Why Wait For The Carnival?
By Pete & Will / email@example.com
Hot dog! You dont have to wait for the carnival to come
to town to enjoy authentic festival food. Francescos
of New York, which opened this summer at the site of a short-lived
Italian Ice stand on Jericho Turnpike, serves up the kind
of fare that will have you reminiscing about feast days in
Little Italy, or the food court at a typical carnival.
Francescos is located in Huntington Station just west
of Park Avenue. While its caught our eye in the past,
what prompted us to stop was the recent addition of a plastic
windscreen around the front and sides of what looks like not
much more than a roadside hot dog stand. The still shiny enclosure,
along with some high-wattage lighting, called new attention
to the eaterys pizza box architecture, and the prospect
of eating at a picnic table in winter proved tempting.
We stopped, pored over a sheet metal menu affixed to the wall,
and we ordered predictably. By that, I mean we went with our
carnival standbys: Sausage Hero ($6.75) with sautéed
peppers and onions for me; and the Philly Cheese Steak ($7.25)
for Will. The thinly pounded rib-eye, grilled and smothered
with melted cheese was tempting, but I have reached an age
that requires some semblance of a nod to healthy eating. (Hey,
the peppers and onions count as vegetables!) The sausage was
on the money neither over- nor under-cooked
and topped with a generous amount of flavorful sweet pepper
and what in another restaurant would have been called caramelized
onion. But hey, were unpretentious here.
Standard cheese steak topping is sautéed onion, but
the hero can be enjoyed with any of a half dozen toppings
listed on a board. On the grill mans recommendation,
we went with a hot chili sauce that he had just made that
day. It was excellent, but order only if youre ready
to take the heat.
Well guess that the aforementioned heroes comprise much
of Francescos business during a typical day. But there
are some surprises like the Grilled Chicken Teriyaki
Hero ($6.95) and La Bella Hero (seasonal in both availability
and price) featuring grilled Portobello mushroom, roasted
peppers and melted mozzarella; and the Italian favorite Pork
Steak Braciole (also seasonal), stuffed with Romano cheese,
parsley and garlic.
Among reliable standbys: hot dogs ($2.50 with onions or kraut,
up to $3.25 with chili and cheese) are Sabretts jumbo
sized dogs, and Potato Knishes ($2.25).
Carb watchers may opt for the platters served with two sides.
Italian sausage, hot or sweet ($8.45) with pepper and onion;
Steak Shish-Kabob ($8.75); Philly Cheese Steak ($8.95); and
Grilled Chicken Teriyaki ($8.75); along with the seasonal
specialties, replicate the heroes without the bread
though to us eating the hero is half the fun. Francescos
grillmen wrap everything up so tight in paper and foil that
one-handed eating is possible for you die-hard roadies. Less
skillful road warriors might opt for the one-dollar mini burgers.
Also worth stopping for a cardio-stopping basket of
onion rings with cheese.
Kids are welcome, and eat off a $4.95 menu featuring mini
burgers, hot dog, macaroni and cheese or steak shish kabob,
served with apple sauce and corn or fries.
Dessert is not forgotten at Franscescos, which features
Bonanzas of Bayville Italian Ices ($2.25) as well as
frozen, chocolate dipped bananas ($2.25). If youre not
in San Gennaro mode before dessert, its a guarantee
you will be afterward.
of New York
198 E. Jericho Turnpike,
Cuisine: One handed, Italian
feast day eating
Price range: Inexpensive
Hours: Open 6 days, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.