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Newsday calls out Long Island Chowhounds- and justifiably

Newsday food writer and longtime fellow Chowhound Erica Marcus poses some legitimate questions.


I think it is a lack of 'hounds and not a lack of chow worthy spots. For example, I posted in a thread about ethnic food on Long Island that there are a number of Jamacian/Carribbean spots in Uniondale. Although it has only been a month I have not seen any other posts about such places in the area since and a search of the boards(no easy task) reveals virtually nothing in the past. Mineola has many Portugese places and we have almost no information about them. There is almost no keralan food in New York, a place in Queens opens up in Nassau and we have no reports. Where is all the soul food beyond Dent and Riddick's?
I believe there is much undiscovered chow, how to get more of that information on these boards is a mystery to me. I will take Ms. Marcus's words to heart and make more of an effort to report what I experience. There are some great and knowledable 'hounds out there. You know who you are, if I named some I fear I would slight others so I won't. We should alll make more of an effort.
Boy did I have a great rasberry crumble at Main Street Bakery in Port Washington. It turns out that they also sell bread from Balthazar. I can't wait to go back Saturday and try the chocalate croissant, I promise to post.

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  1. That was very nice of her to try to jump start our little group. I don't get into Nassau County much anymore, but on issues further East, I'm there (with springtime just around the corner) I posted about the new chef at Jedediah Hawkins a few weeks ago, lots of talk here about the place last summer, but no response at all. Well, I myself don't get food out anywhere nearly as much as I used to, and am logging a lot more time on the Home Cooking board. But if I find anything good/interesting, you'll always be the first to read it here!


    1. As a slightly different take on this (but completely consistent), I, as a northern Westchester inhabitant, have been completely happy with the new line-up here, as now the old "Tristate" board seems to be nearly completely a "Westchester and Hudson Valley" board. Long Island seems to have more or less disappeared lately.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DGresh

        Don't write us off yet please.
        I'm surprised how many non-LIers are popping in on this thread with their put-downs. Is this a contest?

      2. Stuart, You mention Jamaican restaurants in Uniondale. My thoughts are that LI ers generally avoid ethnic restaurants, sticking to the tried and true except for Chinese and the newly ubiquitous so called Pan Asian which have been assimilated into LI culture. I like Pollo el Paisa. The owner is welcoming; the roasted chicken delicious, yet the diners are for the most part Hispanic. Cooke's Inn, in Huntington , made a go of a menu of quasi soul food, but recently closed either to retirement or a loss of business

        3 Replies
        1. re: budcar

          Pollos el Paisa is great and very economical. I agree, it is mostly Hispanic I notice as well. I tell everyone I know about it. Where else can two people stuff themselves silly w/ a huge pitcher of sangria for $35!

          Frankly, I think LI'ers are scared to move away from chains and totally lacking in imagination or any desire for variety in their diet. They simply don't know any better I believe. Thankfully my city years and my Mom's culinary skills upon which I was raised keep me away from chains at all costs and always in search of good chow! Oaxaca in Huntington is another good spot and the owners/staff are so hospitable and warm. Also like Meditteranean Kabob House in Westbury.

          1. re: JGS

            That's the second time I've seen a comment about LI'ers resistance to either ethnic or non chain food in the past couple of days. I honestly can't imagine why there are so many successful ethnic restaurants and more opening all the time with no one dining in them. I live in Huntington and frequently travel to dine in Hicksville, frex (I don't love Oaxaca, btw, but did love Fonda Coyoacan) and we're not the only non ethnic diners when we do, far from it.

            Don't forget, all generalizations are false. ;-)

            1. re: mcf

              Totally agree. I don't sense any affinity to chains - at least no more so than everywhere else. The majority of people would prefer an Applebee's to a good local joint, but they aren't on this website.

              There are really interesting ethnic enclaves in Hicksville and Brentwood. I don't always post on every place I've been to, because honestly, for many of them I don't even know the name. It's "that place by the corner of Wicks Road and..."

              Outside of the ethnic neighborhoods, it seems most of the really interesting places have a hard time. Safer to go with another Italian - like the place that replaced the great Turkish place in Huntington Village. I'm also not a big fan of Oaxaca; it's OK, but no big deal. Fonda Coyoacan - losing that was a real shame. The execution wasn't fine-dining quality, but the cooks were making real Mexican comfort food. Where else could you get an entree of Coca Cola chicken fricasee? Or a completely different tortilla in the Enchilada than in the tacos?

              We've been going to Maize Cantina often. It's not perfect, but it's interesting and mostly well executed. Same for Moules et Frites in Syosset.

        2. Where's the Keralan food place, Stuart?

          2 Replies
            1. re: stuartlafonda

              Good to know. It was on the Outer Boroughs board, so I didn't see it.

          1. Not long ago, during discussion about the chowhound boards re-org, someone suggested that LI should have its own board, and my response was that our lack of message activity didn't warrant it.

            Like Coll, though, I'm eating home a lot, as are many folks. I'm participating in home cooking and other topics more. It's not for economic reasons, though that matters, but food quality that I cook more and eat out less; I want wild fish, grass fed, sustainably raised meat and poultry and dairy and organic vegetables. So I buy and cook them.

            Still, if we're each conscientious about diligently posting places we find or those we frequent and try to support the success of the gems find (like New Chilli and Curry in Hicksville!), our dining scene will greatly improve.

            3 Replies
            1. re: mcf

              mfc and everyone,
              I stumbled upon this site in search of Organic and Certified Humane dairy.
              Hello, I am not so much a eat out foody as eat in. But I was wondering if
              anyone could tell me if you have ever encountered certified humane or animal welfare approved milk, butter and other dairy on LI or in LI markets. The best I have gotten is to get organic, but some reports state that even organic has 30% chance of being not organic. Eggs are not a problem KK sells Born Free. Chicken and meat products I find at Whole foods or Wild by nature, that is certified. It is the milk, especially since that Nightline report last week, I have strengthened my search. I have been looking for months, now and then but that is how I came across this site and this discussion. Sorry it is off-topic, but like many we eat home more these days not for economics, but for well being and humanely treated farm animal products.

              1. re: LondonS

                LondonS, if you want an answer to this you should establish a new thread on this board where interested folks can see it. Call it "Humane Dairy on LI" or some such thing. For what it's worth, Fairway sells grass-fed milk. Good luck.

                1. re: LondonS

                  I'm going to start a new Long Island thread to discuss this.

              2. Yet once or twice a week she reports on her meals at chain restaurants in the feed me blog. Not very chowhound like....

                21 Replies
                1. re: jmax

                  It's not as if that's all she does. I've gotten a good info from Erica over time.

                  1. re: mcf

                    This "Favorite Long Island Restaurants" thread says it all:


                    LI is not a dining destination, IMHO.

                      1. re: coll

                        LI reminds me of Upstate's Clifton Park - lots of families who go to chain restaurants, pick up takeout or cook at home.

                        I would have been surprised if a LI Board was created.

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                          So all of Long Island reminds you of one upstate town? I have a feeling you don't get around much here.

                      2. re: financialdistrictresident

                        When Chowhound made the change a few weeks ago I thought it was a shame that Long Island would not get their own. But as others have mentioned there are not a ton of threads on Long Island restaurants. Several reasons for this that others have mentioned (LI'ers not very adventerous eaters, not much in the ethnic category, etc.) have some basis in truth. Lets face it - Long Island is not a hot -bed of food activity. And add the fact that we have NYC right near by where you can get almost anything you want. It makes it very difficult for restaurants that think out of the box to make a go of it. What I would do for a Vietnamese restaurant anywhere near me!!! But I think they would have a tough time getting a strong enough following out here. This trickles down to chowhound as well. Just my opinion.

                        1. re: StrongIsland

                          Vietnamese, yes, I always wish for that. Do you remember the first, Cafe Monaco in Stony Brook back in the 70s?

                          1. re: mcf

                            Before my time I am afraid. But if anyone gets wind of Vietnamese anywhere nearby by all means let us know!

                            1. re: StrongIsland

                              Second that. Hard to believe there are no Vietnamese anywhere out here. Even bad pho is better than no pho.

                          2. re: StrongIsland

                            "When Chowhound made the change a few weeks ago I thought it was a shame that Long Island would not get their own. But as others have mentioned there are not a ton of threads on Long Island restaurants."

                            I thought Metropolitan Area would make more sense than Tri State Area. LI has a lt more in common with southern Ct or northern NJ than Buffalo or Albany...

                            1. re: MacTAC

                              Albany has better restaurants than LI, based on my experience.

                              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                                I was referring to geographically in common, not quality of restaurants...

                            2. re: StrongIsland

                              Current Westchester-ite (formerly of Queens) chiming in- how is Westchester, which is "over-represented" on these boards, further from Manhattan than L.I.? I'm into Grand Central from mid West. in 28 minutes, exactly the same as if from Nassau. There are deeper reasons. Let's be positive- maybe people on Long Island cook better meals at home than we do, or have invested more in their kitchens? Maybe you're too smart to spend all your money on restaurants as we do? Maybe you've found more positive ways to expend your personal energies and passions than by eating?

                              1. re: addictedtolunch

                                Interesting thoughts, my only disagreement is with the lack of emphasis on distance from Manhattan. The train is 24 minutes express to Great Neck, right on the Queens boarder, so just about every LI'er has a longer travel distance to Manhattan then you think. Western Nassau residents tend to think west not east and I think that contributes to the lack of top flight restaurants in the area. Your thoughts about money are interesting as I never cease to be amazed at the bill when I go out with the family, even moderate dining gets costly. Distance on LI is also an issue. As much as I loved Fonda Coyocan in Huntington, I only ate there when I was in the area for some other reason. Driving to Huntington just for dinner seems like a big trip. Places like Bayshore or Melville are just too far compared to Queens or Manhattan for dinner. I still think there are a ton of cheap ethnic places out there that Chowhound just don't get to and I don't know why.

                              2. re: StrongIsland

                                so i guess "italian" isn;t an ethnicity any more?

                                1. re: thew

                                  When half the restaurants on Long Island are Italian I think it is fair to say it is over represented. But if you look beyond that, Long Island has some weak spots in ethnic foods. Vietnamese is my favorite example (can you tell I am desperate for Vietnamese food) but I would say Korean as well. And there are others.

                              3. re: financialdistrictresident

                                FDR ...So you think it is the Chow not the 'hounds, I'm not convinced of that yet.

                                1. re: stuartlafonda

                                  stuartlafonda, I think it's probably a combination of the food and time (busy family life). To be fair and avoid generalizing, I have not eaten my way through the Hamptons/Suffolk so you may be spot on re: not convinced about the food yet.

                                  There were not many restaurants like a Dario's (back when it was on Hempstead Tunrpike) when I lived on LI. Maybe Rockville Ctr. , Huntington, etc. are different. Millie's Place is gone. Not sure how the ethnic scene is anymore. Years ago I ate at a decent Caribbean restaurant in Hempstead/West Hempstead.

                              4. re: mcf

                                Alot of the good info Erica gets - she gets right here on Chowhound first.

                                1. re: jmax

                                  I think that makes her a more responsive and resourceful reporter, actually. And I've gotten info from her (like where to sharpen knives now that Morty is gone, frex) on the boards that I haven't seen elsewhere.

                                  I'm glad she raised the issue; if nothing else, I think it's alerted us to the fact that if we want to know what our dining options are on LI, we each should take the time to post about places we discover, including good meals at those no name Brentwood places on the corner. Just name the corner. :-)

                              5. re: jmax

                                I'm not finding those twice weekly chain restaurant reports; can you post links? Are you talking about Ayhan's, the small, local chain, by chance? Maybe I missed them somehow.

                              6. A good example of the present state of Long Island chowhounding is the thread Greek restaurants in Suffolk county where ninety percent of the responses is how good the gyro is at this or that place. Coll has hit it on the head with cooking at home. I'll give a plug to Natural Market (7th Street, Garden City) which has been a welcome addition in town. They have a limited, but high quality selection of meats (prime aged), fish and seafood (really fresh and real gulf shrimp, no tiger garbage here), and a good selection of fruits and vegetables. Their cheese selection is excellent (i.e. always at least half dozen different bleus in stock). The deli department has become the best in town (Boars Head, Schaller & Weber, Applegate) besides their own cooked on premise selections. The workers and owners are pleasant and always say hello to you. This place is not cheap but it's extremely fairly priced. And as an added bonus, the flower department has double the size bouquets at about half the price of the florist down the block.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: byrd

                                  A good example of the present state of Long Island chowhounding is the thread Greek restaurants in Suffolk county where ninety percent of the responses is how good the gyro is at this or that place."

                                  I use the quality of the gyro as a kind of barometer, even though I very rarely order it myself. So many places have spongy, bready, icky gyro and few make their own. When it's meaty and delicious it bodes well for the pride a restaurant takes in its cooking. A lot of folks are buying less expensive dishes these days. Gyro is filling and inexpensive.

                                  For the record, I almost always have charcoal calimari, not gyro. :-)

                                  1. Sounds like a target-rich environment. If she likes the food then she should do the reporting.

                                    I'm not sure if she's calling out chowhound folk or seeking some kind of approval from the blogosphere. At the end of the day, it just doesn't matter.

                                    4 Replies
                                    1. re: steve h.

                                      She does do the reporting, and not chain restaurants, either. I guess I'm partial because her taste buds seem to align well with mine generally, more so than any other Newsday food writer.

                                      She participates here, and often when someone asks about a newer place, she responds quickly with a link to a review. She's a LI food writer discussing what some of us have observed since the board reconfiguration was announced; there's been very little talk of the LI food scene here compared to other areas.

                                      What *should* a LI food writer be discussing on a blog if not the LI food scene?

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        I agree with you "mcf", Ms. Marcus provides this board with good information. How else can someone possibly cover all the places there are to eat on Long Island without checking places like this and other forums. Funny enough, in todays Newsday and Blogs they report on the Keralan restaurant in New Hyde Park and Main Street Bakery in Port Washington. These are two places that have had little to no coverage and both were mentioned in the post that started this thread, coincidence?

                                        1. re: stuartlafonda

                                          I hope it's not a coincidence, and I'm guessing it isn't. Good way to be resourceful and to get all those non CHers out there to try new places.

                                        1. re: Scott_R

                                          She says..
                                          1. ... turns out some flavorful South Indian cuisine from the state of Kerala.
                                          2. The food, overall, is good

                                          Mediocre review, not so sure that is accurate, not mediocre food.
                                          The review sounds about right to me based on my one visit and I did buffet while she did ala carte.


                                          1. re: stuartlafonda

                                            My interpretation was that the food was "merely" good, in light of the rest of the descriptions. Mediocre isn't bad; it just isn't especially good.

                                            1. re: Scott_R

                                              fair enough, you should give it a try if you find yourself in the area.

                                        2. Just want to mention that LI is a **** expensive place to open a restuarant so if you want Vietnamese good luck. Also, we are not the most ...hmmm.... trying to think of a word...the most "open" people. If I asked some friends to go for dinner in Brentwood, they would think I was crazy. So I have resolved my issue by deciding that Queens and Brooklyn are really part of LI...which they are.

                                          And Erica Marcus does her best to send people to new "ethnic" places.

                                          Re chains, may I sya that Pizza Hut has not survived on LI. So kudos to us, We like the local joint to that cr**. And most chains have a tough time - tell me which chains are thriving??? We're not Florida yet.

                                          1. A discussion about Long Island and the State of NY on Site Talk:


                                            1. This thread is more than 4 years old and little has changed. Huntington is supposed to have more Italian restaurants than Tuscany and what keeps opening, you guessed right. Italian, Greek, Pan Asian and Mexican says it all. .A few innovations like The Shack,Coo Coo, and the rotisserie chicken hole in the wall are a step in the right direction. A real ramen joint , genuine dim sum parlor, plus other other innovative places would be welcome.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: budcar

                                                I think the gist of it for all of us is to post regularly about our Chowhounding. Any Chowhound finds are relevant. Be it a taco in Huntington or a noodle shop in Westbury. The activity needs to be a lot higher and I, for one, love to read about the passion one may have for the fried calamari at Steve's Piccola Bussola in Westbury, if only for the frying pan full of garlicky marinara, or the crunchy crust at Pizzeli's in North Bellmore.

                                                Keep us posted regularly about what you find.
                                                Happy Chowhounding!


                                                1. re: budcar

                                                  I can't believe we STILL have no reliably good Chinese takeout in Huntington village since Imperial Garden disappeared.