Best Portugese bar none!
- David Jan 9, 1999 05:43 PM
In Jim Leff's book, he raves about Little Portugal in
Mineola, but if we're talking Portugese cuisine, the
only place to take seriously is, (and I am about to
butcher the spelling) Lehraire. It is located not too
far from Little Portugal on Jericho Turnpike, just
east of Willis Avenue. They opened a sister restaurant
called Atlantis on Mineola Blvd, which has since
closed down. The soup, calde verde, a Portugese
specialty consisting of kale and potatoes with a hint
of chorizzo; and their marischada (again, spelling--
sorry), which is assorted shellfish cooked in green
sauce or a red sauce if you request it. I will try to
get the real spelling and post it as soon as I can
unless someone else out ther may know it.
So now Nassau County's an outer borough...?
The place is Lareira, and many people agree with you. Their flaming chorizo is real good, but everything else I've found just ok, at least since their quality sunk about ten years ago (before which it was pretty great).
But...question: have you actually tried my pick, Restaurant Portugal (bar only,
as I note in the book)? Because if you have, I'm not sure you'd be quite so high on Lareira. If you haven't, please do!
R.P. may be a bit less consistent, and it's a lot more challenging to eat there since there's a limited, untranslated menu and it's noisy and very down-home Portuguese (as opposed to Lareira, which is very much A Restaurant, even in its bar half).
But the food's just LOTS better. And zillions of times more evocative of Portugal (which I've eaten my way across three or four times). I've not found any other places that are so close to the flavor of that country, and I've eaten all over Mineola, Newark, and the handful of Manhattan and Queens Portuguese places (haven't yet made a pilgrimage up to New Bedford, though). Which other area Portuguese have you tried, by the way?
re: Jim Leff
The last time I ate at Little Portugal was a New Years
Eve dinner about 6 or 7 years ago.(I don't remember
much about the experience) I've been going to
Lareira ever since. I guess I should give Little
Portugal another try. I'm half Portugese(and half
Indonsian) and I've eaten the best kind of Portugese
there is and that's the homemade kind and I've found
Lareira to be the next best thing. I used to go to El
Campino in Newark which was decent but not nerely as
good as Lareira.
By the way the one thing I was glad to find in your
book was a restaurant that makes leitao(Chrrasqueira
Bairrada. I haven't had leitao since I was in Portugal
"i'm half portugese(and half indonsian)
cool! but actually not that hard to undertsand...there've long been tight bonds between Portugal and Holland. But maybe that has nothing to do with your folks...?
Do try Little Portugal again, and make sure you go to the bar half. I promise you, it'll remind you very much of Portugal, more so than Lareira. I LOVE Portugal--have been there three times--and this is where I go when I've got Portuguese saudades. I would never food around on a question of Portuguese food, promise!
"a restaurant that makes leitao(Chrrasqueira Bairrada. I haven't had leitao since I was in Portugal in 1995."
this place makes leitao very much like you'll find it in those villages north of Coimbra (most famously in Bairrada). Please report back!
re: Jim Leff
Let's revive this Portuguese Board!...on a recent Saturday family excursion to Newark, for the Cherry Blossoms and City Subway (which is actually an ancient trolley ride up towards Branch Brook Park, we happened upon the prized LEITAO (and terrific charcoal chicken)served as fresh and as authentic as our 1985 honeymoon chow in Mealhada, in those northwoods of the Bairrada. The place in Portugal was "Pedro", where the pig is soooooooooooo fresh you can hear it squeal!...if you're lucky, you'll get the kitchen tour right on back to the pen...Wash it down with lots of that Sumol Laranja (Portuguese version of Orangina) and feel totally satisfied. Oh, by the way, the place in Newark is called "Pic-Nic", and it's quite a walk up Ferry Street, a block past the fork in the road with Wilson, but still on Ferry to the left. The Leitao is ONLY AVAILABLE ON SATURDAY, and when it's gone, it's gone.
Just an aside, the Mineola-baked broa and those little "pasteis de nata" (baked custard pastry cups) tops the stuff from Texeira's (Newark)...must be the water!
re: Mike R.
Yes, I can see that you've been initiated into the wonders of Portuguese leitao, at the source! Just north of Coimbra, the landscape is studded with leitao places the way Brooklyn's got pizza. It's heavenly.
Unfortunately, this discussion is being buried three boards deep into the archives, so only those hip enough to use HotPosts are seeing this. Would you consider reposting to our topmost outer boroughs board, at link below?
I've heard about the Sunday leitao at Pic-nic from others as well. Yellow.com gives the address as Pic Nic Bar & Restaurant 224 Grant Ave Harrison, NJ (973) 481-3646; does that sound right? Harrison is apparently part of Newark.