Takeout has never looked–or tasted–this good. When coronavirus shuttered Long Island dining rooms in the spring of 2020, restaurants had to revamp their entire approach to food to-go. No soggy burger buns or rubbery pasta here–instead, menus changed, cocktails suddenly became mobile and inventive packaging became paramount to delivering the best at-home dining experiences. Newsday’s FeedMe hereby acknowledges the Long Island eateries that made extra effort with The Takeout Awards.
Best Burger DealSnaps American Bistro Rockville Centre and Wantagh
As takeout began to account for more and more of Snaps’ business, chef-owner Scott Bradley reworked his weekly Thursday $5 burger special into a daily affair that includes four half-pound burgers for $25.99.
Cheddar-topped patties are packed in one container, the toasted sesame-seed buns and toppings in another. Takeout-friendly Parmesan-truffle fries ($6) are more challenging—they’re packed with holes poked in the box.More Info
Most AdventurousNew Fu Run Great Neck
Not a thing goes to waste when you order the Peking duck special ($68) at New Fu Run. It takes chef Shao three days of preparation and he is determined to elevate every morsel.
The breast meat, sliced neatly and covered with burnished skin, is accompanied (separately) by paper-thin pancakes, scallions, cucumber and sauce so you can make your own wraps at home.
The dark meat is hacked into smaller bone-in pieces and stir-fried with cumin and chili for a second meal. The remaining carcass is turned into two quarts of duck-cabbage soup. Order at least two days in advance.More Info
Best Attention to Cocktail DetailsHermanas Lindenhurst
Margarita pouches and to-go cup daiquiris are one thing, but wouldn’t you like to bring home something a little more, you know, classy from time to time?
Consider, for instance, its Negroni Lila ($14), a purple-hued concoction borne of gin, vermouth and Luxardo Bitter, or perhaps its Lavender Bee’s Knees ($13), a Prohibition-era pleasure perfect for our prohibitory times.
In the wrong hands, it might be little more than a watery disappointment by the time it reaches your door. The restaurant loads one compartment of a cardboard cup holder with a split of cava, a second with a vessel of honey, lemon, gin and lavender bitters, and a third with the cocktail glass itself, inside of which is a single mammoth ice cube showered with dried lavender blossoms. Combine the three and presto chango—you’ll feel like a home bootlegger, but minus the bathtub gin.More Info
Best (Not) Dressed RamenRakkii Ramen Smithtown
Ramen purveyors figured out long ago that keeping the broth separate from everything else is paramount when it comes to successful takeout. Reheat the broth at home, then you can add everything else.
Here, takeout ramen is delivered in the most adorable modular way. The various components (noodles, chashu, narutomaki, scallions, egg and a sheet of nori) come in a top container nearly fitted above the broth, which is pack-aged in its own tub.
Lift that top container away, and it takes but a few flicks of the wrist to slide this colorful composition into the fragrant, liquid depths of tonkotsu ($14) or miso broth ($15).More Info
Good For Family FunFogo de Chão Brazilian Steakhouse Carle Place
You’ll love the home game version of the dining room spectacle that occurs at Fogo de Chao in Carle Place. The “Full Churrasco Home Experience” ($110) feeds six and comes with five kinds of ready-to-cook meats.
Grill and slice those, meanwhile setting out the side dishes—asparagus, mashed potatoes, strips of sweet-peppery bacon and Brazil’s legendary cheese bread, pão de queijo.
Fogo’s servers are dressed like gauchos (the cowboys of South America) and at the restaurant move from table to table, plying customers with platters of skewered meats. Join in the fun at home by drawing straws to see which family member will serve all the others as the evening’s gaucho, and then pass out the included coasters to the other diners. Play continues until everyone’s coasters are red or someone splits their pants.More Info
Prettiest HalalThe Halal Girls Huntington
What patrons expect from a steaming-hot bowl of halal chicken over rice is tender spiced meat, perfectly cooked golden rice and a drizzle of white sauce (usually, yogurt and mayo) to deliver the velvety richness we crave. What they don’t necessarily expect is for it to be pretty.
However, The Halal Girls in Huntington pushes the boundaries in their version ($7), with evenly slivered thigh meat, buoyant romaine lettuce and an artful drizzle of both white and hot sauces.
Even the falafel wrap ($6) flirts with beauty—its plump fried-chickpea orbs are stained bright green from pulverized fresh herbs, and the pita wrap itself bursts open to one side into a riot of lettuce and diced tomatoes.More Info
Most Rewarding DIY MealSsambap Korean BBQ Stony Brook
Korean barbecue is one of the most engaging restaurant experiences you can have: Once the server has turned on the tabletop grill and delivered the raw meat and accoutrements, you’re on your own. Ssambap in Stony Brook rejiggered its barbecue menu for maximum involvement by takeout customers.
Choose from nine meats (such as short ribs, ribeye, pork belly, $28 to $40) and it will be accompanied by fresh lettuce leaves and bean paste for wrapping.
You’ll also receive rice (white or multigrain with beans) and, as is customary with Korean meals, a slew of individual banchan (side dishes) including kimchi cabbage, tofu skin, pickled daikon, pickled cucumber and pickled onion. Want more to do? You can even request your meat raw and grill it yourself at home.More Info