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Advice for a Stony Brook student?

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I just started my doctorate at SUNY Stony Brook, but I took some time off, so I'm a bit older than my classmates. Whenever my friends and I try to go out to eat, my main request has been: "No buffets and no chains." This is met with blank stares and "Um, that's going to be hard." While I had a hard enough time with Chili's, Cheesecake Factory, and Applebee's when I was a teenager, I really cannot stomach it now. Adding insult to injury, these places often have an HOUR wait!! Any advice on your favorite places? I've done some searching and found some fancy places that are probably out of budget, but any cheap to middlerange suggestions?

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  1. It's not hard at all, if you have a car. Try this site compiled by the Physics department:

    http://nngroup.physics.sunysb.edu/hus...

    My favorites of the lot are Thai Gourmet in Port Jeff Station and Kotobuki in Hauppauge.

    Green Cactus Grill, Curry Club, and Sushi-Ichi are very close by and inexpensive. Not great, but quite good.

    For a very special dinner (also very expensive), Mirabelle in St. James can't be beat. They are involved in Long Island Restaurant Week, which ends November 11. Complete 3 course dinner for $21.95. May be all booked, though.

    1. A modest drive, but definitely Maureen & Daughters Kitchen for breakfast
      http://www.exploreli.com/entertainmen...

      Similarly, Toast in Port Jeff
      http://www.toastcoffeehouse.com/

      1. for cold beer and fairly priced steaks: j and r's steakhouse, and don't forget the onion rings.

        1320 Stony Brook Rd.
        Coventry Commons
        Stony Brook, NY 11790
        (1/4 Mile East of Smithhaven Mall)
        (631) 689-5920

        1. Welcome to Stony Brook!
          Do you have a car? If you drive south on Nicolls Road toward the LIE and get off at Horseblock Road, headed east, you will find Portugese food and Central American food.
          It's about a 15 minute drive. I apologize- the names escape me but I will update when they come to me.
          Salsa Salsa in Port Jeff is consistently good, mainly for takeout or a quick bite. So is Haru Sushi on Stony Brook Rd just north of 347.
          Tara's is a bar in Port Jeff on Main St. that doesn't look like much on the outside but has excellent food. Don't be afraid to order seafood there- everything is very fresh.
          Are you familiar with John Harvard's? It's a small chain, but there's one on Rt. 347 near the mall, and I have always found it to be surprisingly good. It's basically a much better version of the chains you mentioned, with pretty good food and they make their own beer. It would satisfy your chain-preferring friends. Good for burgers and wings.

          1. Actually ANYthing in Port Jeff is gonna be better than a chain. It has been about 3 years since I lived on LI but Pt Jeff really has a nice assortment downtown. Not sure if any of these places are still there:
            Printer's Devil
            Billie's (bar food)
            Danfords (hit or miss)
            Hana (sushi)
            Steamroom (cafeteria type seafood)
            Pasta Pasta
            And I am sure there are tons of new places since I have left....