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Island Park/Oceanside Area

Jim Leff Aug 17, 2008 03:01 PM

Found some good places today (some tried, some just vibed). If you've tried them, please add thoughts. If you haven't tried them, and do, please report back.

Artie's aka South Shore Fish Market 4257 Austin Blvd, Island Park (516) 889-0692. definitely the class act in south shore fish restaurants. Nothing fancy, it's just tables in an adjunct to a (terrific) fish store. But owner Artie's an actual fisherman, and he has really good stuff. Soft shells were huge and perfect. Lobster sweet and fatty like Maine. French fries and sweet potato fries worth a trip, and surprisingly decent vegetables (e.g. asparagus). Good garlic bread, clam sauce dishes looked good. Fried stuff is kind of weird, though tasty...e.g. the whole belly ipswich clams were perfect clams, but something "off" with the frying. Grilled whole branzini was impeccable on the bread-crumbed side, mushy and underseasoned on the other. Terrific sweet tea, and smart, genuine service.

Peter's Clam House (600 Long Beach Rd Island Park, 516-432-0505) just up the block, is newish and very busy and I have a very good vibe.

Agrigento Bakery 4032 Austin Blvd Island Park (516) 431-0400 Sicilian bakery. really terrific sfoigatelle (mostly for the shells, the filling's only very good), wonderful chocolate/hazelnut (here actually chocolate/almond) cookies. Lots of other things look good but aren't, but the cannoli are amazing. They fry their own shells....IN LARD!!!! You can buy cannoli shell shards for snacking, too.

Oceanside Knish Factory 3445 Lawson Blvd Oceanside, (516) 766-4445 knishfactory.com. make very good buttery rugelach. I like the chocolate ones, but you have to appreciate the winey tasting chocolate religious jews use in such things. I bought some cold knishes for later, they looked excellent and very hand-made.

Union Bagel Café 1 Union Ave Lynbrook (516) 256-3360 sign says hand-rolled. I get a good vibe.

Less interesting:

I got a terrible terrible vibe from The Smokehouse, a smoothie, highly-commercialized bbq place at 4160 Austin Blvd., Island Park, NY, 516-889-3733. You don't want to see a big sign advertising "frozen drinks" outside a barbecue place.

Nearby, Bad Bob's barbecue 3112-3114 Lawson Blvd 
Oceanside, 
516-561-7427 looks better, though still not great. Part of a chain, including one location in Port Washington.

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  1. the queen Aug 17, 2008 04:35 PM

    "Artie's aka South Shore Fish Market the class act in south shore fish restaurants"

    WHAT? "class act "! .....Paper plates, no credit cards, paper cups! Where is the class?
    The same goes of Peter's Clam House!

    Ya want a Class Act, go to Jimmy Hays.
    Another good choice would be La Taberna. (a bit expensive for what the give you, but good)

    But I do agree that The Smokehouse, was terrible.

    1 Reply
    1. re: the queen
      Jim Leff Aug 17, 2008 05:05 PM

      I don't measure class by the thread weave of the napkins, but by the care and skill invested in the cooking.

    2. d
      dude Aug 18, 2008 07:57 AM

      Artie's has been mentioned as a winner on this board often. I haven't been but someone else just recommended it to me last night.

      Peter's is an institution, been there forever. Seasonal clam bar. Raw clams on the half-shell are fresh and great. Other stuff hit-and-miss. It's a biker bar most of the time. I personally am a little turned off by being across the creek from a landfill.

      I read the Smokehouse as you do. Lots of failed chain restaurants in that spot.

      Bad Bob's is generally panned on this board. My one experience last summer was "meh"- the guy seemed into it an passionate but I think the accountant won out. Other more recent posts have shredded them, and they may be out of business. I'd waited 6 months for this place and was hugely saddened by the let-down.

      Thanks for the tip on Agrigento- I've been driving by for years but never stopped in. (I usually go to Mario's on Merrick Rd). I'm going to have to stop in for cannoli!

      2 Replies
      1. re: dude
        d
        dude Aug 21, 2008 01:34 PM

        Stopped into Agrigento on the 18th. WOW what a cannoli! I use the cleaner next door- gonna be hard not to make every visit a two-fer.

        The Steinberg's rec is right on for bread. Aside from mandel bread, though, their desserts are mediocre IMO.

        1. re: dude
          davmar77 Aug 27, 2008 07:44 AM

          i've been to artie's.ok,nothing special.his fresh stuff is good but no bargain.

          we went to peter's the other night to meet friends so we gave it a try.it's been a long time since i'd been there.i had their version of a shrimp po boy,fried shrimp on a hero with fries,cole slaw,melted moazzarella and russian dressing all on the hero.odd but fairly tasty.actually better than i expected.still not what it was though.

        2. the queen Aug 18, 2008 01:13 PM

          Artie's May have been mentioned as a winner on this board , but to me it’s only just another pita joint.

          Peter's may have been an institution at one time, BUT this is NOT the same owner, it was sold about 2-3 years ago and is just a Seafood Nathan.s now. personally am also little turned off by being across the creek from a landfill. As well as it being a bikers and hippy gathering spot...

          As for the Smokehouse, this is just about the worst rib place imaginable ..

          1 Reply
          1. re: the queen
            Jim Leff Aug 18, 2008 09:05 PM

            pita joint?

          2. j
            jmax Aug 19, 2008 05:10 AM

            The fish store is very good - everything is fresh. I've had two good meals at Artie's - just simply prepared good tasting fish. I wasn't expecting any more.

            1. Jim Leff Aug 19, 2008 09:24 AM

              Tried a knish...very good, very authentic. Slight sephardic nuance makes them a tad more samosa-like than the usual. Good place, though they'll never last in that awful location.

              Anyone feel like trying the bagels?

              1 Reply
              1. re: Jim Leff
                k
                karin Aug 19, 2008 11:58 AM

                I've lived in and around Oceanside on and off for almost 30 years, and the Knish Factory has always been there ;) It is an awful location, but the rugelachs are awesome. Whistlestop Bakery is also back there, and they make great cheesecake. As for Artie's, as my 5 year old says "This is the best fish ever!". You might also want to check out Steinberg's on Long Beach Rd, in the Lincoln Shopping Center. Excellent, authentic Jewish bakery. Try the chocolate meltaways and almond horns. My husband, who's from LA, was in there every day when we first moved back here.

              2. a
                albee Aug 19, 2008 12:23 PM

                Stuff and Bagels in the Kohls shopping has been under the same family ownership for over 35 years. They really make hand rolled bagels and I am sure of that because I actually see them making them in the morning. There are hardly any hand made bagels made now because it is very labor intensive and there are very few people who do this. You do not stay in business for 35 years unless you are good. Living in Oceanside for many years I have seen bagel bakeries come and go but Bagels and Stuff remains the "class act" of bagelries

                1 Reply
                1. re: albee
                  c
                  collegecook28 Aug 26, 2008 10:01 AM

                  They are the best bagels ever, I long for them when I'm away at school (there are no real bagels in Virginia)

                2. JGS Aug 19, 2008 06:08 PM

                  Jim, I couldn't agree with you more about Artie's...much of what they have is good and fairly priced for fresh fish.

                  Their tuna tartare is excellent! One of the better versions I've ever had and a good portion size too.

                  I agree about the frying though, the few times I ever ordered anything fried there, it was a little odd tasting. Bland or old bread crumbs, maybe?

                  But, any BYOB place with better than average food is on my list.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JGS
                    Jim Leff Aug 19, 2008 08:37 PM

                    The wrong bread crumbs and the wrong temperature on the oil. Just wrong. I couldn't fault the ipswich clams on any issue but just the sheerly wrong-headed frying. It's a shame. Bigelows of Rockville Center, not far away, fries a lot better, but I'm not sure their clams are as good.

                    I think clam sauce might be a real good order at Artie's, fwiw. It looked good as it went by...

                  2. byrd Aug 20, 2008 06:50 AM

                    I've never eaten in the restaurant, but as far as the retail fish store for quality and freshness (the day-glo tuna gives them away) Artie's does not cut the grade. Even Jordan's Lobsters has better quality fish and that's not saying much.
                    JMHO

                    The Knish joint people are great.

                    And if you're in the area got to go to Pops (a couple of blocks west of the Island Park train station) and put some zeroes on the credit card buying wine.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: byrd
                      s
                      sugakc69 Aug 22, 2008 10:31 AM

                      Thanks for the Stuff and Bagels comment. My fave bagel place changed owners and it sucks.

                      I been to Artie's twice and both times I said I will never be back. Funny thing is I have heard from many people that love this place -- I keep scraching my head wondering why? Same holds for Peters too -- food is not good. If you really want good seafood -- which shocks me -- is Molly's in Long Beach -- OUTSTANDING!!!! I also really love A Taberna on 4135 Austin Blvd., Island Park, NY 11558-1726

                      1. re: sugakc69
                        byrd Aug 25, 2008 06:49 AM

                        Pete's is just fine for a dozen raw clams, a bowl of chowder, and an ice cold long neck.

                    2. e
                      Eileen Aug 24, 2008 05:36 PM

                      We went to Mitchell's on Long Beach Rd. for lunch. I've been to the one in Valley Stream growing up and was hoping for the same positive experience. However, it was a big disappointment. I had grilled vegetables over pita- it wasn't grilled- but saute- full of grease. My husband had grilled cheese- very skimpy, one friend had a turkey burger- or should I say - hockey puck and another had a chicken wrap with 3 tiny pieces of chicken. Service was very slow and decided not to take a chance on dessert, even though they are know for their ice cream.
                      The way service was we might have been there for dinner! BTW0- the smallest sundae was just under $6.00. ( 2 scoops and topping)

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: Eileen
                        d
                        dude Aug 25, 2008 06:37 AM

                        Went to Mitchell's once- never again. Ordered very simply for lunch and it took like half an hour to come, was small and almost as expensive as the Golden Reef in RVC, which at least buries you in food for the large check.

                        1. re: dude
                          the queen Aug 25, 2008 07:38 AM

                          My husband and I also went to Mitchell's once- and never again for us either.
                          If fact he wanted to walk out without paying because the servise and the food was so bad.

                        2. re: Nancy191
                          s
                          sugakc69 Aug 25, 2008 01:02 PM

                          I been to mitchell's once -- it was GROSS!! Thanks for the update on A Taberna -- I have not been there since the winter. I agree -- Love Caffe Laguna but you know what is OUTSTANDING too -- the new Thai place right by Gino's -- AMAZING and no very expensive. I love Duke F -- but have not been there in a bit.

                          1. re: sugakc69
                            Nancy191 Aug 26, 2008 03:36 PM

                            Thanks for the hat tip on the new Thai place, I've passed it several times and even went in once but we left after they told my husband they do not have a wine or booze license.
                            We will give it a try, I understand that you can BYOB.

                            1. re: sugakc69
                              Jim Leff Aug 26, 2008 05:30 PM

                              I just looked it up:
                              Cha Ba Thai‎ 12 W Park Ave, Long Beach, NY (516) 897-2888
                              http://chabalongbeach.com
                              (warning: flash nightmare web site

                              )

                              Menu looks a bit Chinesey.

                              Any more opinions on this place?

                              1. re: Jim Leff
                                a
                                albee Oct 22, 2008 10:06 AM

                                Ate here last night. Had Tom Kah Gai coconut milk soup, Steamed Mussels w/ basil and lemongrass , and Mixed Seafood w/ Ginger Sauce. Everything was delicious Great flavors ,beautiful little place and good value. Will go again.

                          2. p
                            Pivo Nov 29, 2008 08:08 PM

                            Swingbelly's in Long Beach for barbeque - simply fantastic.

                            1. b
                              Barcelonian Jan 9, 2009 08:48 AM

                              I live near oceanside and am looking to buy fresh oysters to eat at home - is artie's the place to buy? Any other suggestions??

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Barcelonian
                                d
                                dude Jan 20, 2009 04:58 PM

                                I like the fish at Capt. Ben's Fish Dock, on the Nautical Mile in Freeport. They have everything, and I believe that includes oysters.
                                You could also try Jordan's.

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