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Great places on Long Island?

(Note: Post edited at poster request -- The Chowhound Team)

I'm having trouble finding really great food on Long Island. Can anyone suggest places I should try?

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  1. It is a very looooooooooong island with many great restaurants.
    Which area/town/county??

    16 Replies
      1. re: Gastronomos

        I am most familiar with Suffolk county but here goes:
        Mara's Homemade
        Peter Luger

        1. re: Gastronomos

          We already know that LL Dent and Peter Luger aren't up to your standards. Maybe you should list others you've tried and rejected so folks would know what to suggest?

          As I mentioned in your other thread on this topic, you'd have to have avoided some of the best food on the Island if you haven't explored the ethnic options in Hicksville: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8725...

          I'd start at New Chilli and Curry, Royal Bukhara Grill Indian Spice Rave, West East Cafe, Dosa Diner, House of Dosas, and in Farmingdale, Caracara Mexican Grill, The Orient, Tiny Thai (haven't been to all of these, but have frequently been cited by those I trust if not visited myself).

          That's just for starters.

          1. re: mcf

            Caracara, "upscale Mexican", good food, a bit more authentic than some others... doesn't really have that "feel" or taste one might seek in a Mexican place. But a good call, thanks!

            1. re: Gastronomos

              Maybe you just don't like to eat out. ;-)

                1. re: Gastronomos

                  So which of the restaurants I listed have you visited and found wanting or inconsistent in Hicksville? I think I asked on both threads.

              1. re: Gastronomos

                Suffolk has more authentic Mexican than Nassau, but Little Mexico on Post Road in Westbury is very good. Not a dive in any sense of the word, but not Americanized either. (There's always a TV playing.)

                Hope you have been to Bigelow's in Rockville Centre and Hildebrandts in Williston Park.

            2. re: Gastronomos

              Haven't been, but I've heard lots of good things about Lola in Great Neck:

              1. re: boredough

                I was at Lola a week ago and sat at the bar and enjoyed a new menu item, Korean fried chicken. Delicious, perfectly fried, juicy and with a little spice. It came with a boring rice cake and a perfefect rendition of the papaya salad served with the fried soft shell crab at Sripraphai. Not surprising as Chef Ginor is a big fan of Thai cuisine and eats there. With an ice cold beer and an order of super thin french fries, it was a terrific snack.

                Duh, Gastronomos, have you been to the Williton branch of Sripraphai?

                1. re: stuartlafonda

                  Yes I have. Not sure if it's as good as the Sripriphai in Woodside, but I enjoy it anyhow. Its certainly not as crowded. I haven't been to the one in Woodside since this opened.. Is it still#1??

                  1. re: lenorel57

                    I haven't gone (Have Sri Thai nearby) but have read very mixed reviews of the WP one... not the same as the original, folks say.

                        1. re: mcf

                          I forgot to mention 2 restaurants which were very good. One is Lula Trattoria in Mineola. The other is Heirloom Tavern in Glen Head. Very good food; but it is one of the noisiest restaurants I have ever been in.

                          A restaurant that has really wonderful food is Vernick Food and Drink. I ate there March 9th. Unfortunately it's in Philly

                          1. re: mcf

                            Sripraphai WP v. Woodside, interesting question. I started at Sri Woodside when I learned about it from Chowhound and it was one small narrow room serving great Thai, but I had such limited knowledge and experience with Thai, what did I know? Well I do know what I like and as it grew and became overcrowded the food remained excellent, to my taste. Many 'hounds have moved on to other Queens Thai joints, some I have tried and enjoyed. At the end of the day I still love many of the dishes at Srip/ WP and remain loyal. Fried soft shell crab, fried watercress salad, curry puffs, pannang, or red curry, pork leg, and drunken noodles are just some of my favorites. I still don't like their deserts so we go sit at the counter at Hildebrants and enjoy the ice cream.

            3. Have you eaten in Noahs in Greenport; Brass Rail in Locust Valley; Diane's and Mp Taverna, Bistro Citron, in Roslyn. Piccolo liguria in Port Washington? Lolas in Great Neck?

              I can't believe you've never had a good meal on the island.

              What restaurants do you like? Where are they?

              17 Replies
              1. re: lenorel57

                He won't say; have asked about 5 times so far.

                1. re: lenorel57

                  MP Taverna of Roslyn. Very good lamb burger twice and the third was a very 'off' day. Friends ask me why we went. Otherwise I am a huge fan of Michael Psilakis. Dined at OPERA when he first opened. Still have that awesome memory with me. Thank you for the recs. I have to try some! :-)

                  1. re: Gastronomos

                    Aha. So there are at least a couple of restaurants you like.

                    1. re: lenorel57

                      Perhaps, but the question is...
                      is good food good enough for a chowhound?
                      I still seek the original mantra of this site... hyperdeliciousness... im sure anyone can get a good meal at an upscale restaurant. I'm sure that each place has a menu item or two that is their 'signature'... the rest of the menu is to please peoples wants, a la.. steak, fried calamari, etc...
                      Brass Rail is OK, definitely edible, but,
                      Even MP Taverna with a lamb burger... misses the point and the meatballs there are the worst i have ever had.
                      Even Frank Bruni wrote about how he couldn't take it anymore as fellow diners of his were always insisting on ordering a steak at each and every restaurant. He said he can't rate a restaurant based on a steak, it means nothing. So he retired from the NYT.
                      Should I post a new question "Any 'hyperdeliciousness' out there?" and the thread would be about asking "what is hyperdeliciousness"... Peace :-)

                      1. re: Gastronomos

                        Some of those in a pretty long list I posted to you are far from upscale. New Chilli and Curry, for example. But you'd have to stand there for an hour or so with all the other folks waiting for a table if you go after 5 or 5:30. It's that good. People huddle outside in the cold on line.

                        1. re: mcf

                          Tried the lunch buffet at New Chilli & Curry. Very nice. Thank you.

                          1. re: Gastronomos

                            I've never considered the lunch buffet at NCC to be notable; the dinner menu, on the other hand, is fantastic.

                            1. re: Scott_R

                              It was a quick stop while I was in the nabe. I don't necessarily have to be hungry to eat ;-) thankfully... looking forward to my return for dinner.......

                              1. re: Gastronomos

                                If you go early, no prob, if you go at 9:30, the wait gets shorter to nearly none.

                                Or you can go for lunch and eat off the regular menu, too.

                            2. re: Gastronomos

                              Waited for dinner there the other night for 45 minutes. Had such a post prandial afterglow that I told my husband that I don't know why we keep wasting any time eating anywhere else.

                              As Scott says, you must go back for dinner. Lunch buffet is not where their best work happens, though nothing appears to be less than good.

                              1. re: mcf

                                Can't wait...;-) after lunch at Souvlaki Palace ... again....

                                1. re: Gastronomos

                                  Glad you're finding great chow on LI with a little help from your friends here. :-)

                                  Two things, if you tell them you want "Indian hot" or the way the owners eat it, it's incendiary, for real.

                                  Personal and family faves: Manchurian cauliflower appetizer, spicy coriander soup (especially on a very cold winter day or eve), malai kebab, bhindi masala, chili chicken and lamb. Just had a Szechuan eggplant dish (we usually eat Hakka style mostly), for the first time, very, very good. The only think I like better elsewhere is the Tandoori chicken.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    My favorites, and not seen at other restaurants (except Kiran Palace): Chicken Xiacutti (chicken in grated coconut red curry) and Dahiwala Baingan (Eggplant in yogurt sauce)

                                    1. re: sbp

                                      I don't think we liked the Xiacutti (and yes, these owners are the legendary kitchen team that was Kiran Palace), but do have the eggplant often.

                                  2. re: Gastronomos

                                    If it's weekday lunch, say hi to my husband for me!

                      2. re: lenorel57

                        I enjoyed Brass Rail on two occasions. On my list to return.:-)

                      3. Since this originally posted, I requested chowhound.com to edit this post.
                        The reasons are as follows:

                        Mara's Homemade. I visited by recommendation from some on this site. I did not find this place to be a chowhound destination.

                        Sripraphai - Williston Park. Authentic may be overrated. I liked the “drunken noodles” with the servers recommendation of “chicken”, but it’s nothing to make me want anything but a well executed beef chow fun from any number of Chinese take out joints on LI. I will make another visit with company next time to taste several different dishes, including the revered ‘soft shell crab’ when in season and the watercress.

                        I enjoy breakfast out. It’s one of my favorite meals to eat out. Yes. I know. It’s the one meal that is available at every Big Box ‘greek’ “New Jersey” style diner all over LI. And the one that is the most difficult, it seems, to get done properly.
                        I don’t like everything about it, but Thomas’s Ham and Eggery is my usual stop.
                        The ‘homemade’ chicken sausage has gotten much better. Less herbs so it doesn’t taste like solid herbal tea. And it’s no longer cooked to a chokingly dry crisp, usually.
                        It’s found in the Leek & Chicken Sausage Frittata in miniscule amounts and the Frittatas in general are cooked to death, dry and unseasoned. So I order scrambled or over easy with chicken sausage in lieu of bacon or other meat. The special that comes up sometimes of cheesey grits and thick cut bacon is good, if not a reason to go. I sometimes grab a muffin to go. Some of them are tasty.
                        I once ordered a skirt steak at Thomas’s. A very rare thing for me to do is to order a steak anywhere. And yet, this was a very good steak, marinated and cooked “to perfection” (whatever that means, LOL!)
                        I think the key here is that the guy who works the grill on Sundays with the greasey truck driver hair is a better cook than the other guys, but they are all good cooks.
                        I kindly request fellow chowhounds for their advise and suggestions to eating my way through LI. Please, we all have our tastes and differences. I prefer no steak joints, burger joints, Asian restaurants, or ‘high end’ places. I can’t afford the price tags of some of these places on a regular basis. I’m sure someone on LI is cooking good quality at reasonable prices.

                        Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: Gastronomos

                          I had a really superb goat cheese salad with Romanian steak on top and a really excellent, very garlicky, Greek house dressing at Premier Diner in Commack last night. Right next to the expressway.

                          Mr. MCF is loving lunches (and we both loved dinner) at Souvlaki Palace in Commack. Both are on Commack Rd. Down scale location and decor and seating, house made gyros, lots of food for the money.

                          I agree about Mara's; I liked her so much liked some of what we had, but a lot of it, while very authentic just didn't have flavors that popped for us at all. Never went back.

                          Sri Thai in Huntington Village was still very good a while back when I ate there (Thai generally has too much sugar for me).

                          If you like bistro food, Bistro Cassis in Huntington and Bistron Citron in Roslyn are good.

                          ETA: Smart editing. Just sayinzall. ;-)

                          1. re: mcf

                            Souvlaki Palace in Commack. Interesting place. Can't quite figure it out yet. Been twice already and it seems to have some cult following. Need to try some more dishes to understand what this place is all about. :-)

                          2. re: Gastronomos

                            From someone who was initially a bit offended by the wording of your original post - many thanks!!!

                            1. re: Gastronomos

                              Since you asked so nicely this time;)
                              I second (or third) the recommendations for New Chilli and Curry, the Orient, Little Mexico, Hildebrandt’s, Bistro Citron and the Brass Rail. And the corn bread at L.L. Dent is the best.

                              A few more that I like:
                              Las Vinas, a small Peruvian restaurant in Manhasset. We have only ordered off the tapas menu on our visits and we have enjoyed everything. http://www.lasvinasny.com/
                              Main Street Bakery in Port Washington – a very small bakery/soup, salad sandwich shop. I took my aunt here for lunch takeout after Sandy, and she had a cheeseburger that she declared was one of the best she has ever had. I had a coconut cupcake and it was very good, as cupcakes go. They also do a Sunday brunch. http://www.mainstreetbakerycafe.com/
                              Also in PW, Kazan for Uzbek food – great shish kebab. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/02/nyr...
                              Salvatore’s for coal oven pizza, calzones and great salads. Also in Port Washington. http://salvatorescoalfiredpizza.com/
                              Miraj Healthy Grill in Williston Park for really delicious Persian food, at very reasonable prices. Service is not always stellar, but I have enjoyed every meal I have had there. A review from 2011 http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/16/nyr...

                              Hope you find something you like!

                              1. re: EM23

                                Thank you for the recs. They all sound like they are 'right up my alley'

                              2. re: Gastronomos

                                Try Heirloom Tavern in Glen Head. Same chef as Brass rail. Very good food...very, very noisy

                                1. re: lenorel57

                                  I'm going to have to try it; so far, the chef alumni from Panama Hattie's have had pretty distinguished ventures. I still miss Hog House.

                              3. I was a little underwhelmed by Mara's on my last two visits and only dined there because my son was at a nearby gym party and I had some time to kill. The food was decent, but did not justice to the great food of New Orleans. Barbeque and Biscuits is a N.O. type joint in Mineola and my one meal was respectable but no better then Mara's, though it was just one meal so I will return, has anyone else tried it?

                                1. Update:

                                  Sripriphai, second visit. 5 people. "off hours" (between lunch and dinner rush, so it wasn't crowded to interfere with any service or food experiences.) Everyone ordered whatever they liked. I was the only one that had visited here before. No one at the table is a chowhound other than me.

                                  The server, same as I had on my first visit, asked how spicy we would like each dish.

                                  Papaya salad with dry shrimp and crushed peanuts. Very nice. I prefer it be served with all the other dishes and shared, as we shared it a la carte anyways. As with any cuisine outside its own borders has to make condolences to cultural preferences. This was still a nice salad.

                                  Tom-yum shrimp with mushroom in hot and sour soup. Not offensive. Not authentic either. Missing fish sauce, if there was any in it at all.

                                  Drunken noodles, this time with "sliced beef". The person who ordered this asked for "mild". It came out a burning inferno in hot chili peppers. My first visit I ordered drunken noodles with the server’s suggestion of ground chicken, "medium" spice that was served very mild.
                                  I enjoyed his meal, he tried to but it was too spicy for him. Very inconsistent with this dish and the spice level.

                                  Sauté Chinese watercress with oyster sauce. Very nice, simple easy dish that fit the bill for a vegetable at the table.

                                  Chicken in green curry sauce. OK. Thin/watery. Came with nests of rice noodles. Not a hit, but edible enough.

                                  Chicken satay. Peanut dipping sauce became addictive to some.

                                  Dumplings. Mild almost bland, but better than I expected.

                                  I like that this is a better Thai restaurant than many others I have tried around Long Island. It will be my usual stop for Thai when I am in Williston Park. But, I did not find that hyperdeliciousness or as some call it ‘umami’ I think present here. No “wok chi” here either. Maybe the Woodside location is better as some report. Someday I will try that location.

                                  Hildebrandt’s for Ice Cream. Very nice Ice Cream. Very strange “service”. Will be back someday for more ice cream and hopefully try some food. Any recs on the food?


                                  I have a business associate that lives in Thailand now for 10 years. He has lived in Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, traveled throughout Asia and Europe and the USA. He married a woman from India and he himself was born and raised in Denmark. Very well traveled and knowledgeable about the world and Asian cuisines.

                                  The business party we were involved in suggested Thai food for lunch one day in Valley Stream. Seeda Thai it was. The Tom-yum shrimp with mushroom in hot and sour soup was a bowl of hot Thai fish sauce with rancid old shrimp. His memorable comment to me was that in Europe and North America bamboo shoots find their way into almost all Asian cuisine, but cannot be found in almost any dish he has tried in Asia. Food for thought?

                                  1. Joan Reminick recently did a round-up of her 10 favorite Thai restaurants on LI.


                                    Sripraphai was on it, but so were nine others, including Frankly Thai in Franklin Square, Siam Lotus in Bay Shore, Thai Angel in Islandia.

                                    At Hildebrandt's, the pasta alla mamma is surprisingly delicious. French fries some of LI"s best.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: emarcus

                                      Thank you. I have been meaning to try Frankly Thai for some time now. It for some unknown reason looked from the outside like it was serving good food. :-)

                                      1. re: emarcus

                                        Frankly Thai in Franklin Square.
                                        Had a nice lunch. Very small portions for the price.
                                        Left hungry and wanting something to eat.
                                        The food was tasty.

                                      2. Hummus World and Tim's Shipwreck

                                        Hummus World. Falafel pita with everything. First bite of falafel alone, to taste what this is all about. This isn't heavily spiced. Israeli falafel seasoned differently from the other varieties. Not great on it's own. Then bite into sandwich. Pita is light and fluffy, not dry and hard. Good.
                                        The mixture of all these salads and falafel together make it a worthy chowhound destination.
                                        There is a reason why this is called Hummus World. The silky smooth and tasty hummus won me over. I'm used to hummus with a squeeze of lemon in it. I'll even go for just a faint hint of garlic. But this is where I will be getting my falafel fix from now on. Cons: microwaved pita.

                                        Tim's Shipwreck. Everyone said get the specials. Monday Meatloaf Madness. Unseasoned and salty.

                                        1. anyone been to Heirloom Tavern yet; going tonite; will advise

                                          5 Replies
                                          1. re: Leonard J. Pugatch

                                            Nope, but anxious to hear your report!

                                            1. re: Leonard J. Pugatch

                                              I was there. Food is very good; BUT it is very noisy.We did not stay for dessert because the noise was so bad. I am what some might consider elderly so maybe I may be sensitive; but I do like to be able to hear the person sitting next to me.

                                              Service was good. They have the same menu for lunch and dinner. Maybe I'll try lunch.

                                              It's the same chef and owner as the Brass Rail in Locust Valley which also has very good food.

                                              1. re: lenorel57

                                                what restaurants aren't noisy ? Bryant & Cooper is the noisiest of all

                                                1. re: Leonard J. Pugatch

                                                  True but this is exceptionally noisy. Part of it is very narrow and the other part has a big bar. There are mirrors on the wall and no soundproofing on the ceiling.

                                                  I really liked the food so as I said maybe I'll go for lunch or a very early dinner.

                                                  1. re: lenorel57

                                                    I hate the trend toward small, narrow, very loud places with all hard surfaces. Hard to converse with your companions, and it's just maddening to me.

                                                    No one calls me elderly to my face, anyway, but I've hate such din for decades.

                                            2. Heirloom Tavern last night; hopping and yes, loud; had the veal meatballs, good, not great, reminiscent of Maroni's, non descript caesar salad, and a cheese steak, not bad, friends had fried chicken, not bad, Biscuits & BBQ in Mineola serves better, many other places to try before I return

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Leonard J. Pugatch

                                                Thanks for the update! Perhaps the chef was at the Brass Rail last night................?

                                                1. re: Leonard J. Pugatch

                                                  I like biscuits & bbq but it's so small it's almost hard to go there with 4 people. What other places are you going to try? I'm going next to Bistro Et cetera in Port Washington. Maybe Om Bistro in Great Neck

                                                2. I was looking at RS Jones in Merrick and Zim Zari in Massapequa. Any new words on these places? Maybe similar places around? Thanks!