtle hues and meticulous presentations. Wilson’s winners include gnocchi with crabmeat hazelnuts finished with lemon-brown butter and pea soup accented with mint, dill, and black-pepper yogurt. He deftly pairs seared foie gras with raw tuna, bringing the duo closer with glazed daikon and radish syrup. Yellowfin tuna tartare is balanced with ponzu sauce. Seared octopus finds savory company with chorizo sausage, chickpeas, Kalamata olives and harissa aioli. A Painted Hills striploin of beef arrives complemented with a Port reduction, wild garlic and a crisp potato cake. Halibut benefits from saffron-infused toasted barley and charred ramp pesto. The house’s lobster roll elevates the summery treat. Strawberry-rhubarb sauce boosts the Catapano Dairy Farm goat cheese soufflé. Claudia Fleming’s desserts continue to star as they did when she and her husband and founding chef, the late Gerry Hayden, unveiled North Fork Table. Obligatory: the chocolate-caramel tart.
Off The Block Kitchen & Meats
TOP PICK: Off The Block breaks the mold in myriad ways: It’s a market, but also a restaurant; it has a cozy dining room, but the best seats in the house are at the counter, overlooking the open kitchen; the steaks are stellar (choose one from a display case, and the chef will sear it as you watch); and ramen carbonara, pulled pork quesadillas and garlicky steamed clams over crostini are all daily options. There is no bar here — instead, the fridges are full of fabulous beer, wine and cider for the grabbing. The all-American burger, two beef patties layered with American cheese, pickled onions, lettuce, tomato, pickles and Thousand Island dressing, is swoonworthy, as are the fries that come alongside.
Old Fields Barbecue
With a carefully considered rustic-industrial interior, traditional menu, and counter service, Old Fields Barbecue is "a combination between Texas and Brooklyn," said David Tunney. The co-owner of Old Fields in Greenlawn and Port Jefferson teamed up with manager Rory Van Nostrand and chef Israel Castro to sample barbecue "from Nashville to Austin." The team decided to keep their menu simple — meats, sides, sauce and bread — and made-to-order at a pickup counter in the back of the dining room. Diners can choose from five sauces as well as a la carte sides that include mac-and-cheese, collard greens, watermelon salad and mashed sweet potatoes — plus Hawaiian rolls and cornbread for sopping up the juices.
Eric Lomando’s seasonal, country-style restaurant immediately wins you over with rich, hearty Italian fare at this cash-or-check-only destination. He serves a fine, fritto misto of seafood and a bracing potato-leek soup on the ever-changing menu, plus a lush duck liver mousse with orange mostarda. Complement them with farro salad with roasted beets and feta cheese. Top pastas: pappardelle Bolognese, lasagna Bolognese, rigatoni all’Amatriciana, cavatelli with pancetta, duck ragu, and kale. Follow these with the braised pork braciola packed with prosciutto and Parmesan cheese or the juicy hanger steak with greens and a potato puree. Go seaside with the diverting roasted hake piccata paired with braised leeks or have a creative surf-and-turf of roasted monkfish with duck confit and mushroom broth. Typically satisfying sweets include warm doughnuts with chocolate sauce, a New York-style cheesecake, pistachio cake with citrus cream and rhubarb and brown butter cake with poached pear and mascarpone, gelati, and sorbets.
Pearl glistens, balancing contemporary flair with the style of a refined, white-tablecloth establishment. Chef Michael Ross’s resume includes Jewel in Melville, Jedediah Hawkins Inn in Jamesport and Fiddleheads in Oyster Bay. His fare starts pristinely with excellent raw oysters, east and west coast varieties. Move on to standout grilled oysters finished with lemon-Sriracha butter. Octopus is boosted by black tahini, chickpeas, olives, as sweet peppers. Go casual with a mini-lobster roll accented with lemon aioli. They vie with lemon-panko fried clams, seared yellowfin tuna with soba-seaweed salad, and the ceviche du jour. Pan-seared Arctic char is a flavorful, colorful choice, paired with soft, purple cauliflower. Fresh linguine in an herbaceous tomato sauce stars lobster, but also basil, mint, and garlic. If for some reason you’re not drawn to the seafood, Ross prepares an exemplary roast chicken. His banana trio, of cake, custard, and brulee; Greek yogurt with local honey, pistachios, and biscotti; and a sundae, with vanilla bean and caramel gelati and chocolate sauce suit Pearl.
At this assertively modern spot, chef Peter Mistretta captures the essence of mostly local and often organic ingredients, with a particular fondness for vegetables at the peak of flavor. Warm Parker House rolls are a staple year-round, but the rest of the menu shifts with the seasons. The chef cures his own organic pork belly — with spices such as fennel and coriander — and then crisps it until the outside crackles for the house bacon, served with a poached egg. Brussels sprouts come with onion confit, tahini and golden raisins, octopus with caracara oranges, chickpeas and black garlic. Frilly capricci pasta is, at least in spring, veiled with a ramps and spinach pesto, and seafood and chops are always on point.
The Peter Luger porterhouse is the paradigm, at the original family-run star in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which has been the epicenter of beef nationwide since 1887. The legend continues at Great Neck offspring, which opened in 1960. Visually, its style is sort of Tudor-like, half-timbered. No weathered bare-wood tables, either. The peerless porterhouse for two, three or four takes precedence over all other main dishes. For a solo steak, cut into the rib-eye. The loin lamb chop and the prime rib mean business, too. The broiled lobster is the primary seafood. On the side, share the German-fried potatoes and creamed spinach; or the zeppelin of a baked potato with sour cream. And at lunch, until 3:45 p.m., you may order the stellar house hamburger. Before beef: shrimp cocktail, crab cocktail, tomatoes and onions, wedge salad, extra-thick bacon. After: cheesecake, Key lime pie, pecan pie with schlag, or the hot fudge sundae.
Piccolo Mondo debuted in 2005. In 2018, chef Steven Del Lima elevated it from a reliable, comfortable eatery to a destination restaurant. It’s a very satisfying union of Italian and New American, with excellent service. Del Lima’s delights include sauteed baby artichokes with whipped goat cheese and mandarin orange jam; braised short-rib meatballs atop Gorgonzola and polenta cakes with a hint of horseradish aioli; and the baked clams you’ve been looking for. His 16-ounce tomahawk veal chop parmigiana is grand; his thick, brined Berkshire pork chops its rival, with cherry-pepper jus. Crisp soft-shell crabs turn tropical with mango — jicama-pea shoot slaw, grilled pineapple, toasted coconut and a coconut-lime vinaigrette. Pan-seared Alaskan halibut is backed by couscous with grilled corn, sweet potato and asparagus. Cinnamon-sugar bombolini ready for a dip in strawberry preserves: an ideal finale.
This waterside oasis of Portuguese-inspired cuisine, especially seafood, is perched on the Hudson Canal with a view of gliding gulls and moored boats. Though this part of town can be seasonal, Pier 95 serves up warm, white-tablecloth-level service year-round. The kitchen offers a rich spin on New England clam chowder and a flavorful caldo verde; savory Portuguese-style cod cakes, with herbaceous tomato sauce, and crabcakes with mustard sauce. The restaurant sails with its main courses, including a frequent special of monkfish medallions with a creamy, toasted almond sauce and exceptional bacalhau, or salt cod, its saline bite delicately restrained. Swordfish with lemon-ginger sauce cues the competition, as do the mariscada of shellfish, paellas, and lobster, either steamed or broiled. The classic Portuguese combination of sautéed pork and clams is a delight.
Preston House & Hotel
When The Preston House opened in Riverhead in 2018, it signaled a new era for fine dining in the sometimes overlooked county seat. The four-story boutique hotel made a splash. And the bright, beachy restaurant on its ground floor, housed inside a 1905 home, quickly rose to the top tier of East End dining. This is the domain of chef Matty Boudreau, who uses bounty from local fishermen, growers and food producers for inventive, seafood-centric dishes: Montauk Pearl oysters served with a punchy daikon mignonette; shimmering tuna tartare on a cloud of whipped avocado; a "Down East-style" chowder studded with local clams. Boudreau is deft with meat, too: He cures, braises and smokes pork belly for the excellent house slab bacon, which is served with tomato jam; and the tender duck confit, two legs’ worth of local bird, is shepherded by kumquat chutney for pops of sweet and sour.
Prime: An American Kitchen & Bar
From its setting to its cuisine, its service to its style, Prime is an 18-karat entry in Gold Coast dining. The waterfront site delivers a delightful harbor view. On a sunny Sunday, the a la carte alfresco brunch is all you’d want. And the well-appointed dining and oyster bar represent the high-end of Long Island eating with great skill and just enough flair. Executive chef James Orlandi’s hits range from caramelized figs with prosciutto, almonds and goat cheese to plump crabcakes with Sriracha aioli; shellfish cocktails and the oyster selection to refreshing sushi rolls and salads. But Prime really gets going with main courses: perfectly steamed or broiled lobster, pan-seared tuna, roasted chicken with morel-cream sauce, pan-roasted duck with a honey-mustard glaze and exceptional steaks and chops. Try the 40-ounce porterhouse for two or the 40-ounce Tellers rib-eye. That rib steak makes reference to Tellers in Islip, a member of the Bohlsen Restaurant Group, as is Prime. The bone-in filet mignon and the dry-aged New York strip steak are terrific, as are the generous veal chop parmigiana and the rosy rack of lamb. The "enhancements" include melted blue cheese, a Parmesan crust and especially butter-poached lobster. Excellent sauces and sides, plus vanilla bean cheesecake and a s'mores sundae for two. You’ll want to linger with an after-dinner drink.
The steak-and-sushi approach reigns at Rare650, a popular spot for socializing as well as business, with a multilevel, modernist design and spirited style. The sushi, sashimi and shellfish cocktails are dewy and flavorful. The solid appetizers take in grilled octopus, braised wagyu short rib, the combo of Berkshire pork belly and sea scallop, a pan-seared crabcake, lobster bisque and a Japanese-seasoned mini-wagyu burger flight sparked with wasabi-ginger mayo. The chopped salad with vegetables and feta and the Caesar salad are snappy starters, too. The porterhouse for two or four in the main steak. But the filet mignon, sirloin, rib-eye and T-bone also will make you a fan. You can double-down with a Gorgonzola cheese crust or with cherry peppers. Atlantic halibut, with a forbidden rice paella, lobster, chorizo and saffron beurre blanc advances the seafood. Lobsters are available, too. Mashed potatoes and creamed spinach are the apropos sides; cheesecake, carrot cake and Key lime pie, the finales.
Rolling Smoke Grill
After four years rolling and smoking around Long Island in their customized barbecue truck, Kerry and Rich Ciota parked long enough to open a restaurant in Lake Ronkonkoma in 2018. The signature item is a Flintstonian "dinosaur rib," a 9-inch length of short rib that is almost indecently tender. Brisket is sliced to order, pork butt and chicken thighs are pulled to order, and ribs are only intermittently available as a special because, Kerry said, "there's only a short window when they are at their best." Sides and desserts, developed by the Ciota's trained-chef son, Adam, 23, are also stellar; don’t miss the cornbread and crème brûleé.
Rothmann’s serves history as well as excellent food. The story begins in 1907. Charles and Franziska Rothmann ran a restaurant that counted former President Theodore Roosevelt as a customer. There have been name and style changes through the years, including a 1970s period when it was Burt Bacharach’s eatery at the East Norwich Inn. Today, the stars include grilled octopus, kung pao calamari, yellowtail-jalapeno, seared foie gras with balsamic-glazed onions and blueberry compote, shellfish cocktails, and both sushi and sashimi. The special sushi rolls are multiflavor mouthfuls, surprisingly harmonious. The leading steaks are the porterhouse for two, three or four; and the "limited reserve" productions, among them the tomahawk rib-eye, bone-in filet mignon, bone-in strip steak, and Kobe strip steak. The Berkshire pork tomahawk chop adds to the festivities. Roasted fingerling potatoes and creamed spinach are the primary sides, along with sauteed onions and hash browns. Cheesecake and banana cream pie are the best desserts.
Ruth's Chris Steak House
The sizzle always is in the steak at Ruth’s Chris. Your 500-degree plate bubbles with butter, nearly continuing to cook the beef when a slice of the rich porterhouse is presented. The Garden City branch of the 100-plus national chain keeps with the approach. Order the first-class porterhouse a degree more rare than usual. Its rivals are the “specialty” 40-ounce tomahawk rib-eye for two, the bone-in filet mignon and New York strip steaks. The T-bone for one and the "petite" filet mignon and rib-eye also are recommended. None really needs the horseradish or blue cheese crust, but the Oscar version with the addition of crabcake, asparagus and Bearnaise sauce has its appeal. The crab stack, a molded appetizer of crab meat, avocado and mango, is refreshing; the shrimp cocktail, four big ones; and the onion soup, the mild sort. On the side: mashed potatoes, creamed spinach. Cheesecake for dessert.
Salumi and sister restaurant Bar Plancha (931 Franklin Ave., Garden City) have a similar ethos of gutsy yet refined small plates, thoughtfully chosen cheeses and cured meats, and eclectic, well-priced wine lists. "Plancha" refers to the Spanish-style flat-top grill that gives a great sear to the sea scallops with green-curry broad beans, yogurt, spiced almonds and Thai basil, or a hulking dry-aged strip steak with roasted marrow. Over at Salumi, the vibe is equally congenial and the small plates hearty and creative, from wild mushrooms baked with cana de cabra cheese or slow-cooked lamb neck with brown-butter croutons, tomato molasses and yogurt. Both kitchens stay open ‘til midnight, except on Sundays and Mondays, when they close at 11 p.m.
The charms of Sandbar are many, from effortless style to handsome design, seasonal New American cuisine to attentive service. It manages to be both refined and homey on the plate. Executive chef Guy Reuge creates the menu, as he does at Mirabelle in Stony Brook. Chickpea fries, stacked like Lincoln Logs, will hook you fast: fragile and crisp outside, creamy within. Charred octopus with salsa verde, potatoes, olives, radicchio, arugula and frisee curls tastefully. Duck tacos turn multinational with daikon, rounds of jalapeño and hoisin sauce. Swordfish with vegetable ratatouille and olive tapenade is a deftly cross-hatched catch. Steelhead trout announces a seasonal presence with grilled ramps and lemon marmalade. Chicken potpie becomes the standard. The tender Berkshire pork chop gets a boost from a fava bean-oyster mushroom ragout, crisp potatoes and pickled mustard seeds; the Long Island duck duo, from Moroccan couscous and a kumquat gastrique. And, yes, consider the Sandbar cheeseburger. And there are those outstanding ricotta doughnuts with creme Anglaise and caramel. Superior sorbets, too.
The popular Indian vegetarian chain opened its first Long Island outpost 2016 in Hicksville with a sleek, modern design that befits a successful chain. With a menu of more than 100 items leaning heavily on south India, it's easy to be overwhelmed. If you are on your own, consider the southern thali meal, a daily selection of about a dozen dishes, including curries, chutneys and pickles. Among the highlights is the dosa, an enormous crepe cooked crisp on one side, porous on the other, that is rolled up or folded crisp-side out. Saravanaa Bhavan makes more than two dozen types of dosas. The stars of the show here are the lacy, bathmat-sized rava dosas, including the onion rava masala dosa, that could change the way you think about Indian food.
No restaurant has a better ocean view than Scarpetta Beach, situated in Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa. The spectacular setting is apropos for the exceptional Italian fare that has contributed to the transformation of the former Gurney’s Inn. In season, snag an alfresco table, take in the waves and the sunset. And order the glistening fluke crudo with blood orange and pomegranate. Finish all the creamy polenta with a truffle-mushroom fricassee. Nibble on beef short ribs with vegetable and farro risotto. Refresh yourself with a chicory salad, with blood orange and crisp Taggiasca olives. The spaghetti with tomato and basil makes the dish seem new; short rib and bone marrow agnolotti with notes of garlic and horseradish, very of the moment. Lardo-wrapped halibut arrives with smoked potato, braised leeks, artichoke, and silky Blue Foot mushrooms; red snapper with caramelized shallots, cauliflower and grated gray mullet roe. The juicy, roasted organic chicken is enriched with herbed spaetzle and apricot mostarda. Limoncello semifreddo, creme fraiche cheesecake with mango compote and pineapple-tarragon granita, and coconut panna cotta typify the sweets.
Despite its Italian name, which means always hungry, John and Chris Cavallo’s six-year-old restaurant is dedicated to the American art of barbecue, which scores winning marks across the board. The brothers take an old-school approach to their smoked meats, but their extensive sandwich menu is more suited to the tastes of millennial food Instagrammers. Sandwiches, piled high between two slices of double-thick "Texas toast," range from simple brisket or grilled chicken to combos designed for maximum likes, such as the Clogs, a gooey pileup of brisket, bacon, fried chicken cutlets, barbecue sauce and melted mozzarella.
Inside this jewel box of a Japanese bistro, raw fish is only one facet of a menu that plumbs many corners, from noodles to hot and chilled snacks known as izakaya, as well as thoughtfully chosen sakes. Really fresh nigiri sushi and sashimi are the main draw, though, even if there are no seats at the sushi bar. Unusual cuts flown in once per week, and listed on a chalkboard, might include ira, a rich, chewy tuskfish, or itoyori dai, a buttery sea bream. The $68 omakase platter delivers heaps of briny goodies, from custardlike uni to velvety mackerel and a giant fried prawn head whose insides you should absolutely scoop out. If you tire of sea creatures, segue to creamy mentai udon, slathered in butter and mayo and laced with cod roe (mentaiku), a comfort-food daydream made real.
The term "farm-to-table" gets thrown around by a lot of restaurateurs, but Tom Colicchio, the superstar restaurateur and head judge of Bravo TV’s "Top Chef," walks the walk. When the Mattituck homeowner opened Small Batch adjacent to the Roosevelt Field mall, he chose to focus on local vegetables, meat and fish, some of it from the East End, as well as wines from Bedell and Paumanok, beer from Barrier Brewing, and locally distilled spirits. The sleek-but-warm modern farmhouse interior has two sides — a comfy yet polished bar-lounge and an expansive dining room with a view of the open kitchen. There, chef de cuisine Tommy Chang, a veteran of Colicchio’s organization in Manhattan, turns out impeccably presented plates such as grilled lamb sausage with kale, broccoli rabe and Calabrian chiles; honeynut squash agnolotti with brown butter and sage; and monkfish "osso bucco" with roasted tomatoes and olives. The Wagyu burger is a showstopper.
Manny Voumvourakis' yearslong transition from derivatives trader to pitmaster ended in November when he opened the spiffy Smok-haus in Garden City. The menu features brisket, pulled pork, baby back ribs and spareribs as well as a gyro-esque pulled beef and lamb combo that honors the owner's Greek heritage, and a smoked Italian porchetta that honors his wife's. There are also smoked turkey breasts, pulled chicken thighs (with a shawarma-style dry rub) and smoked wings that are subsequently fried for maximum appeal. Especially for lunch customers is the "individual meal option" wherein meats are served over rice or salad, in a burrito or pita. Sandwiches, on toasted Hawaiian rolls, come piled high with your choice of meat plus coleslaw and pickled vegetables.
At this one-year-old smokehouse, Peruvian-born Renzo Vargas offers the American pantheon of pulled pork, pork ribs, brisket and beef short ribs — plus pork belly and, as a special, the rolled Italian pork roast called porchetta, smoked and then deep-fried to crisp the skin to chicharron-like levels. But any of these meats benefits from Vargas’ huacatay, a hot sauce made green with black mint. Also on the menu, rotisserie chicken seasoned with oregano, thyme and the Peruvian pepper called aji panca. In the corner of a strip mall off the Hempstead Turnpike service road, Smoked Barn is easy to miss. Don’t.
Arthur Wolf's Smokin' Wolf is the heir to Turtle Crossing, the seminal Long Island barbecue restaurant where he was executive chef. The menu has a Southwestern bent, with guacamole, quesadillas, fish tacos and fajitas rubbing shoulders with pulled pork, ribs, brisket and sausage. Wolf has a jones for fowl: chicken is barbecued, roasted and fried; duck and turkey are smoked. Eat in, eat outside, take out and Smokin’ Wolf will also cater your event.
When the revered Yao’s Diner closed earlier this year, many hearts broke. The no-frills Sichuan restaurant consistently landed among the top 10 Chinese restaurants on Long Island. Fortunately, Spice Workshop picks up where Yao’s left off, with an interior freshly painted cherry red, a more refined vibe and a menu equally strong in fiery Sichuan cuisine. Owned by a former SUNY-Stony Brook student, Spice Workshop cinches together crowd favorites such as excellent steamed dumplings (filled with minced pork) and cold lo mein noodles doused with chili oil and preserved vegetables with seething staples such as mapo tofu and cumin lamb. The sour fish soup, dense with flaky white fish, cabbage and mushrooms, is a queen among soups, and large enough to feed two. BYOB.
Owner Yuling Chou and her partner, chef Xian Chun Du, serve dishes from all over China (as well as some Chinese-American standards), but the focus is on the sophisticated cuisine of Sichuan province, some of which is indeed spicy, but all of which is tasty. The menu is full of the hearty, fiery specialties from that region in China's southwest, among them: hot and spicy fish fillet, beef tendon with carrot and Chengdu-style roast chicken. Sichuan starters include pork belly with sweet chili oil, wontons in chili oil, and spicy, crispy cucumber. From the "authentic noodle" roster: dan dan noodles, crystal noodles with pork intestine and spicy beef noodle soup.
Stone Creek Inn
Christian Mir and Elaine DiGiacomo opened this lovely country restaurant in 1996. It has only gotten better, with itineraries Mediterranean, French and New American, and a mood that balances the vibrant and the serene. Consider Mir’s cauliflower vichyssoise; and potato gnocchi with cherry tomato sauce, basil, and prosciutto. Savor barbecue duck wings and Long Island duck meatballs with an apple cider reduction. Likewise, a duck foie gras terrine, rice balls filled with Fontina cheese. Choose poached oysters with leeks, sevruga caviar, and beurre blanc. Venture vegetarian with a Tuscan farro ragu sparked with pine nuts and basil pesto. Veer Italianate with osso buco and saffron-potato gnocchi. In spring, consider soft shell crabs with lemon-butter sauce, crisp capers and olives. Desserts: opera cake, coconut ice cream lollipops, an affogato with Tahitian vanilla ice cream, orange-almond biscotti, warm doughnuts with caramel-bourbon sauce and the "campfire delight" of warm chocolate cake, caramel ice cream and marshmallow.
Stuey's Smokehouse BBQ
TOP PICK: This takeout spot (with an inviting outdoor patio) has a country chic befitting Locust Valley, with a vaulted ceiling and exposed beams, subway tile counters and a lot of stainless steel. It also boasts the wood smokers and succinct menu of a classic barbecue joint: baby back ribs, pulled pork, brisket, sausage, smoked salmon (this is Long Island, after all) and roast chicken. Sides include sweet potatoes, pit beans, string beans and cornbread. Pitmaster John Zervoulakos would rather sell out than reheat yesterday’s barbecue, so call in your order or come early.
Swingbellys Beachside BBQ
Having weathered the wrath of superstorm Sandy, several personnel changes and the revival of Long Beach’s West End, Swingbellys is swinging harder than ever. Dan Monteforte’s rollicking restaurant starts with the basics — pulled pork, brisket, chicken, ribs — and spins them into dozens of inventive dishes such as the "mac & Pete" (burned ends tossed with macaroni and cheese), the smokehouse cheesesteak sandwich or the smoke-pit tacos. Stop by on a Tuesday night for the terrific fried chicken.
This boldly painted eatery can be tricky to find — the entrance is down an alley — but the hunt will be rewarded with on-point Mexican food from chef Alejandro "Chicki" Ramirez, a native of Oaxaca. Onion-and-cilantro bedecked tacos are made with fresh tortillas, guacamole is lush, and staples such as husk-wrapped tamales, quesadillas, and burritos are augmented by gems such as a fried grouper pombazo (or sandwich), Mexican corn chowder and fresh, crisp churros.
The new star on Long Island's Indian fine dining scene sparks appetites with flavor-packed fare and gracious style. Housed in a modest Wantagh strip mall, Taj has rolled out a red carpet at the front door to show this is not your run-of-the-mill South Asia restaurant. Here, chef Nirmal Gomes prepares traditional Indian dishes, playfully takes an Italian turn (calamari is stir-fried with curry leaves), and brings in a hint of China with gobi Manchurian that translates to addictive cauliflower fritters, deep-fried, then stir-fried with garlic, shallots and peppers in a sweet-spicy sauce.
Taka Yamaguchi offers a lesson in sushi at the bar, where the coveted seats in his namesake restaurant are located. There’s no fussiness, no over-orchestration, no out-of-sync flavors in this modest, strip-mall setting. You immediately know why you’re here. The chef’s choice of sushi is seasonal and whimsical, and his selections might include Spanish mackerel capped with scallion and ginger, marinated mackerel, yellowtail sushi with shiso leaf, fatty tuna, the sweet shrimp called ebi, or rich, pungent uni.
Don't let the word "fusion" in the name fool you: In Tao's case, it means pan-Chinese, not Chinese-American with a side of sushi and pad thai. English-speaking guidance is at a premium here, but persevere and be richly rewarded by a whole leg of cumin-infused lamb that comes to the table a-sizzle, beef tendon shaved so thin it's translucent and buzzy with a touch of numbing Sichuan peppercorns, white fish poached in a green herb broth and, rare on Long Island, Peking duck made on the premises.
Tellers: An American Chophouse
Tellers is situated in a transformed bank building that dates to 1927. The ceiling is high in the dining room and in the kitchen at this dramatically designed restaurant, with its 25-foot vertical windows and superior signature 40-ounce rib-eye steak. You also can splurge contentedly on the 28-day, 16-ounce, dry-aged Akaushi beef wagyu steak. The porterhouse for two and the bone-in filet mignon contribute mightily to Tellers’ appeal, as does the prime rib roast and the steamed lobster. Likewise, the oysters, tuna tartare, duck-fat fries, and lobster bisque. Very good wedge and Caesar salads, too. The five-cheese macaroni and cheese, onion rings, grilled asparagus, sauteed mushrooms, housemade tots, "train wreck" potatoes, and scalloped Parmesan potatoes head the supporting cast. For lunch, the Black Label burger and the butter-poached lobster rolls both shine. Crème brûleé, fudge layer cake, and cheesecake are the significant sweets.
The 1770 House
A local landmark for centuries, The 1770 House joins the best Long Island restaurants under executive chef Michael Rozzi. It’s an elegant, delightful spot, full of history and flavor, with, of course, rooms if you’d like to stay until breakfast, and then hang out at the tavern. Spicy Montauk fluke tartare vies sauteed squid with Calabrian chiles. A chilled sweet pea soup competes with cauliflower bisque enriched with smoked salmon and caviar. Seared Hudson Valley foie gras with pineapple chutney could lead you right into the Mecox Bay Dairy cheese selection. But look for the Berkshire pork rib chop and the braised beef short rib, the Australian lamb chops with asparagus risotto and the New York strip steak with marrow sauce. Scottish salmon with green curry rivals Atlantic cod with marcona almond emulsion and Jerusalem artichokes. At the tavern: meatloaf with potato puree, spinach and roasted garlic sauce; St. Louis-style pork ribs with scallion cornbread; hoisin-roasted duck fried rice; and lamb and chickpea curry. The sweets include a terrific sticky date cake, warm cinnamon doughnuts and a dark chocolate torte.
The Capital Grille
Roosevelt Field hosts the local link in the dependable, well-run national chain. This branch brings in a little Long Island with images of Charles Lindbergh and Jacqueline Kennedy. Overall, the style is clubby and the service accommodating. The essential steak is the bone-in, Kona coffee-rubbed, dry-aged New York strip with shallot butter. It’s followed by the 24-ounce dry-aged porterhouse; a porcini-rubbed, bone-in rib-eye; and the dry-aged strip steak au poivre. Sushi-grade, sesame-seared tuna with gingered rice and the broiled lobster head the seafood. Precede all this with oysters, a crab or shrimp cocktail, New England-style clam chowder, or white Cheddar-and-potato soup. Potatoes au gratin, sauteed spinach, and grilled asparagus are good sides. At lunch, the cheeseburger and lobster-and-crab "burger" deserve your attention, along with the lobster salad. Coconut cream pie is the notable dessert.
The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House
The Jolly Fisherman opened in 1957. It has been owned by three generations of the Scheiner family. Steven Scheiner is the current chef-owner of the very traditional, ever-reliable seafood house that looks onto the Roslyn duck pond. There are some seasonal dishes, such as stone crabs, soft shell crabs and Nantucket Bay scallops. And, yes, you can bite into a tender filet mignon or sirloin steak. But the essentials each week are highlighted by the swordfish steak "extra thick cut" with mustard sauce, sautéed Florida red snapper, Dover sole meunière, broiled or boiled lobster, marinated and seared rare tuna, fried Ipswich clams, fish and chips, oysters and clams on the half-shell, shellfish cocktails, crabcakes with sauce rémoulade, New England-style clam chowder, lobster macaroni and cheese, and, for the landlocked, roast duckling a l’orange. At lunch, try the lobster-salad sandwich. Banana cream pie and chocolate cream pie, cheesecake and rice pudding are the better desserts.
Perched on Great South Bay, The LakeHouse is superior food with a view to match. Matthew and Eileen Connors carried over their elegant cuisine from smaller quarters at Lawrence Lake. Service sometimes seems pressured and the room can get noisy. But the food is first-class. That begins with briny, rich Lucky 13 oysters on the half shell, a terrific New England-inspired littleneck clam chowder, cavatelli with duck, wild mushroom risotto and a sinful rectangle of crisp suckling pig backed by Parmesan polenta, honey-glazed pearl onions and a maple vinaigrette. Then, pick the juicy, roasted Berkshire pork chop flanked by near-candied Brussels sprouts and apple-chestnut hash; crisp-skinned breast of Long Island duck and leg confit with a pomegranate-pistachio glaze; mustard-crusted Scottish salmon; and herb-marinated halibut accompanied by a saffron-orzo play on paella. Pepper-crusted New Zealand venison is spurred by crisp mustard spaetzle, raspberry-beer braised cabbage, parsnip puree, and green peppercorn-Cognac sauce. Ideal lemon tart and cinnamon-sugar doughnuts are top finales.
The Palm at the Huntting Inn
This must be the most countrified, bucolic outpost of The Palm, a steakhouse group with a generally urban membership. The Palm’s first restaurant opened in 1926 and was to be called Parma, after the owners’ hometown. But a clerk misunderstood the name because of their accents. The Palm was born. It’s a classic steakhouse in every way whatever the setting. And it remains one of East Hampton’s toughest reservations. The restaurant includes solid Italian and Italian-American specialties such as baked clams oreganata, veal and chicken parmigiana and veal Marsala. The traditional steakhouse fare begins with shellfish cocktails and adds bacon-wrapped scallops. The prime choices: double-cut New York strip steak, Strauss grass-fed filet mignon, the bone-in rib-eye steak and the double-cut lamb chops. The Palm also prepares outstanding, broiled Nova Scotia lobster that start at four pounds. The crabcakes with jicama slaw and Old Bay aioli also are recommended. Creamed spinach and sauteed spinach are strong rivals, as are the three-cheese potatoes au gratin and whipped potatoes. You’ll be well-prepped for New York-style cheesecake, Key lime pie, and crème brûleé.
TOP PICK: Chef-owner Doug Gulija, a master of seafood, opened this extraordinary spot in 1997. His cuisine is imaginative, meticulous, seasonal, served in a handsome, comfortable setting. Appetizer highlights include pan-seared local calamari with piquillo pepper, preserved lemon, and hummus; ceviche of sea scallops with purple potatoes; fluke sashimi with lemon confit and jalapeño-yuzu emulsion; grilled lobster-and-shrimp sausage with lobster sauce; pumpkin-lobster bisque with butter-poached lobster; lobster-and-corn chowder; spring pea soup with seared scallop, lime "air" and micro pea shoots; and grilled baby asparagus with a lobster-and-morel ragout. Gulija’s main courses show flash and fervor, from the immediate-classic lobster-and-shrimp shepherd’s pie and grilled swordfish loin matched with sweet-sausage meat in carrot-chive broth to grilled local skate wing with roast garlic-le puy lentils and macadamia-crusted mahi mahi with a plantain-chorizo mash; steamed red snapper with a mushroom trio, udon noodles, and ginger-lemongrass broth to a grilled, pasture-fed sirloin with potato-spinach hash. A memorable dessert: devoted to variations on the theme of strawberries.
Tucked away, The Trattoria stands out. Chef-owner Steve Gallagher delivers an extraordinary taste of Italian and Italian-American cuisine via seasonal menus and confident style. It’s cash or check only. Housemade ricotta, sun-dried tomato tapenade and pickled vegetables are fine company for your bread. Carrot-ginger soup with whipped mascarpone and amaretti, pasta e fagioli, tripe parmigiana and baked littlenecks are savory antipasti; cacio e pepe with tagliatelle, bucatini carbonara, spaghetti all’Amatriciana, pappardelle Bolognese and saffron malloreddus with shrimp, tomato and leeks, vivid pastas. The knockout lasagna Bolognese is considered a secondo here. Consider the red-wine brasato with polenta, chicken al mattone with roasted potatoes, veal chop parmigiana, and branzino with chicory-bitter puntarelle and Romanesco broccoli. Gallagher’s black-and-white creme brulee is sensational. Allow, too, for the maple mascarpone cheesecake and warm chocolate cake with vanilla gelato and balsamic-cherry sauce.
You'd think that Port Washington didn't need another sushi bar (three of the town's best, Hana, Nikkei of Peru and Yamaguchi, are already on this list) but Tiga has been mobbed since Day One. Credit cult sushi chefs Roy Kurniawan and Dhani Diastika, formerly of Sea Cliff's late, lamented Musu, who ply their trade in this chic, bustling storefront. The East-meets-West menu features Scottish salmon with truffle vinaigrette, cold-smoked tuna tartare with yuzu zest and fluke carpaccio with chili paste. Rolls are similarly inventive and, on occasion, get caramelized with a torch.
Torigo Japanese Restaurant
Torigo feels like a romantic Japanese bistro, and chef-owner Tony San is almost fanatical about sourcing super-fresh fish for sushi, posting glamour shots of raw fish on his Facebook page. Four kinds of uni, multiple types of mackerel and all of the usual fish suspects — from salmon to sea bream — adorn the sushi menu, which is written on a chalkboard behind the sushi bar. Ease your way there with Torigo’s excellent hot or barely seared snacks, such as isomaki fry — fluke and slivered scallions rolled into seaweed, battered and then lightly fried. It’s akin to a tempura sushi roll, but much more delicate.
The smokiest venue in the Hamptons’ white-hot Honest Man restaurant group (Nick and Toni’s, Rowdy Hall, Coche Comedor and La Fondita) TownLine mingles traditional barbecue with a star-studded clientele. The menu keeps it simple with brisket (sliced or chopped), pulled pork or chicken, chickens and ribs (pork and beef) available by the pound or in various combo platters. Dine indoors in rustic-chic splendor, or take your feed outside and behold some of Long Island’s prettiest farmland.
For more than 30 years, owners Akira and Yasuko Yamaguchi have been serving sushi that is focused and unadorned, and have attracted a devoted following accordingly. Their creations delight purists seeking simplicity and clarity, whether precisely cut fatty tuna, maguro tuna, yellowtail, mackerel and scallops, and just about any sushi or sashimi your host or hostess suggests. The fluke usuzukuri, squid with cod roe, and salmon roe with grated yam are also standouts, and if you’ve ever hankered for lobster katsu, then you’ve found your place.
Interactive Editor: Alison Bernicker | Producer: Joann Vaglica | Design: Matthew Cassella | Development: TC McCarthy Reported by: Peter M. Gianotti, Corin Hirsch, Erica Marcus, Scott Vogel | Editor: Marjorie Robins | Photo Editor: Hillary Raskin | Copy Editors: Martha Guevara, Eileen Fredes, Nirmal Mitra