Top Long Island restaurants of 2016: Eat here now
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Your table is set. Newsday’s A-list for dining out, the Top 100 Restaurants on Long Island during the last 12 months, is here.
The past year has been an exciting, volatile, creative, refreshing, topsy-turvy time for restaurants in Nassau and Suffolk — and for their customers, too. With 10 cuisine categories including Italian, Chinese, seafood and steak houses, see which eateries are near you, and which are worth a drive. Just remember to bring an appetite, come to the table – and eat here now.
The cozy, country restaurant of Elizabeth Ronzetti and Adam Kopels takes its inspiration from Italian cuisine. Each week, a four-course, market-driven menu is offered. Choices are few, results are grand. Recommended: bluefish crudo with celery lettuce; local razor clams with fennel ravigote; fried blowfish with chili and mint sauce; white-carrot sformato; grilled lamb meatballs; spaghetti alla chitarra with littleneck clams; cannelloni with goat's milk ricotta, zucchini flowers and summer squash pistou; orecchiette with duck sausage; pan-roasted black sea bass; all desserts.
Reacquaint yourself with Middle Eastern cuisine at this Israeli-Yemenite (glatt kosher) restaurant. Dips and salads are an exciting start, from the first-rate hummus, to a lively rendition of baba ganoush, red cabbage or a smoky eggplant salad. Move on to the herbal falafel or fried chickpea balls. And enjoy that warm laffa that's more memorable than the whole wheat kubaneh. Be sure to consider the baby chicken kebab with a side of couscous or Ahuva's special steak kebab with meat that's seasoned and marinated, grilled and broiled.
French and New American cooking come together with flair at Almond. The décor points to a Hamptons look; Jason Weiner's food, much more. Tin ceiling, subway tiles, vintage wallpaper. Handsome bar, excellent service. Recommended: the raw bar; New England-style clam chowder; steak tartare; Korean-style Berkshire pork chop; hanger steak frites; New York strip steak au poivre; flatiron steak with chimichurri; roast chicken with crushed red bliss potatoes; hamburger; ramen; “le grand” macaroni and cheese; chocolate pot de crème.
In 2015, the gracious, historic structure that anchors Stirling Square (previously Main and North Fork Oyster Co.) got a complete overhaul. American Beech, the breezy, elegant restaurant-inn whose front lawn is dominated by (and whose outdoor bar is built around) a huge beech tree, is as well-suited to an afternoon glass of rosé as a blow-out dinner celebration. Chef Kyle Strong Romeo is equally at home with fish (local black bass with seasonal vegetables, lobster roll on a toasted brioche), fowl (buttermilk fried chicken with spiced honey) and meat (New York strip steak with chive butter and truffled Parmesan fries.
Jimmy Lian, a Nobu veteran, prepares colorful, flavorful sushi here. And he also sends out lively riffs on the Asian-fusion theme. He works like a diamond cutter and the results are suitably pristine and precise. Recommended: omakase, or the chef's choice of what's best from the market that day, which may include eight pieces and diverting combinations such as white tuna with salsa verde and fluke with onion salsa; ceviche-packed fish tacos; the salmon “invincible sandwich”; maguro tuna “invictus”; shrimp shumai.
Artie's South Shore Fish & Grill
Artie Hoerning, fisherman and proprietor, reels you into his ultracasual market, restaurant, and takeout destination. Unpretentious and fresh, this local landmark serves the day's fare with paper plates, plastic utensils, occasional Styrofoam. Everything is fairly priced. Recommended: tuna tartare, lobster roll, fried clams, fried soft-shell crabs, grilled prawns, deep-fried or broiled fluke, fried whiting, sautéed swordfish with blackened butter, Manhattan-style clam chowder, New England-style clam chowder. BYOB and cash only.
This cozy, inviting newcomer sparks dining out downtown. Francesco Pecoraro, who cooked in Emilia-Romagna and Sicily, prepares regional Italian fare. The menu changes weekly. Recommended: cheeses and cured meats with mostarda di Cremona; panelle, or chickpea fritters, with scrambled egg and Grana Padano cheese; anellini pasta baked with eggplant, sausage, and Gorgonzola; spaghetti with tuna sauce and capers; stracchino cheese mousse with honey and caramelized nuts; brioche with gelato.
Younger sister to Salumi in Massapequa, this sliver of a restaurant has a similar menu of gutsy-refined small plates, well-chosen cheeses and cured meats, and a great, well-priced wine list -- which the friendly and knowledgeable staff is happy to walk you through. “Plancha” refers to the Spanish-style flat-top grill that gives a great sear to the sea scallops served with stinging nettle puree and fingerling potato salad, or the flat iron steak on a bed of hazelnut romesco sauce with charred scallion vinaigrette. For dessert: a teacup of melted chocolate and Nutella, and olive-oil drizzled toast to dunk it in.
BBD's – Beers Burgers Desserts
Beers Burgers Desserts in Rocky Point has it going on starting with a state-of-the-art tap system, 28 beers on tap, one cask brew and more than 90 beers by the bottle. Then there's the pedigreed burger, made from beef ground in-house, such as a smoky, 12-ounce wood-and-charcoal-grilled burger on a toasted brioche bun with the restaurant's logo branded into the top. Optional add-ons from American cheese to bacon jam to avocado make for endless variations. Diners with a smaller appetite can order the griddle-cooked quarter-pound burger -- single or double -- topped with “the works” and delivering beefy satisfaction. White Castle fans will opt for a burger steamed over onions. Don't skip the killer desserts, like a banana split, the cinnabomb (a cinnamon bun served with coffee ice cream), overstuffed s'mores and shakes.
Be-Ju Sashimi & Sake Bar
Long Island's only four-star Japanese restaurant, Be-Ju is a remarkable experience. The dining room is tucked into a corner of Jewel restaurant, but the serene style and meticulous sushi from Shigeki Uchiyama and Tom Schaudel are distinctly its own. Recommended: a great omakase; o-toro, or fatty tuna; chu-toro, or medium-fatty tuna; scallops; bluefin tuna with green olive tapenade; steamed monkfish liver with sea urchin and ponzu sauce; tuna tataki with black truffle vinaigrette; shrimp-and-sea-urchin risotto.
No detail is left unscripted in the décor. Self-described literary geeks and owners Ben Freiser and his wife, Heather, reference classic literature throughout the restaurant, from walls adorned with framed beginnings -- the first pages of famous novels -- to the bookcase/secret door to the restrooms. Start with one of more than 30 cocktails on the menu, eight beers on tap and more than 20 bottles and cans. Move on to a snack such as bonchon wings, a delightfully messy starter with soy, honey, garlic and ginger. Want them hot? Ask for Dante's Inferno. The “clam love” is ideal for sharing, spiked with andouille sausage, served with toast to soak up the butter and white-wine elixir. The burger remains a good bet, a house-blend of ground beef dressed with pickles, your choice of cheeses, bacon and a fried egg on brioche. Go for the fries, served on a board, skin-on, properly salty, with crisp ends and soft interiors.
With its diminutive dining room, booths packed with families, Beijing House delivers Chinese dishes from balanced to bold. Begin with Shanghai meatballs and bok choy, followed by tender steamed dumplings filled with pork and chives. Consider a side of Chinese celery with dried tofu, then go big with fish in chili oil, whole snapper in black bean sauce or a savory sauteed lamb with scallions.
Benny DiPietro amiably and intently oversees the dining room of his namesake, traditional Italian restaurant as he has for decades. Of course, regulars abound. Recommended: ricotta-and-pasta-stuffed eggplant alla Benny; beef carpaccio; spiedino alla Romana; mushroom risotto; gnocchi with veal ragu; bucatini con le sarde, or with sardines, wild fennel raisins and pine nuts; pan-seared sea scallops with asparagus risotto; mustard-crusted rack of lamb; house-made cheesecake.
Bigelow's, which has been in business since 1939, is all about the basics, which is to say the primary pieces of equipment on the premises are a grill and a fryolator. You'll eat at a curved counter with stools at a location far removed from the shoreline. But scenery doesn't count. Fried seafood is the unquestioned star and the reason. Ipswich clams, with soft shells and bellies attached, lead the selections. Recommended: fried Ipswich clams, fried whiting, fried smelts, fried oysters, fried calamari, fried scallops. Cash only.
Biscuits & Barbeque
A 1940s vintage railroad-car diner is tucked away in an industrial stretch of Mineola. Inside, with Formica counters and stools bolted to the floor, you'll find the setting for a down-home meal of Southern-inspired cuisine. Slow-smoked chicken wings have great depth of flavor. Country biscuits with andouille stick to the ribs. Jambalaya served over rice delivers a marriage of flavors and packs heat. Smoked turkey turns humble collards into something nearly decadent.
A destination for both business and social dining, Blackstone is the high-end destination along Route 110. It boasts handsome design, with a prairie-style touch, and first-class service to match the food. Recommended: shellfish cocktails; the raw bar; sushi and sashimi; crabcakes; Wagyu beef sliders; the house burger; porterhouse steak for two, three, or four; bone-in rib steak; filet mignon; lamb chops; Kurobuta pork chop with apple-celery root puree; grouper with polenta and eggplant fries; roast chicken; creamed spinach; cheesecake.
While the original Brewology is situated in a strip-mall parking lot in Speonk, this sibling resides in a formerhotel. The tap system that delivers more than 20 craft brews is a focal point, though wine and cocktail cravings are not ignored. The food menu features re-imagined pub standards such as deviled duck eggs with pancetta, dill pickles and smoked paprika; stuffed corn fritters; and entree classics like steak and shrimp with fingerlings. Burgers seed the menu, from angus beef, turkey veggie and a bison patty stuffed with Cheddar and blue cheeses.
Bryant & Cooper
Bryant & Cooper has been a top steakhouse since it opened in 1986. Clubby, traditional, nostalgic, the restaurant also can surprise you. Recommended: shellfish cocktails; stone crab claws in season; raw oysters; linguine with clam sauce; broiled lobster; swordfish any style; chopped sirloin steak with onions; porterhouse steak for two, three, or four; rib steak; sirloin steak; filet mignon; chicken Parmigiana; Lyonnaise potatoes; cottage-fried potatoes; fried zucchini; creamed spinach; Key lime pie; banana cream pie; pecan pie; cheesecake.
Owners Anthony and Daniele Cacioppo met Caci's chef, Marco Pellegrini, in Italy. The trio fashions a meticulous, sparely decorated, market-driven spot. Recommended: sea scallops with Sicilian blood orange sauce and fennel; buffalo mozzarella with heirloom tomatoes and basil sorbet; buffalo-milk ricotta ravioli with leeks, speck and Parmesan cheese; potato gnocchi with pork ragu; grilled red snapper with lemon jam; grilled strip steak with black summer truffles; tiramisu; chestnut gelato.
Long Island's tapas headquarters, reliably excellent for plates small and larger. Lively, crowded, immediately appealing, it's a grazer's oasis for Argentine cuisine and riffs on the cuisine of Spain. Recommended: Galician-style octopus tinted with paprika; seafood ceviche; sauteed clams with chorizo; marinated white anchovies; serrano ham with Manchego cheese and olives; tripe and pork with white beans; calf's liver with sauteed onions and bacon; baked cream of corn and cheese; sesame-crusted tuna carpaccio; Spanish omelet with chorizo; and mixed grill for two.
Billy Sansone's refreshing, stylish take on Italian cuisine is seasoned with New American accents. His popular restaurant just vrooms along. Recommended: marinated and grilled octopus with escarole, ceci, crushed tomatoes; veal meatball sliders; crab-and-shrimp cake with sweet corn salsa; halibut any style; ricotta-potato gnocchi with arugula pesto; paccheri pasta with pork ragu and cannellini beans; mezze-rigatoni with veal sausage Bolognese; baked apple turnover.
Mimmo and Benedetto Gambino's full-flavored restaurant has starred for more than 30 years. The décor may change and some dishes come and go. But it's as consistent as it gets. Recommended: stuffed zucchini blossoms; grilled calamari; grilled octopus salad; orange-and-fennel salad; lasagna Bolognese, pasta con le sarde; lobster risotto; lobster fra diavolo; whole branzino baked in a salt crust; veal chop Milanese; herb-rubbed grilled rib-eye with lemon zest; chicken scarpariello; all desserts.
Chef Wang New Sichuan Cuisine
The restaurateur behind several Manhattan spots -- Legend 88, Legend 72 and Legend Upper West -- Ding Gen Wang steers this bi-level eatery with a cathedral ceiling, Chinese artwork and midcentury modern accents. Yes, you can get sushi here. But Wang is at his best with classic Sichuan dishes, from braised sliced beef or fish with hot chili oil. The braised pork belly, Sichuan style, pairs nicely with leeks. Whether it's cumin lamb, beef or ribs, these dishes are serious.
The transformation of what had been La Marmite for 40-plus years is complete. Gregory Kearns' New American, seasonal cuisine is refreshing, creative, always inviting. The redesigned restaurant, a streamlined union of old and new, is the right stage for the performance. Recommended: scallop crudo; salt cod-and-potato fritters; grilled seafood salad; fresh bratwurst with pickled ramps; pan-seared golden tilefish; wild striped bass with favas, chorizo, and saffron nage; lobster roll with vinegar chips; loin of lamb with chickpeas, merguez, artichoke and mint; chocolate cake.
Dosa World offers dosas, ravi dosas and vegetarian fare from North and South India. A first-order snack of bhel puri is a guilty pleasure, a layering of puffed rice and crispy sev, tamarind and chutney. The pondicherry masala dosa, a giant rice crepe, lends a spice blend with a moderate kick, while the rava dosa with gunpowder chilies -- dry spiced -- delivers steady heat. Rava dosas are made from unfermented batter that creates an especially crispy crepe. Like a regular dosa, it's awfully large, but heavier and square, folded like sheets. Still hungry? Get the South Indian thali with papadum; aviyal, a vegetable dish with coconut and curry leaves; a dish of sauteed vegetables called poriyal; tomato-based rasam soup; and poori, fried bread.
One of the North Fork's most comfortable and dependable venues, First and South emphasizes local produce and wines. Dine inside or out, and try the accurately described “really good burger” or South Street chowder (with haddock, clams, apple-wood bacon and potatoes), and don't pass up the fine, hand-cut fries with house-made ketchup (Heinz available on request) or the salad made with biodynamic greens from KK's The Farm in Southold. Executive chef Scott Leventhal's seasonal supper items might include local pan-seared flounder with kale, mushrooms and barley risotto or pulled-pork pappardelle.
Flour Shoppe Cafe & Bakery
Breakfast as well as breakfast-for-dinner is a draw, courtesy of John Maher, former partner/chef at EAT Gastropub in Oceanside. Tartines hit all the savory notes, like the scrambled Florentine, a generous heap of spinach and eggs laced with the sweetness of caramelized onions and a squiggle of Mornay sauce. Served with a side of fruit, it's an elevated version of diner food -- even as it's served on the school lunch trays turned into plates that are so au courant. Say “yes” to the specials, from a crab chowder or cauliflower Parmesan soup and a grilled cheese, to a chicken potpie that billows from the cast iron like a gossamer hat. And save room for sweets like the Kit Kat croissant served on the weekend.
Fortune Wheel Seafood Restaurant
The family-friendly, no-frills time capsule has been serving Long Island for more than 20 years. Americanized Chinese fare can be had, but the kitchen specializes in the cuisine of Hong Kong, particularly seafood. Past the daytime dim sum menu -- with dishes like sticky rice in lotus leaves, steamed pork buns or turnip cake -- consider clams in black bean sauce, fried or sweet and sour pork chops and bok choy with peanuts
The Zitoli family opened Franina in 1980. The handsome restaurant is at its peak this year, with standout specialties and seamless service. Recommended: cotechino sausage with lentils; tripe with potatoes and tomatoes; seafood salad with lobster, shrimp, and calamari; spaghetti alla carbonara; pappardelle Bolognese; fusilli with meatballs and tomato sauce; lobster-and-shrimp fra diavolo with fettuccine; striped bass oreganata; tiramisu; zabaglione with berries for two.
Both branches of Frank's Steaks add up to fair prices and a good time. They're steakhouses for the whole family, unpretentious and openhanded. The Rockville Centre restaurant, where the Lincoln Inn once reigned, looks more upscale; the original in Jericho, homey. Recommended: crab meat and shrimp cocktails; double-Gorgonzola bread; tomatoes and onions; sirloin burger; bison burger; meat loaf; prime rib; skirt steak; strip steak with melted Stilton cheese; peppercorn rib-eye steak; the summertime “lobster feast.” Other location at 54 Lincoln Ave., Rockville Centre (516-536-1500).
The food at this modest spot can surprise a diner. Curry puffs, made with spiced potatoes, virtually dissolve on the tongue. “Drunken” noodles with chicken simultaneously ignite and soothe the palate. Then, there are cool summer rolls, rice paper encasing shredded vegetables, and noodles spiked with cilantro and drizzled with tamarind sauce. A riot of flavors, textures and temperatures plays into a duck salad with pineapple and peanuts in a subtly spicy lime sauce. A pineapple curry with chicken, ordered spicy hot, juxtaposes the fiery with the fruity.
Perfect fish from the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo highlights the adventure of eating at Ginza, an opulent, imposing, ambitious establishment that invariably comes through. Elegant presentations, attentive service and eye-catching design. Recommended: fatty and medium-fatty tuna; Japanese snapper, or madai; bigeye snapper; baby yellowtail; horse mackerel; striped jack; live orange clam; toro tuna tartare; fluke usuzukuri; spirited sushi rolls that don't overwhelm the stellar fish; all traditional nigrizushi; and the chef's selection from Tsukiji.
Green Tea Restaurant
Green Tea helps the Chinese student community at Stony Brook “remember the taste of China,” stated on the menu and on the website. Pick and choose among regional dishes, from the fisherman-style fish fillet -- fried flounder tossed with a mix of chili peppers, garlic, cilantro, black beans and dried pork -- to the walnut shrimp with mayonnaise, a Cantonese classic. Cumin tofu is an unusual dish worthy of attention: velvety soy cubes dressed in heady spices. Consider the vegetable or seafood mix for a diverse, less spicy dish.
H2O Seafood & Sushi
As the name suggests, sushi has become a staple at H2O. But the dining room, which has décor suggesting both coastal Long Island and New England, is a very dependable spot for cooked seafood, too. Recommended: sushi rolls, New England-style clam chowder, steamed lobster, Maine-style lobster roll, fried oysters, shrimp cocktail, raw bar plateau, flounder amandine, hazelnut-Parmesan crusted swordfish, “everything” crusted tuna, seasonal specialties such as Peconic Bay scallops, stone crab claws, striped bass, soft-shell crabs.
Sleek and handsome behind a bamboo facade Hana marks a dramatic departure from the style of the many restaurants that have opened and closed here. It's an ideal stage for the splashily fresh seafood from the Tsukiji Market and the New Fulton Fish Market. Recommended: the multicourse omakase; chirashi, or scattered sushi, on rice; “blue skin” horse mackerel, Spanish mackerel, and Japanese mackerel; amberjack; striped bass; miso-braised black cod; pork buns; Wagyu A5 rib-eye and striploin; roasted lobster with garlic butter and shellfish risotto.
Both beer and wine make a statement here, with an extensive selection of vino, a handful of beers on tap and nearly a dozen by the bottle. The spotlight is on inventive presentation of familiar dishes like bay scallops tempura and endive salad paired with Gorgonzola cheese and drizzled with a Port wine vinaigrette. Tuna tataki is as recommended as a generous meatball hero, while strozzapretti Bolognese satisfies an inner pasta lover. Take note that it gets crowded, so don't be surprised if it's elbow to elbow at the bar.
With its timbered ceilings and rich leather accents, Hendrick's Tavern looks like a country inn that's been there forever; in fact it dates only from 2012, when George and Gillis Poll transformed the historic but rundown George Washington Manor into a favored watering hole among Roslyn's smart set (with a parking lot to prove it). The sprawling venue -- with multiple dining rooms and bars -- is one of Long Island's loveliest. The food shoots for classic, and scores. Among Mitch SuDock's winners: lobster-truffle mac & cheese, Kobe beef hot dog wrapped in puff pastry, crispy butterflied Cornish hen, steaks, chops, and, yes, spaghetti and meatballs.
This plain-looking vegetarian spot features the bright flavors of Southern India. Rice crepes or dosas are filled with an infinite number of vegetable variations that are slightly sweeter than one would expect. Try the mixed-vegetable uthappam, a thick rice-lentil pancake, and the bhel puri, a street snack of puffed rice with onion, tomato, chili and spices.
Marc Anthony Bynum, twice a winner on Food Network's “Chopped,” has earned stars all over the Island, but his goal was always to open a restaurant in his hometown. Hush Bistro is by far the hottest, coolest venue in Farmingdale, a locavore speak-easy dominated by a long bar behind which mixologists and cooks ply their trade. The menu changes regularly, but you'll be lucky to find foie gras mousse on brioche toast with blackberry, pistachio and duck confit; Berkshire pork chop with sweet potato, baby vegetables and “red eye” demi glaze; the star of the lunch menu is the chicken kimchee burger, with Korean barbecue sauce and a fried egg.
Insignia makes its mark with an opulent, eye-grabbing style suitable for Las Vegas Boulevard, minus gambling. Everything is eminently oversized, from design to food to tab. Recommended: bone-in rib steak; porterhouse steak; filet mignon; lamb chops; pan-roasted halibut; grilled whole branzino; the raw bar; sushi and sashimi; “signature” sushi rolls; carpaccio of tuna, hamachi and salmon; stone crab claws in season; shellfish cocktails; crabcake; Wagyu mini-burger flight; maple-glazed slab bacon; mashed potatoes; mixed berry salad. Same ownership as Blackstone Steakhouse in Melville.
Jackson's features dim lighting and a long bar with a solid wine list, a handful of cocktails and more than a dozen beer taps and bottled brews. But the main activity here is dining. Frickles, wings and sloppy-joe nachos lie among starters at this restaurant serving upscale nostalgia. Turn the pages-long menu to find chicken, burgers and steaks in any way imaginable. You're bound to find that favorite dish you grew up on.
Kyoko and Kikumatsu Mitsumori are the mom and pop who own this old-school Japanese restaurant. Kikumatsu buys much of his own hopping-fresh local fish in Freeport, then expertly slices it with skills honed over 40 years. He's not interested in putting out innovative rolls, and your best bets here are the simplest: nigirizushi, sashimi, chirashi. Kyoko is responsible for the cooked menu, including huge homemade gyoza, ramen and donburi (rice bowls).
The simple pleasures of grilled seafood define Kyma, a delightful restaurant with considerable style, stand-out service, and superb finfish. Recommended: charcoal-grilled whole fish, such as black sea bass, royal dorado, pompano, red snapper, fagri or pink snapper; grilled langoustines; grilled lobster; grilled tiger shrimp; grilled octopus; stuffed calamari; fish soup with grouper; moussaka; grilled Black Angus sirloin steak; grilled haloumi and kefalograviera cheeses; zucchini and eggplant chips; roasted beets; traditional Greek spreads; Greek yogurt and desserts.
Limani also specializes in deftly prepared, Greek-style seafood, familiar Greek dishes, and adds over-the-top opulence that suggests a temple to Poseidon. Recommended: Greek spreads, especially skordalia and taramasalata; grilled whole fagri, red snapper or black sea bass for two; whole Dover sole; stuffed and grilled calamari; grilled langoustines; grilled whole lobster; grilled lamb chops; baklava; Greek yogurt. The restaurant also offers a major brunch, with items ranging from cereal to a generous shellfish bar.
LOL Grill and Kitchen
The name here is a reference to the acronym “laugh out loud,” the online game League of Legends and “a Chinese reference to eating food on skewers,” says Yang Liu, the 26-year-old owner. There are many rewards on a menu of boldly seasoned vegetables, cumin-laced meats, hot pots and skewered foods cooked on the grill -- the best items on the menu. Start with barbecued chives, several in a row, like streamers on the handlebars of a child's bike, bright green, dusted with sesame and cumin. Taiwanese sausage will please a more conservative diner. A little snap of the skin delivers pork seasoned with star anise and Chinese rice wine. The Northern Chinese hot pot is a regional favorite, stocked with braised pork belly, slippery tofu skins, blistered green beans and slivers of eggplant.
Anchoring the West End's burgeoning dining scene, Lost & Found brings a little Brooklyn-style rustic-chic to Long Beach. The tight quarters feature a communal table, half a dozen stools at the bar and a handful of small tables, all with a view of the open kitchen. It's casual in the extreme, but chef-owner Alexis Trolf's cooking is highly refined and imaginative. The dozen-odd small plates change frequently, but look for a perfectly rendered Nicoise salad, and seared scallops with sauce vierge, saba and fennel pollen. The two “large-format” dishes, serving two, are dry-aged rib-eye and a Spanish-spiced roast chicken. Cash only.
Luigi Quarta runs a very personal restaurant, reflecting his emphasis on the market and elevated home cooking. Just go with what he thinks is best today. Not an establishment for younger children. Recommended: blistered hot long peppers; crabcake; octopus with cannellini beans; grilled swordfish with rosemary; linguine with cuttlefish; shrimp-stuffed paccheri; roasted quail with risotto; venison with red wine-and-blueberry sauce; cheesecake; biscotti with vin santo.
If only there were a dozen restaurants on Long Island like Market Bistro. It's a sharp, smart New American bistro with an informal style, upbeat mood and a seasonal menu from chef Chuck Treadwell. Come for the simply elegant market greens and grilled octopus salad, braised-duck pappardelle with wild mushrooms and spring peas, the pan-roasted chicken with spaetzle and thyme jus (which seems to grace half the tables) and the MB burger, a ribeye-brisket-short rib winner with garlic aioli. The bar is a great place for solo dining -- or drinking.
Michael Maroni's quirky, idiosyncratic, high-wire restaurant made national news when the house meatballs beat Bobby Flay's in a televised throwdown. They're very good, but only part of the chef's typical 20-25 course tasting, all presented in a compact dining room full of rock memorabilia. The opening chords of “Layla” may, appropriately, announce your meal. Recommended: lobster bisque; crème fraiche-and-caviar-capped potato chip; grilled cheese with truffle emulsion; shellfish sampler; sushi; Kobe sliders; pastrami egg roll; all pastas; sea bass oreganata; veal Milanese; all desserts.
The smell is seductive at this trim counter-serve spot that's big on takeout. But those who value flavor over frills owe it to themselves to grab a table. At the first bite of the delicate fried turnovers called samosas, you know you're in the hands of pros. Another appetizer, chicken tikka seekh, stars marinated tandoor-roasted chicken thighs -- smoky, crimson, glistening. Seeks kebab, spiced chicken sausages, are also a winning order.
Guy and Maria Reuge's restaurant now emphasizes farm-to-table, but you'll find the French and New American fare that also has kept it among Long Island's best. Mirabelle and Mirabelle Tavern are in the Three Village Inn. Recommended: lobster salad with chilled lobster bisque; local oysters; charcuterie; Kobe beef sliders; the Tavern burger; roasted Berkshire pork loin with red onion marmalade and apple cider gastrique; strip steak with blue cheese-and-potato gratin; the duck Mirabelle; the nine-course tasting menu; all desserts.
Moonstone Modern Asian Cuisine and Bar
This polished restaurant is attentive to details, from just-right lighting, comfortable high-backed chairs and linen-dressed tables. On a vast menu, there's a dish for every palate. Nibble on hoisin-glazed bacon sliders or a steamed dim sum sampler to start. Splurge on lobster dressed in black bean sauce or settle in with something savory and sweet, like pork and chestnuts with wok-sauteed spinach and garlic. Sushi, too.
Morning Rose Cafe
Jump-start your morning with hot chilaquiles, an assemblage of tortillas, salsa verde, queso fresco, avocado, scrambled eggs and a choice of veggies, chicken or pork. Those who prefer a sweet breakfast would like the brioche French toast or the fried banana and Nutella crepes. Turn attention to savory dishes during the afternoon, like the Cuban Reuben mash-up, slow-roasted pork shoulder fried pickles, melted Swiss, Dijon and a garlic sauce on grill-pressed rye. Or veer toward an all-American order with the Southern fried chicken breast with Cheddar cheese, bacon, avocado, tomato, greens and honey mustard on a wrap.
The tasting menu changes nightly at Mosaic, with a five-course market showcase, based on whatever chef-owners Jonathan Contes and Tate Morris want to do. The 30-seat dining room can barely fit their ambitions. Recommended: Bloody Mary gazpacho with celery sorbet and horseradish-poached prawn; cedar-plank grilled ocean trout with feta-pecan baklava; caramelized sea scallops; two-day roasted pork shoulder with blue cheese smashed potatoes and sherry steamed sweet corn; smoked filet mignon with Fontina cheese-potato tart; dark chocolate brownie with pine nut brittle.
The pleasure of Nagashima is its restraint. Makoto Kobayashi's emphasis is on the very fresh fish, flawlessly sliced. Try to get a seat at the sushi bar and witness his artistry up close. Recommended: sushi and sashimi combination platters; chirashi sushi; a la carte yellowtail toro, maguro tuna, fluke, jumbo sweet shrimp, squid, octopus, freshwater eel; yellowtail and scallion roll; salmon tataki with miso-mustard vinaigrette; grilled yellowtail collar; buckwheat noodle soup with seafood and chicken; spicy pork soup.
New Chilli and Curry
Mostly featuring Indian cooking, this casual restaurant serves vegetarian plates, breads, tandoori (clay oven-cooked) entrees and meals prepared with goat, lamb and chicken. Asian-inspired dishes such as Thai chicken curry and Mandarin fish in oyster sauce also are available. Don't overlook the Hakka dishes labeled as such, a mashup cuisine with notes of Indian dishes and Chinese favorites, one of the few places to try them on Long Island.
The hottest reservation of the Hamptons' summer invariably belongs to Nick & Toni's. The artfully countrified restaurant is a magnet for celebrities. But, as it has been for years, the real star is chef Joseph Realmuto and his seasonal winners. Recommended: seared local tuna with zucchini; roasted wild mushrooms; penne alla vecchia bettola, or with spicy oven-roasted tomato sauce; ricotta gnocchi with morels and asparagus; risotto with wild ramps; wood-roasted whole fish; all desserts.
Hermanto and Lina Jong's rousing fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine pack Nikkei of Peru almost every night. The Jongs both have worked in the Nobu empire. Six of the 42 seats are at the sushi bar. Wait for one. Recommended: the “inspiration” menu, with silky fish and perfectly paired toppings, from chimichurri to threads of crisp onion; sashimi tacos with tomatillo salsa; ceviche of shellfish and finfish; traditional sushi and sashimi; seared beef wontons; beef tiradito-style; steamed monkfish liver with sweet miso sauce and caviar; roasted chicken; sliders.
Noah Schwartz's modern spot for seafood and small plates is one of the primary tables in downtown Greenport. Recommended: local oysters, peel-and-eat shrimp, Long Island clam chowder, lobster fritters, Crescent Farm pulled duck with white Cheddar polenta, the crabcake BLT, local fish and chips, five-spice seared yellowfin tuna, filet mignon sliders, Kobe-style beef burgers, crisp “Buffalo” cauliflower, Moroccan-spiced hummus, crab-stuffed deviled egg, warm blackberry-ginger pear crumble.
Off the Block Kitchen & Meats
It's a butcher shop and a restaurant with a very small open kitchen where meats are the stars. Kick off a meal with a dish like the littleneck clam starter, with thin-shaved nubs of pastrami atop shellfish peppered with chives. The pastruben offers a mountain of corned beef and pastrami, along with all the condiments that you'd find on either sandwich, which includes 'kraut, Swiss cheese, arugula and a take on horseradish that's doctored with honey and Dijon. And the burgers, ground in-house, sure are lookers. For a grand gesture, buy a porterhouse at the counter and have it cooked to order at the restaurant. More than 20 bottled craft brews and a handful of wines by the glass are available.
Casual and cacophonous, One Block East features an impressive array of craft brews -- many of them local -- on tap and in bottles, with the selection listed on a giant chalkboard. Among food recommendations: pulled pork empanadas, smoked brisket tacos, fish and chips, or a seasonal sandwich stuffed with lobster or a soft shell crab. Each day offers five brews on tap and 25 by the bottle, as well as nearly a dozen wines by the glass. Be sure to keep an eye on the Facebook page for daily deals, from half-price wine to weekend cocktail specials.
Yes, you can get Cantonese classics and Chinese American dishes at Orient Odyssey -- sibling restaurant to the flagship Orient in Bethpage -- now in a sleek, modern dining room with plenty of light. Consider an array of dumplings to start, followed by seafood pan-fried noodles punctuated with greens. Follow up with savory spare ribs, kissed by char. Among specials, look for “more sophisticated, authentic Chinese food to Long Island,” said owner Tommy Tan. If soft-shell crab is on the menu, be sure to place an order.
Offerings here go beyond the name at this Jewish-style deli (that's not certified kosher). With 24 seats, the place is clean and sparse, with tchotchkes on shelves and walls that add grandma-style warmth. As Abe Ahmed tends to meats, including roast turkey, stuffed derma or kishke, chopped liver and thin-sliced beef tongue, his wife, Annie Ahmed, bakes knishes every morning -- spinach, onion sweet potato and meat varieties -- along with potato pancakes and stuffed cabbage. About that pastrami: thin-shaved and pink, with the animated flavor of the spice rub and a hint of smoke. It's why you're here.
The Brooklyn landmark's suburban offspring, Peter Luger in Great Neck has a Tudor look compared with the Teutonic style in Williamsburg. But the porterhouse is peerless at either one. Both are cash, check or debit card only. Recommended: the porterhouse steak for two, three, or four; rib steak; chopped steak with onions; hamburger; prime rib; loin lamb chops; broiled lobster; shrimp cocktail; crab meat cocktail; bacon by the slice; tomatoes and onions; German-fried potatoes; baked potato; creamed spinach; cheesecake, pecan pie with whipped cream.
Prime: An American Kitchen & Bar
The water view is delightful, as is the outdoor dining, at this big, stylish establishment. Fine service. And as adept with surf as with turf. Recommended: shellfish cocktails; raw oysters; shellfish plateau; crabcakes; gnocchi with Parmesan-white truffle sauce; sushi rolls; flat iron steak with onion rings; “Tellers rib-eye”; bison rib-eye; porterhouse steak for two; New York strip steak; steamed lobster; butter-poached lobster addition; seared yellowfin tuna; pan-seared sea scallops; whipped potatoes; macaroni and cheese; brunch. Same ownership as Tellers: An American Chophouse in Islip.
Red Tiger Dumpling House
Like little purses filled with fragrant broth, handmade soup-dumplings are a go-to, but you won't be disappointed by others listed on the dumpling menu, from the dainty shrimp dumplings to the Kung Fu buns, fat with pork and vegetables. Don't be afraid to branch out among larger dishes from Shanghai, Beijing and Northern China, like the perfectly crisp scallion pancakes, Singapore mei fun or a bold beef noodle soup brightened by bok choy.
The service here is unfailingly friendly and the surroundings casual-chic. For breakfast, choose among omelets, a “new school” egg sandwich (with house-made maple turkey sausage, tomato, Swiss and spinach), French toast and pancakes, while lunch offers a roast-pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and provolone on a semolina roll and a long list of burgers and shakes in flavors such as maple bacon.
Rolling Spring Roll
A handsome dining room in a strip mall defines the second location of this restaurant; it has more seats and interesting beer and wine selections from the bar. Be sure to get the bánh xèo, pronounced boon say-OH, a stuffed crepe that's lacy and crisp, so named for the sizzling of rice batter as it hits the pan. The pho remains a star, the fragrant rice noodle soup introduced to Long Island at the original Farmingdale location. The bánh mi is also a winner, a lively sandwich layered with paté, pork, pickled veggies and herbs stuffed into a crusty baguette.
Except for a brief period when it was Burt Bacharach's, this site has held the Rothmann name since 1907. And it's at its best now, for steak and for seafood. Recommended: onion soup; lobster-and-shrimp bisque; kung pao calamari; grilled octopus; crabcake with chipotle aioli; yellowtail-jalapeno, with Sriracha-cilantro oil and yuzu-soy; broiled or steamed lobster; seared foie gras; Kobe burger; New York strip steak; bone-in rib-eye steak; Wagyu tomahawk steak; Japanese Kobe steak; roasted fingerling potatoes; mashed potatoes; creamed spinach; cheesecake; crème brûlée.
A refreshing combination of the traditional and the contemporary, Salt & Barrel excels as an oyster bar, a restaurant, and gathering place – just what downtown needed. Recommended: all east and west coast oysters; the three shellfish towers; “casino clam toast;” clam chowder with roasted marrow bone; crisp rock shrimp; the Maine lobster roll; the mussel pot; bigeye tuna with fingerling potatoes, broccoli di rape, and smoked paprika aioli; salmon with saffron-fennel puree; chicken with mustard seeds; tarragon biscuits; butterscotch pudding; lemon curd tart.
A South Shore gathering spot for low-key, high-quality dining and quaffing, Salumi is the tapas-and-wine bar that every town needs, but few possess. Beyond the well-chosen “salumi” -- cured meats and cheeses -- the roster of Mediterranean-influenced small plates include jumbo-lump crab-avocado toast with preserved lemon and spicy crème fraîche, and braised pork belly with kimchee, cilantro and sesame mayo on a roll. Both dishes, and many more, feature Salumi's own artisan bread -- which also can be savored drizzled with olive oil and sea salt.
Sapsuckers Hops & Grub
Grab a table for a more intimate dinner or a seat at the bar for good people-watching. Named for an American bird, you'll find straightforward pub grub made with well-sourced ingredients. Sure, there are familiar appetizers like mac-n-cheese and nachos, but the openers share the menu with potato pierogies, peel-and-eat shrimp and pulled pork on potato rolls. Burgers, 'dawgs and chicken breast are dressed up with ingredients or pretzel rolls or brioche. From the barrel-aged to the hops-forward, beers here aren't for the meek. With dozens on the menu, you'll find one to suit you.
Scarpetta Beach made the biggest splash of 2015, turning oceanfront Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa into a major dining destination. Recommended: raw yellowtail with ginger oil; fluke crudo with sunchoke and citrus; fritto misto; spaghetti with tomato and basil; tagliatelle with lobster, asparagus and basil breadcrumbs; duck foie gras ravioli in a Marsala reduction; black cod with caramelized fennel and tomato; halibut with brioche breadcrumb crust; limoncello semifreddo.
Siam Lotus Thai Restaurant
Escape to Thailand at this long-standing Long Island favorite, where homestyle dishes deliver a harmonious marriage of flavors and Thai comfort-food dishes. A layering of flavors characterizes the shrimp hot and sour soup. Duck salad is rife with nuances, as is the sauté of squid, shrimp and scallops with chili sauce, vegetables and basil.
Atsushi Nakagawa opened this modest corner spot with his wife, Francesca, whom he met while they were studying at the same university in Kyoto, Japan. Visitors are here for the destination-worthy ramen, such as the signature selection with a tonkotsu base, a milky-white pork broth that's an elixir of marrow, fat and proteins. It earns flavor with an extra long simmer. Layered with chashu pork -- thin-sliced, marinated pork belly -- atop noodles, the classic is garnished with a soft-boiled egg, fresh ginger and scallions. For a less rich broth, there's the Slurp Smooth, a shoyu-based soy sauce and chicken-based broth, with pork belly swapped for Japanese fried chicken. Among the four broths, there's a miso-based vegan option, too.
Chettinad is a region in the very south of India known for complex and pleasing cuisine, such as vegetable samosas, filled with spiced potatoes and peas, fried and garnished with seasoning salt. Try the Chettinadu chicken curry, chunks of dark meat in gravy with notes of cinnamon, cloves, cumin, fennel, mustard seed. Garlic naan can be perfect.
Southold Fish Market
When Charlie Mainwaring bought it in 2000, he established the market as one of the very best places on Long Island to buy seafood. In 2013, a move to new quarters allowed for a comfortable dining room and picnic tables on the lawn. The menu features all manner of fish and shellfish -- broiled, fried and grilled. Blackboard specials draw on whatever local fishermen deliver. Nothing is fancy, and prices top out at around $20 (for both the excellent lobster roll and grilled swordfish). Among the classic baskets, fried cod and fried Ipswich clams are standouts. Southold Fish Market closes at 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday, and thus is mostly a lunch spot. For dinner, buy some fish to take home and cook.
Sripraphai Thai Restaurant
A go-to for an authentic Thai restaurant, Sripraphai offers interesting, spicy dishes far from the realm of pad Thai and Massaman curry. Check out the catfish papaya salad that's savory, refreshing and spicy with a whisper of fish sauce. Variations on larb offer an enticing blend of ground pork, mint, chili and lime juice. And the sweet sausage salad from the Issan region, served with cucumber, onions, chili and lime, will be your takeaway favorite.
Stone Creek Inn
For 20 years, Stone Creek Inn has excelled with French-Mediterranean cuisine from Christian Mir and Elaine DiGiacomo. The site has hosted a restaurant since 1938. It has never looked better. Recommended: Long Island duck meatballs with apple cider reduction; potato gnocchi with asparagus, peas and pesto; Fontina cheese-stuffed rice balls; roasted chicken with arancini, sautéed rainbow chard, and chili-honey-lavender jus; herb-and-mustard crusted rack of lamb; grilled Berkshire pork chop with polenta, asparagus and apricot-cherry mostarda; porchetta with herb spaetzle; all desserts.
Elegant, refined, full of flowers, Stresa excels under Giorgio Meriggi's direction and Ella Rocca's kitchen. It's the paradigm of traditional style. Recommended: four-bean soup under a pastry crust; swordfish carpaccio; eggplant lasagnette; sautéed soft-shell crabs; artichoke-and-Parmesan risotto; roast duck with rose wine sauce; bucatini alla Norma; sirloin steak alla King, with peppers, onions, mushrooms; chocolate soufflé; Grand Marnier soufflé; biscotti with vin santo.
Swingbellys Beachside BBQ
Fried pickles or tomatoes, rib tips and burnt ends dot the menu for starters at this very good 'cue restaurant serving a fusion of barbecue styles. After a snack, venture into the sandwich options, like the brisket grilled cheese or the pulled pork sandwich. Or go for the smoke pit tacos, whether it's shrimp, fish, pork or chicken -- a value at $4 a pop. Served with a side and cornbread, platters are good for sharing, from baby back or St. Louis ribs to mac 'n' cheese burnt ends. The fried chicken rocks, too -- only available on Tuesday.
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 his modest, strip-mall setting. You immediately know why you're here. Recommended: the chef's choice production, seasonal and whimsical, with likely selections including Spanish mackerel capped with scallion and ginger, marinated mackerel, yellowtail sushi with shiso leaf, fatty tuna, sweet shrimp, salmon skin roll, spicy scallop, sea urchin.
Yes, you'll be offered Sichuan fare at the Halal Chinese spot, but you'll also find dishes from Hong Kong and Northern China. Try the stewed beef with chilies, the dan dan noodles and the shredded potatoes, served hot and sour. The leg of lamb is an ambitious order, layered with caramelized onions, chilies, peanuts and Sichuan peppercorns. Among the most spicy dishes on the menu, Chongqing chicken can be ordered on or off the bone, the former the more authentic option. It's also a good place to visit with a group for one of three family-style options starting at around $55 and up to $175 for a feast. Service is fast and efficient and there's plenty of room for groups, courtesy of a few private rooms that have recently been remodeled.
Tellers: An American Chophouse
The dining room, in a 30-foot ceiling converted bank building, is one of Long Island's most dramatic. The wine cellar is in the old vault. Art deco accents add to the vivid visuals. Recommended: the Tellers “signature” long-bone rib-eye steak; New York strip steak; porterhouse steak for two; filet mignon; pork chop schnitzel; roasted chicken; tuna sashimi; the raw bar; spicy pan-fried lobster; steamed lobster; crabcakes; duck-fat fries; black-peppercorn bacon; wedge salad; grilled asparagus; cheesecake; crème brûlée; fudge layer cake. Same ownership at Prime in Huntington.
The Butcher's Bar & Grill
New to the Top 100, the BBG comfortably fills a niche for seafood as well as steaks, friendly service and modern style. Recommended: colossal shrimp and colossal crab meat cocktails; crabcake rémoulade; grilled octopus with red onion, olive oil and lemon; Greek salad; the house-blend cheeseburger; dry-aged rib-eye steak for two; porterhouse steak for two; filet mignon; Kurobuta pork chop with roasted peppers, potatoes and onions; steamed lobster; grilled swordfish; grilled salmon; baked potato; creamed spinach; the high-rise chocolate cake “tower.”
A reproduction of a red English phone booth guards the entryway of the Massapequa Park gastro pub, signaling the presence of such British pub classics as fish and chips and shepherd's pie. You'll even find chicken tikka masala, with white-meat chicken in a rich, fragrant, lightly spiced sauce plated with warm flatbread and basmati rice. Fish and chips are a beaut, light beer-battered cod, house-made potato chips and a bright tartar sauce. As far as drinks are concerned, go for one of 24 beers on tap -- many from England -- more than 70 bottled, or a refreshing cider.
The Jolly Fisherman & Steak House
The Fisherman has been jolly since 1957. And if you spot one of the early menus, you'll see that, except for the prices, things generally don't change much here. There has been, however, some refurbishing and redecorating. Recommended: oysters on the half-shell, shellfish cocktails, steamers, fried Ipswich clams, sauté ed red snapper, broiled scrod, fish and chips, steamed lobster, in-season Nantucket Bay scallops, stone crab claws, soft-shell crabs, shad; and, just in case, broiled filet mignon, broiled sirloin steak, broiled calf's liver with bacon and onions.
The Lake House
Relocated and expanded this season, The Lake House now looks onto Great South Bay. But the New American restaurant from Eileen and Matthew Connors keeps to what made it an essential South Shore destination: excellent, seasonal New American cuisine. Recommended: caramelized local sea scallops with fava beans, ramps, fingerling potatoes, peas; crisp suckling pig with Parmesan-spiked polenta; herb-marinated skirt steak with roasted-garlic potatoes and Gorgonzola butter; the lobster roll served with local chips; the house burger made with a custom blend; Long Island duck breast and confit of duck leg with pomegranate-pistachio glaze; Berkshire pork chop with green apple, blue cheese, and caramelized onion gratin; steamed halibut with jasmine rice, peanuts, and lemongrass-coconut broth.
The North Fork Shack
Samy Sabil and Ryan Flatley, former staffers at North Fork Table & Inn, converted a tool shop for Cessna airplanes into North Fork Shack, a compelling little spot with a chalkboard menu of local ceviche, clam chowder, pulled lamb or fresh-catch sandwiches. Taco and tostadas will please meat lovers and vegetarians, while the gluten-free are not ignored, either. For dessert, chocolate-chip cookies and lemon cupcakes with pistachio buttercream taunt from a cake dish on the counter.
The North Fork Table & Inn
Stephan Bogardus succeeded the late Gerry Hayden as executive chef at this casually elegant East End restaurant. The outstanding food and superior service continue Hayden's legacy. There's an a la carte menu as well as the tasting menu. And Claudia Fleming's desserts, of course, stand out. Recommended: union of raw tuna and seared foie gras; just-harvested local oysters; black sea bass crudo; cod-and-Yukon gold potato cake; laratte potato-and-celery root soup; black truffle crusted cod with risotto; rack of lamb with seasonal vegetables; doughnuts; chocolate parfait; cookies; sorbets.
The Palm at The Huntting Inn
Here's a bucolic link in the major steakhouse chain. It opened in 1980 in a building that dates to the 1700s. In addition to steakhouse mainstays, you'll find Italian-American specialties. Recommended: carpaccio of beef tenderloin; crab meat cocktail; jumbo lump crabcake; baked clams oreganata; shrimp Bruno sautéed in mustard sauce; veal Milanese; chicken Parmigiana; broiled lobster, starting at three pounds; double-cut New York strip steak for two; bone-in rib-eye steak; rib lamb chops; potatoes au gratin; cottage fries and fried onions; cinnamon-sugar doughnuts; cheesecake.
Douglas Gulija's casual, elegant restaurant has been the paradigm for Long Island seafood houses since 1997. Recommended: lobster-and-shrimp shepherd's pie under a chive-potato crust; pan-seared calamari with hummus and piquillo peppers; tempura-battered soft-shell crabs with Asian slaw and soy-ginger vinaigrette; grilled lobster; local fluke sashimi with jalapeno-yuzu emulsion; wild sockeye salmon crudo with shaved fennel and black garlic coulis; pan-roasted razor clams; horseradish-crusted cod; sautéed local black sea bass with spring risotto; all desserts.
Thomas's Ham & Eggery
There's often a line here for great renditions of classic diner fare. Most egg dishes are served in a skillet, such as the fontina and pancetta frittata or the homemade corned beef hash topped with a fried egg. Stuffed lemon ricotta French toast is surprisingly good, drizzled with blueberry syrup. For lunch and dinner, there are satisfying soups, piled-high salads, overstuffed sandwiches and platters of meatloaf, liver and onions or fried clams.
Toku Modern Asian is a showcase for handsome design and creative cuisine. It's situated in the Americana shopping center. Recommended: toro tartare, fluke tiradito, chu-toro carpaccio, Japanese snapper, amberjack, sweet shrimp, live scallop; traditional sushi rolls; house special sushi rolls; lobster taco; yellowtail with jalape ño and ponzu sauce; pork buns; kung pao chicken; Kurobuta pork gyoza; octopus carpaccio with crisp fried leeks; pork ramen; chicken ramen; Kobe beef and shishito pepper skewer; roasted lobster with udon noodles.
If you don’t think hummus can achieve culinary greatness, book a table at Lola. From its inception in 2009, Michael Ginor’s menu blended New American concepts with global influences—Thai, Korean, French, Italian, Middle Eastern among them. Last year Ginor, with an assist from chef de cuisine Lenny Messina, began leaning harder on the Mediterranean flavors that informed his late, lamented Great Neck kosher restaurant Tel Aviv (2008-2011), particularly those of the Levant and North Africa. Recommended (in addition to made-to-order hummus): lamb malawach, a flaky Yemeni-inspired lamb pizza; chicken schnitzel with pickled vegetables; seared Hudson Valley duck breast with toasted farro and Swiss chard. Lola serves one of LI’s best and most inventive Sunday brunches, including Shakshouka, eggs poached in a stew of tomatoes and peppers.
The beach meets the farmhouse in the new room adjacent to the original dining room at Tula Kitchen. It's a whitewashed space with lots of light and a vegetarian-friendly breakfast, brunch and lunch menus. The fluffy flapjacks (called flap-Jackies, named for the owner, Jackie Sharlup) are some of the best around, while the take on egg sandwiches are elevated, layered with fresh veggies on pretzel croissants or brioche. Greens, bowls and veg-forward pastas showcase the lunch menu, while veggie burgers, falafels and chicken sandwiches wear dressings, charred or caramelized veggies, slaw or cheese.
A small spot in downtown Huntington has put together a menu that shows off quality ingredients, local sourcing and skill -- and there's a late-night menu until 2 a.m. Burgers are the stars, of course, made from a beef blend from Farmingdale's Main Street Meats. A balance of brioche to burger, they're popular dressed with bacon, tomato jam and a sheath of Cheddar for the Villager, or caramelized onions, roasted mushrooms and Gruyere for the Wild Life. A favorite is the Evil Sal, with ghost pepper marmalade with an onion ring on a pretzel bun, hold the pepper jack. Burger alternatives include fried chicken on a waffle bun, as well as the vegetarian-friendly black-bean sweet-potato burger or the upmarket grilled cheese. Drinks may steal the show, from the handful of cocktails, nearly 20 craft beer taps and as many cans.
Verde Wine Bar & Ristorante
Papa Joe's pizzeria occupied this workaday location for 20 years before Anthony Carcaterra, the owners' son, transformed it into a New American restaurant and bistro in 2014. The architectural bones of the pizzeria are still visible (and every entree still comes with a free salad -- old habits die hard), but chef James Ahern's menu is exceedingly modern. He's got a thing for offal: veal sweetbreads and pork ear “carbonara” are both recommended, as are the roasted clams with SarVecchio cheese; and pork belly; rabbit leg with fennel and trumpet mushrooms; and halibut with fregola, broccoli raab and olives.
After a devastating fire, Yamaguchi came back last year and opened at a new address a few doors down from the original site. The much-missed restaurant immediately was jammed by diners seeking purists' delights, focused and unadorned, devoted to simplicity and clarity. They found them once more. Recommended: fatty tuna, maguro tuna, yellowtail, mackerel, scallops, and any sushi or sashimi your host or hostess suggests; fluke usuzukuri; squid with cod roe; salmon roe with grated yam; fried icefish; lobster katsu.
A little eatery serving big flavors, visit Yao's Diner for Sichuan-inspired dishes, like fried fish filets with chilies and greens, steamed pork ribs, or an interesting version of Kung Pao chicken with peanuts and bamboo shoots. Don't skip the vegetables, since the sauteed snow peas, Chinese celery and hand cabbage with chilies are as memorable as the meats.
Interactive Editor: Alison Bernicker | Design: Matthew Cassella | Development: TC McCarthy, Jon Ingoglia Reported by: Peter M. Gianotti, Melissa McCart, Erica Marcus | Editor: Marjorie Robins | Photo Editor: Rebecca Cooney