Gourmet Meets Casual In Cold Spring Harbor

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Take a stroll down Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor and find every detail has been crafted to perfection at The Gourmet Whaler.

The beloved restaurant has gained a name for itself over the years with its award-winning tacos and scrumptious homemade desserts. Owned by Dennis Chin, a native of Old Bethpage who lives in Huntington Station, and her husband, the restaurant is a product of her passion for cooking and eating well.

Chin learned to cook from her mother and grandmother at a young age, becoming a baker and chocolatier before turning to personal training. When training clients, she would try to feed them her desserts to no avail.

“The whole time I was training, the reason I did was because I love food so much and I love to eat,” Chin said.

Chin’s love of food led her to rent a counter from the previous owner of The Gourmet Whaler, until he closed. That’s when Chin took a leap and bought the shop four years ago.

To develop the menu, Chin and her chef collaborated on recipes to curate flavorful dishes and utilized Chin’s cherished dessert recipes. Chin ensures fresh, high quality ingredients go into the restaurant’s food, as they “strive for the best”.

“We’ve really tried to find out what people want,” Chin said. “Everybody that comes in, we talk to them and kind of evolve from that.”

We were served The Gourmet Whaler’s most loved meals for breakfast and lunch, each packed with interesting flavors. The quinoa bowl with grilled shrimp ($18.95) was an enticing take on the healthy dish that dressed up the quinoa with avocado, tomatoes, lettuce, cucumber, and chipotle mayo on the side.

The crab cake ($15.95) is highly recommend, served with avocado, pico de gallo, arugula, corn, and chipotle mayo. The crab was phenomenal and demonstrated why buying top quality makes the difference.

Start your day with one of the many tempting tastes on The Gourmet Whaler’s breakfast menu. Nothing beats the homemade pancake batter from Chin’s mother’s recipe. Two fluffy jumbo pancakes ($9.75) with syrup and butter are sure to satisfy anyone’s appetite.

The steak omelet ($15.95) that is filled with peppers, onions, tomatoes and cheddar, topped with pico de gallo and served with homefries. All of the flavors of the omelet work together in harmony for a savory bite.

“I love good food, every detail of this place is very important to me, from the pancakes to the potatoes,” Chin said. “Everything you eat, at least to me, you have to love it.”

It’s clear that people do love their food, after The Gourmet Whaler won “Best Taco in Long Island” this year. If you’re a fish fan, you must try their fish tacos ($13.95), overflowing with fried flounder and their signature slaw, served with chipotle mayo and peach mango salsa.

“The tacos get people in the door and to notice us, then they get to see all the other things we are doing,” Chin said. “They brought us notoriety.”

But no trip to The Gourmet Whaler is completed without trying one of Chin’s deserts, like the Tin Roof Sundae ($9.99). This yummy concoction consists of vanilla ice cream, brownies, melted peanut butter and chocolate, and peanuts. It satisfies sweet tooths in its ooey-gooey hodgepodge.

“I want everything you put in your mouth here to be a, ‘Wow!’ I work very hard to make that happen,” Chin said. “I’m looking for that wow factor on every single level.”

SIDE DISH: Pretzels And Beer

 The giant hot pretzel with cheese dip is on the late night menu at Finley’s of Green Street.

The giant hot pretzel with cheese dip is on the late night menu at Finley’s of Green Street.

Late Night Menu: Because man does not live by beer alone, Finley’s of Green Street (43 Green Street, Huntington. 631-351-3440) is firing up the grill late night Fridays and Saturdays. From 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., everything on the late-night menu is priced at five or ten bucks. A five-spot will get you: personal pizza; cheese quesadilla; cheese fries or truffle fries; twin hot dogs; or mozzarella sticks. For big spenders who fork over a ten spot, the choices are: bacon cheeseburger sliders, bacon, egg and cheese sandwich; chicken fingers; loaded potato skins; egg or tuna salad sandwich; Texas toast grilled cheese; onion rings; or the crowd-pleasing giant pretzel with cheese dip. Fridays and Saturdays are always hopping at Finley’s of Green Street with live music kicking off the evening and DJ Charizma wrapping it up. Gnarly Karma plays Friday, Nov. 30 from 8-9 p.m.; on Saturday catch The Little Plains Band, 8:30-9:30 p.m.

 

Beer Pairing: Burgerology (308 Main Street, Huntington) is teaming up with Bay Shore-based Great South Bay Brewery to create a mouth watering, five-course beer pairing dinner. The menu features five Burgerology dishes paired with complementary brews from Great South Bay to create flavor harmony. The first course features Fried Cheese Curds paired with Muscat Love Belgian Tripel. Course two lets diners munch on a Bavarian Pretzel while enjoying Jetty Cream Ale. The Chipotle Chicken Sandwich Sliders from Burgerology are paired with the Field 5 Golden IPA in course three. For the fourth course, Burgerology’s Classic Burger Sliders are matched with Great South Bay’s well-known Blood Orange Pale Ale. Finish off the meal with a Beer Float – that’s beer topped with ice cream – featuring the Blonde Ambition Blonde Ale. The combination of pub food and local brews is sure to prove a delicious combination. The beer pairing dinner is set for 7 p.m., Dec. 11.

Foodies Find That Sweet Spot

 Owner, Peter Panarites gets his love for chocolate making from his father who used this bunny mold to make his famous Easter chocolate. Peter won Confectioner of the Year in 1988.  Long Islander News photos/Sophia Ricco

Owner, Peter Panarites gets his love for chocolate making from his father who used this bunny mold to make his famous Easter chocolate. Peter won Confectioner of the Year in 1988. Long Islander News photos/Sophia Ricco

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

It’s easy to feel like a kid in a candy store as you feast your eyes on the displays of sweets at Northport Sweet Shop, but you can find much more than candy at this local eatery.

With almost 90 years in business on the Main Street, the restaurant is a staple of the community. Opened in 1929 by George Panarites with his uncle and cousin, the shop lives on through his son, Peter Panarites. He recalls working in the shop since he was a child with his father, helping him to mix chocolate, flip burgers and churn out ice cream.

He is not the only one with fond memories, many residents have been going to the Northport Sweet Shop for years to satisfy their sweet tooth or grab a quick bite to eat.

“I’ve seen a lot of kids come in the 1940s-50s,” Panarites said. “And then they get married, have their kids and get old then their grandchildren are bringing them in.”

Those who frequented the Northport Sweet Shop many years ago will be delighted to find the atmosphere has remained the same. Panarites has maintained the vintage look by keeping the original tile floors, baby blue booths and classic overhead lights. The biggest remodel he’s ever done was in the kitchen, which he expanded and updated with all new, top of the line equipment.

 The shop offers a wide selection of candies and chocolates.

The shop offers a wide selection of candies and chocolates.

 “In 1985 I did a complete overhaul,” Panarites said. “I kept the basic stuff but what I wanted to do was to bring it back to where it was.”

The Northport Sweet Shop serves casual, fast food style dishes that make for a perfect brisk bite while in the village. During the warmer months, you can find many kids running in to get chicken fingers and leaving with a smile.

The plates come out promptly and though simple, are full of flavor. Panarites has considered adding more complex dishes to the menu, but ultimately decided it was best to stick with what Northport Sweet Shop does best. The restaurant is famous for their burger bar and sandwiches, particularly the BLT and tuna salad. The tuna fish salad sandwich ($13) is proof simplicity can be fruitful. The flavors feel like comfort in your mouth.

It’s likewise evident why the BLT sandwich ($7.75) is so popular with crispy bacon, juicy tomatoes and leafy lettuce contained in toasted layers. We recommend ordering this during the summertime, when Panarites uses fresh tomatoes that he grows in his backyard.

“When you pick them right, they’re nice and juicy and that makes the sandwich,” Panarites said. “You can’t beat fresh stuff when you pick it right from the vine.”

 The cheeseburger with fries is among many classics enjoyed by generations at this retro eatery.

The cheeseburger with fries is among many classics enjoyed by generations at this retro eatery.

A burger is a great choice in any season with fresh meat sourced locally.

“I get it from a local butcher and I’d rather run short then buy a lot and freeze it. You lose the texture, when you freeze meat,” Panarites said.

The cheeseburger with fries ($7.50) is classic.

No trip to the Northport Sweet Shop is complete without a taste of their homemade ice cream and candy. George Panarites was known for his love of chocolate making, particularly the decorated hollowed eggs he would make for Easter. For Christmas, the shop will make chocolate Santas.

“When people make chocolate, there’s a lot of different ways to do it… We always keep the quality. My father always said, quality trumps everything, you don’t compromise quality,” Panarites said.

 Peanut butter sundaes are sweet treat to top off a meal at Northport Sweet Shop.

Peanut butter sundaes are sweet treat to top off a meal at Northport Sweet Shop.

The peanut butter sundae ($7.75) has two scoops of ice cream topped with peanut butter, Reese’s pieces and whipped cream. Absolutely scrumptious. It is clear why the Northport Sweet Shop is a happening place to grab a cone.

“One thing I can say in all my years of business, I have the best customers in the world,” Panarites said. “The kids in this town are tops.”

Side Dish: Bryant To Open Steakhouse

 The Bryant is set to open early next month at the site of the former TGI Friday’s on Walt Whitman Road in Huntington Station.  Photo by Connor Beach

The Bryant is set to open early next month at the site of the former TGI Friday’s on Walt Whitman Road in Huntington Station. Photo by Connor Beach

New Restaurant To Open… A Long Island restaurant group is set to open its newest eatery at the site of the former TGI Friday’s in Huntington Station. The Bryant (100 Walt Whitman Rd., Huntington Station) is set to open in early December and is owned by Roslyn-based Poll Restaurants. The restaurant group was founded by brothers George and Gillis Poll and currently operates six other restaurants in Nassau. The Bryant is a tip of the cap to the Poll’s flagship steakhouse Bryant & Cooper in Roslyn. The restaurant is set to feature an American bistro style menu and will offer lunch, dinner and brunch options. In addition to the large indoor dining area, The Bryant will also have space for outdoor dining. Stay tuned for our Foodies’ take on the food and décor once The Bryant opens next month.

 Connecticut-based Harbor Harvest is planning to open its second retail location at the edge of Huntington Harbor of 135 New York Avenue in Halesite.

Connecticut-based Harbor Harvest is planning to open its second retail location at the edge of Huntington Harbor of 135 New York Avenue in Halesite.

A Fresh Harvest On The Harbor… The shores of Huntington Harbor in Halesite could soon be the newest place to buy locally sourced food. Harbor Harvest plans to open its second retail location at 135 New York Avenue in Halesite. Harbor Harvest’s mission is “to provide convenient access to healthy, nutritious food sourced from local and regional farms and artisans at a price that supports the local community,” according to the company website. The company currently operates a store in Norwalk, Connecticut and is looking to expand into the Halesite location by spring or summer of 2019. The store in Norwalk includes a café, bakery, butcher, deli and products from local vendors, and the company plans to model the new location in the same way. Harbor Harvest owner Robert Kunkel, of Norwalk, travels to farms on Long Island and Connecticut to find local produce and meats. Harbor Harvest features a menu of sandwiches and daily specials, as well as a unique brand of coffee called Harbor Joe. For more information on Harbor Harvest visit Harborharvest.com.

Winter Farmer’s Market… Those fresh produce lovers who are sad to see the end of the farmer’s market in Huntington village have a new market to look forward to. The Huntington Winter Farmer’s Market is set to kick off on Sunday, Dec. 9 with a new location at Jefferson Primary School at 253 Oakwood Road in Huntington. The market is indoors so weather won’t stop vendors from showing off their local, fresh creations of cheese, bread, pickles and more. The market is scheduled to take place every Sunday from Dec. 9 until March 31 from 9 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Taste The Flavors of Mexico At Oaxaca

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Feel transported to Mexico, as Spanish ballads play and the smell of meat, beans and rice wafts in the air of Oaxaca.

When owner, Alejandro Gonzalez, came to East Northport over 24 years ago he never expected to stay more than a year, but he fell in love with Long Island. He knew something was missing, an authentic Mexican restaurant with flavors like the ones he grew up with. Gonzalez took it upon himself to bring these flavors to the Island, opening Oaxaca in Huntington Village 23 years ago and later Quetzalcoatl.

Working as the restaurant’s chef for 17 years, Gonzalez brought recipes from his travels around Mexico as child to his menu.

“I am standing on the shoulders of woman,” Gonzalez said. “The recipes in Mexico were designed by women, the best dishes in the world could not compare to chile nogada that was created by nuns… Most of my recipes are from Mexico, so I did not invent them but I respect and try to do the best I can to match the love they put into their cooking.”

Oaxaca offers daily specials on top of their flavorful menu. One of their specials is the previously mentioned, chile nogada that is famous for being served to the fighters who won Mexico’s independence by nuns when the army passed through Puebla. The exquisite delicacy masters the flavors of savory and sweet, as shredded pork and beef are covered by a poblano pepper, pecans, pomegranates and the signature white sauce, made of grandeur liquor, fruits, cream, and almonds.

The sauce is the centerpiece of chicken covered in mole sauce ($18.95). The sauce gives the meat a rich flavor unlike any other. The dark, velvety sauce has 32 ingredients, with seven dried peppers as the base complemented by cocoa, raisins and plantain.

Nothing compares in popularity to their Mexico City tacos ($4.25/taco). The dish takes it name from the Mexican capital known for having the best tacos in the country. There are a variety of meat choices and we enjoyed the skirt steak tacos topped with three different salsas, radishes and cilantro and served on two mini-flour tortillas. It was clear why it was a beloved dish at the restaurant.

“Here at Oaxaca, every day is taco tuesday,” Gonzalez said. “The people who come know we have the best tacos, so we don’t assign a day for that.”

If you’re looking for a fun twist on tacos, consider trying their tostadas ($8.95). Tostadas give a tasty crunch with crispy corn tortillas as opposed to the soft flour tortillas. They’re topped with shredded flank steak, refried beans, sour cream, guacamole, lettuce, pico de gallo and cotija cheese.

Gonzalez remembers his mother making tostadas for him as a child and hopes to do her proud.

“I want people feel at home and relaxed here,” Gonzalez said. “Like I said, I’m close to the women in Mexico and they are happy when they see their kids and husband eating good. Me too, when I see the people eating are happy, then I am very happy.”

Two more plates that make you feel like you’re eating at your abuelitas are pork tamales ($12.95) and the chimichanga ($13.95). The tamales come wrapped in a corn husk that makes the pork tender while giving it a unique flavor. Chimichangas are a Mexican-American dish with fried chicken and cheese in a tortilla like a burrito.

“When people ask me the principles of Mexican food. I say, the first rule of Mexican food is there are no rules,” Gonzalez said.

No Mexican feast is complete without a sweet treat, our Foodies highly recommend the churros ($4.75), a  sugar covered pastry oozing with yummy filling, and flan ($4.25), a scrumptious cake with the perfect consistency.

Oaxaca
385 New York Ave.
Huntington Village
631-547-1232
Cuisine: Mexican
Atmosphere: Colorful and cultural

Let Someone Else Cook For Thanksgiving

 Sandbar’s Berkshire Pork Chop with roasted potato with apples, baby spinach, and apple cider jus is one of the options for diners looking to eat out on Thanksgiving.

Sandbar’s Berkshire Pork Chop with roasted potato with apples, baby spinach, and apple cider jus is one of the options for diners looking to eat out on Thanksgiving.

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

Halloween has come and gone, and it’s time to start thinking about plans for Thanksgiving dinner. This is an especially exciting time of year for the Foodies because we love to eat. Hosting Thanksgiving dinner can be a stressful experience for even the most seasoned home cooks. Why not leave the cooking up to the professionals, and simply enjoy the holiday together with family and friends? Restaurants across the Town of Huntington will be open on Thanksgiving Day. They will be setting up, cooking and cleaning up delicious meals that are sure to leave you and your loved ones satisfied.

Bonwit Inn
1 Vanderbilt Pkwy., Commack
631-499-2068
Bonwitinn.com

The Bonwit Inn in Commack is offering a special menu on Thanksgiving. The menu features a Roast Turkey entrée ($27) with sausage stuffing, pan gravy, cranberry sauce and candied sweet potatoes for those looking to have a traditional meal. The menu also features plenty of other choices. Appetizer choices include New England Clam Chowder ($8), Baked Clams ($10) and Fried Calamari ($13). Beef Short Ribs ($28) with mashed potatoes, crispy onions and a Chianti wine reduction, and Filet Mignon ($36), cooked to order with roasted cipollini and compound cabernet herb butter, will satisfy the meat eaters in any party. Roasted Cauliflower Pasta ($22) featuring cavatappi spiral pasta over a braised leek puree provides a nice diversity in the menu. For dessert, Rice Pudding ($8) with whipped cream, cinnamon and berries is worth leaving room for.

Del Frisco’s Grille
160 Walt Whitman Rd.
Huntington Station
631-296-1821
delfriscosgrille.com

The Thanksgiving menu at Del Frisco’s features two holiday entrees and a selection of traditional sides that will have you feeling like you’re at home for the holidays. Herb and Citrus Butter Roasted Turkey ($27) and Honey Dijon Pork Tenderloin ($31) are both served with mashed potatoes, brown gravy and cranberry sauce, and can be paired with Sweet Potato casserole ($9.50), Apple-sage Sausage Stuffing ($9.50) or Buttered Green Beans ($8) for a true Thanksgiving feast. Dishes from the regular Del Frisco’s menu like Cheesesteak Eggrolls ($13.50) and the 16-ounce Prime Ribeye will also be available.

Harbor Mist
105 Harbor Rd., Cold Spring Harbor
631-659-3888
Harbormistrestaurant.com

Diners can enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving dinner with a stunning view of Cold Spring Harbor at Harbor Mist. The restaurant is offering a prix fixe menu on Thanksgiving that includes three courses for $49 per person. The six appetizer options include Roasted Indian Corn and Pumpkin Soup with marshmallows and Eggplant Rollatini with spinach and ricotta cheese. The entrees feature Baked Stuffed Flounder Fillet served with crab meat, shrimp, scallops and lobster coral sauce and Roasted Pork Ossobuco with braised red cabbage, cardamom sweet potato puree and Vermont maple glaze. There is also a “Pilgrims Diner” on the menu. It includes slow roasted New Hampshire free range turkey with turkey sausages and local apple stuffing, candied sweet potatoes, country whipped potatoes, string beans, home made cranberry sauce and giblet pan gravy.

Jonathan’s Ristorante
15 Wall St., Huntington
631-549-0055
Jonathansristorante.com

Jonathan’s is serving their Thanksgiving specials from 2 p.m.- 8 p.m. The holiday themed dishes include Butternut Squash Soup ($10), Wild Mushroom Ravioli ($26) with black truffle butter, morel mushrooms and asparagus or Risotto del Giorno ($32) venison sausage, cranberries, chestnuts and sweet peas. The Thanksgiving option is Roasted Turkey ($33) with sausage and mushroom stuffing, French string beans, regular and sweet potato purée, root vegetables and cranberry sauce. In addition to the Thanksgiving specials, Jonathan’s full dinner menu will also be available, and the restaurant will also offer 20 percent off all bottles of wine priced $60 or more.

Mill Pond House
437 E. Main St., Centerport
631-261-7663
Millpondrestaurant.com

The Mill Pond House in Centerport will once again be open for Thanksgiving, serving up a menu that includes holiday specials. The restaurant is also offering Thanksgiving To-Go for those who want to host a Thanksgiving party in their own homes without the hassle of cooking for a crowd. The deal serves between eight and 10 people for $375, and includes a 15-pound turkey, mushroom stuffing, mashed Yukon and sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts with bacon, sautéed green beans, gravy, cranberry sauce and a choice of pumpkin or pecan pie. Orders for the to-go deal must be placed before Nov. 19.

 

Sandbar
55 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor
631-498-6188
Lessings.com

The Thanksgiving menu at Sandbar combines both traditional holiday, dishes and some of the restaurants regular favorites. To start, Shaved Brussels Sprouts ($12) served with red onions, apple, Parmesan, lemon and walnuts is on the menu just under Duck Tacos ($16) with daikon, jalapeño and hoisin sauce. Entrees include Roasted Turkey ($30) served with stuffing, sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, cornbread and gravy and Berkshire Pork Chops ($32) served with apples, baby spinach, and apple cider jus. A slice of Classic Pumpkin Pie ($12) with whipped cream sounds like a good way to end the meal.

SIDE DISH: Taste NY; LI Restaurant Week; Retro Pricing

 Long Island Welcome Center hosts a Taste NY networking event with Suffolk Alliance of Chambers of Commerce, Nov. 14, 4-8 p.m.

Long Island Welcome Center hosts a Taste NY networking event with Suffolk Alliance of Chambers of Commerce, Nov. 14, 4-8 p.m.

Local Food and Local Connections…
The Suffolk County Alliance of Chambers is slated to host a Taste NY event at the Long Island Welcome Center at 5100 Long Island Expressway between exits 51-52 eastbound. The event is not only a chance to sample great food, but also serves as a casual networking opportunity with members of local chambers of commerce from around Suffolk County. The Welcome Center is part of the state’s Taste NY campaign and features a Taste NY Market and a farmers’ market. Attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy complementary food and drinks from local companies that produce products on Long Island and around New York State, while meeting new people and making lasting business connections. The event is free to attend on Nov. 14, 4 p.m.-8 p.m. Email suffolkchambers@gmail.com for more information or visit events.constantcontact.com to register for the event.

 Piccola Bussola Ristorante is celebrating its 25th anniversary with family style menu options at rollback prices every Tuesday in November.

Piccola Bussola Ristorante is celebrating its 25th anniversary with family style menu options at rollback prices every Tuesday in November.

Party like it’s 1993… Piccola Bussola Ristorante (970 West Jericho Tpk., Huntington Station) is celebrating 25 years in business this month. The restaurant is offering rollback menu prices every Tuesday in November to celebrate the occasion, which means there are still three more opportunities to take advantage of the ’90s prices. The restaurant’s menu will feature family style plates at rollback prices. The family style dishes are portioned so two people can share the meal. Thriving for a quarter century in the restaurant business is never easy, especially in a competitive market like Huntington. Celebrate the success of a local restaurant with some great deals. To make a reservation at Piccola Bussola, call 631-692-6300.

 

Long Island Restaurant Week… There are still a few more days to enjoy a night out during Long Island Restaurant Week. The event, which is presented by Long Island Restaurant and Hospitality Group, includes a three-course prix fixe menu for just $29.95 that lasts until Sunday, Nov. 11. There are over 150 participating restaurants across Nassau and Suffolk County are taking part and 20 from the Town of Huntington. The prix fixe menus are available every night the restaurants are open except Saturday when it may only be offered until 7 p.m. Participating restaurants have the opportunity to offer items on the prix-fixe menu with an additional charge, but there must be at least three choices on the menu for each course that satisfy the $29.95 price range. Beverages and gratuity are not included in the deal. From Huntington village and Huntington Station to Commack and Melville, take this opportunity to experience what the town’s vibrant dining scene has to offer. The participating restaurants can get pretty busy during this week, so make sure to call ahead and make a reservation. Visit longislandrestaurantweek.com for more information and to find the list of restaurants taking part in the deal.

Joanina Stays Authentic For 19 Years

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Over 19 years, Joanina has established itself as an authentic Italian experience that can make you feel you’ve been transported to Tuscany.

Joanina began as a gourmet deli, and progressed into a cozy restaurant known for simple but delicious pasta dishes. As word got out and demand increased, owner Bobby Oliva expanded the dining room and opened the Wine Shop next door in 2009.

“We didn’t just start like a restaurant and open our doors,” Oliva said. “We kinda melded into it, I would say. We had the deli business and we just slowly did the restaurant, saying let’s see what happens.”

The restaurant has been a family affair. Oliva’s late father crafted wooden tables and many of the dishes come from family recipes.

“We’re very family-oriented. I’m always here on the floor. We’ve had the same staff we’ve had for years,” Oliva said. “One of the best compliments I hear is when people come here and leave they say, ‘There was just something about being in here that felt like home.’”

It’s easy to feel you are in someone’s villa. The restaurant creates a romantic atmosphere for couples, but can also be a place for families to share time together over classic plates.

To start, the Carciofi alla Griglia ($12) is  light artichoke salad packed with flavor. The  pan seared long stem artichokes atop a bed of spinach are dressed with a balsamic vinaigrette and shaved parmigiano. Keeping things light, the Melanzane al Pomodoro e Basilico ($10.95), is a wonderful starter for any eggplant lover. The thinly sliced eggplant is cooked in the restaurant’s wood oven and covered in fresh tomato basil sauce, with shaved ricotta salata.

The oven has been in the establishment for 25 years and has become a focal point of the cuisine.

“We do a lot of cooking in the wood oven, we make the fish, lamb, and chicken in the wood oven,” Oliva said.

Hot from that oven, Joanina’s Pizza Bianca con Speck ($15.95) is a white pizza with smoked prosciutto, mushrooms and white truffle oil drizzleand fresh mozzarella.

“Some people just come in for a salad, a piece of pizza and a glass of wine,” Oliva said.

But if you want something more filling, you can’t go wrong with the Pollo Scarpariello ($23), the restaurant’s most popular dish. The wood oven roasted chicken, homemade sausage and potatoes with garlic, lemon and rosemary, and spicy cherry peppers give it a kick that brings the dish together without overwhelming it.

“It’s nothing too nouveau or fancy, it’s simple and fresh ingredients,” Oliva said.

Anatra Arrosto ($25) is roast Long Island duck breast with caramelized onions and sauteed spinach with a balsamic reduction drizzle.

Another mouth-waterishing entree is Sogliola Francaise ($23.95), filet of sole covered in breadcrumbs, oregano and fresh herbs, with a lemon wine sauce and tomatoes with fresh basil on top.

To finish it all, the tiramisu that was made that day was light and creamy, with blueberries and whipped cream on the side to add to its beautiful presentation. Much of the produce served comes from farms out East, making it as fresh as possible. Along with that, many of the pastas and sausage are made fresh daily.

“We like to do everything in house, so its homemade and fresh,” Oliva said. “When you need it, it’s there.”

Restaurant Joanina
35 Gerard Street
HuntingtonVillage
631-549-2727
restaurantjoanina.com

Cuisine: Italian
Atmosphere: Rustic and cozy
Appetizers: $6-$18.95
Salads: $7-$22
Entrees: $9-$29.95
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, noon - 10 p.m.; Friday, noon - 11 p.m.; Saturday, 5-11 p.m., Sunday, 5-9:30 p.m.

SIDE DISH: Finley's At 25... Meet The Spaghetti-visor

 Finley’s of Green Street is celebrating 25 years in Huntington village.

Finley’s of Green Street is celebrating 25 years in Huntington village.

Finley’s Celebrates 25 Years: A long standing Huntington village restaurant will on Friday night kick off a year of celebration to mark 25 years in business. Finley’s of Greene Street (43 Green Street, Huntington) has become an institution since Dr. John Finley and his wife Sandy Finley purchased the bar, which was then called Garvin’s, in 1993. “People were calling it Finley’s before we even opened, while we were struggling for a new name, so we went with the flow and named it Finley’s,” Sandy Finley said. “My husband was a practicing dentist at the time, and I was a social worker, but we soon had to devote all our time to Finley’s.” John Finley passed away in November 2010, but his wife has continued running the bar and restaurant with her son Shannon. The Huntington Chamber of Commerce is set to hold a ribbon cutting at 6 p.m., Friday at the restaurant to commemorate the anniversary. Finley’s will have a party to commemorate the occasion. Willie Steel, the first musician to perform at Finley’s 25 years ago, will provide the musical backdrop for the party, while complimentary hors d’oeuvres, fun food and half-priced drinks will be served from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. The party will continue when Steel and his original band, Steel Poney, perform starting at 8:30 p.m. Make your way to Finley’s on Friday evening to reminisce about the good times and make some new ones.

 

 Huntington Spaghetti-visor Chad Lupinacci donned an apron and chef’s toque to dish out the food to seniors at Huntington Senior Center’s Italian Festival.

Huntington Spaghetti-visor Chad Lupinacci donned an apron and chef’s toque to dish out the food to seniors at Huntington Senior Center’s Italian Festival.

MEET ThE Spaghetti-visor: Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci put his Italian heritage to good use earlier this month when he served up classic Italian fare at the Town of Huntington Senior Center’s Italian Festival. Lupinacci joined seniors from around the Town of Huntington for an Italian fest of spaghetti and meatballs, followed by a cake adorned with an Italian flag made of icing provided by King Kullen. The event took place at 423 Park Avenue in Hutngington. Lupinacci donned an apron and chef’s toque, and took up a spot behind the line dishing out the food to seniors. “Celebrating Italian Heritage Month is always fun because of all the great Italian foods we can enjoy,” Lupinacci said. The Town of Huntington Senior Center first opened its doors on March 18, 1974 with the goal of providing a nutritious meal to all Town of Huntington residents over the age of sixty. The center now two locations, nine clubs, and over 2,500 members who participate in the lunch program, activities and educational programs.

 PSEG’s Paul De Benedetto of East Northport helped sort and pack apples for delivery to food pantries across Long Island.

PSEG’s Paul De Benedetto of East Northport helped sort and pack apples for delivery to food pantries across Long Island.

Picking A Good Cause: A group of PSEG employees volunteered their time at the Island Harvest Food Bank in Hauppauge earlier this month to help send a classic fall food to people in need. Paul De Benedetto, of East Northport, was among the employees who helped sort and pack 9,386 pounds of apples for delivery to food pantries, soup kitchens and churches across Long Island. “With only a couple of weekends left in the apple picking season, having so many PSEG Long Island volunteers to help sort and pack helped fill a critical need,” Island Harvest Food Bank’s president and CEO Randi Shubin Dresner said. Employess from PESG Long Island routinely volunteer their time at Island Harvest to support events such as the annual turkey drive, working the Giving Garden and packing apples. “Our employees are always ready to step up and volunteer for worthwhile causes serving our communities,” PSEG Long Island manager of community outreach, George Coburn said. “This particular event combined a day of camaraderie and community service that was really enjoyable for our participating employees.”

It All Comes Together At Parea

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com


Get a taste of nostalgia and delicious Greek food at Parea, the recently opened successor to the beloved Mediterranean Snack Bar on New York Avenue in Huntington.

Many who loved Mediterranean Snack Bar during its 43 years in business were sad to see it closed by owner, Steve Soulellis over 10 months ago. But when Soulellis was approached by family friend, Niko Papavasilopoulous, about buying the restaurant from him, Soulellis knew he could trust him to carry on the recipes.

Papavasilopoulous has stayed true to his word of keeping the recipes the same. The only changes: he spruced up the dining rooms.

“It’s a little brighter, we painted the walls and changed a few colors around, but it still gives that nostalgia to people,” Papavasilopoulous said. “I knew we needed that in the beginning”

Papavasilopoulous’ is 100-percent Greek, and grew up working in his parent’s diner, Plainview Diner.

“I was trying to be not like the diner,” Papavasilopoulous said. “I want people to sit, eat and relax, because at the diner everyone wants to eat and leave.”

It is easy to get wrapped up in the rustic atmosphere and want to chat and dine all night. With an array of appetizers that are perfect for sharing, Parea is a great place to socialize. The hummus ($8.95) is made from ground chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and tahini served with a side of pita bread. The fresh flavor pairs well with bread or on meats.

Or get the traditional horiatiki salad ($17) that brings the flavors of tomato, feta and cucumber in harmony. Keeping with Soulellis’ tradition, the restaurant buys tomatoes from farms on the east end of Long Island.

“Fresh Long Island tomatoes, what’s better than that? It’s basically farm to table,” Papavasilopoulous said.

The restaurant had a soft opening and as word has gotten out and they have grown increasingly busy.

“I wanted to ease into it… Just learning the system here is different than most restaurants because we have the snack bar side and the kitchen side and we have to time it up,” Papavasilopoulous said.

It was important for Papavasilopoulous to keep the snack bar that had made Soulellis’ business a success in his restaurant. Here people can order a gyro and have it in under a minute. The gyro ($9) of ground lamb and beef, is topped with tomatoes and onions served with yogurt and onion sauce.

“As far as the food, I thought I may have to change a few things, but these guys are so on point. They cook it the same way my mom and grandma did,” Papavasilopoulous said.

One traditional dish that Parea features is moussaka ($20.95) with layers of eggplant, ground beef, and potatoes, topped with bechamel.

We were treated to a freshly caught whole broiled bronzini ($28.95) that was being offered as a special that day, with spinach casserole. The fish was juicy and even better with fresh squeezed lemon drizzled on top. Soulellis used to fish for his restaurant and Parea hopes to continue this tradition of freshness.

Although, this is Papavasilopoulous’ first time working in a Greek restaurant, he is thrilled to be honoring his culture by serving its cuisine. The name Parea comes from Greek and means “a group of people who derive great pleasure by simply being together.” He and his family hope they can bring this enjoyment to those who dine at Parea.

“Opening this makes me feel more at home,” Papavasilopoulous said. “I want everybody to be able to come in here and enjoy it.”

Steak Deal, Bar Crawl, Dia de los Muertos

 Porterhouse Night at IMC in Huntington features a $50 porterhouse steak and 50 percent off any bottle of wine over $99

Porterhouse Night at IMC in Huntington features a $50 porterhouse steak and 50 percent off any bottle of wine over $99

Jumbo Sized Steak Deal… Meat lovers rejoice. IMC Restaurant & Bar (279 Main St., Huntington) is continuing their bi-weekly Porterhouse Night. Every Wednesday and Thursday hungry couples can try IMC’s 42-ounce Porterhouse steak for $50. The steak feeds two people, and- like all the steaks at IMC- is extremely tender and well-cooked. The Porterhouse is paired with bundles of rosemary and thyme to dip into a side of au jus sauce made from the beef’s own juices. In addition to the steak special, diners can also enjoy a glass of wine with dinner. The deal features 50 percent off all bottles of wine over $99. A full-bodied red pairs perfectly with the flavorful meat. Call IMC at 631-824-6222 to make a reservation for one of the best deals in town.

Brunch and Blooms… Come for the flowers, but stay for the brunch at Babalu (286 New York Ave., Huntington) on Saturday, Oct. 27 when Alice’s Table presents Brunch & Blooms. Attendees can learn the art of flower arranging while enjoying the delicious Cuban-themed brunch menu that Babalu has to offer. The event runs from 1 p.m.-4 p.m., and the flower arranging can take a couple of hours to complete. While learning how to create beautiful flower arrangements, there will be homemade spiced sangria available that will set the mood to create a festive fall centerpiece. At the end of the brunch, each attendee will bring home a handcrafted pumpkin centerpiece for their own autumn get together. Tickets for the event coast $65 and are available at Alicestable.com.

Dia de los Muertos… Besito Mexican (402 New York Avenue, Huntington village, 631-549-0100) comes alive for “Dia de los Muertos,” otherwise known as the Day of the Dead. In this post-Halloween, south-of-the-border tradition celebrants wear wild makeup, dance and parade, and build altars to honor the souls of relatives who have departed this earth. Or you could just head to Besito on Nov. 1 and 2 to enjoy traditional Mexican dishes designed specifically for the holiday. Staff will have their faces painted in the traditional Sugar Skull or Calaca style, traditional “ofrendas” will be displayed, and guests will be surprised with sweet comforts and warm tequilas. Tequila tastings both days, 4-6 p.m., feature Partida tequila on Nov. 1; and Patron tequila Nov. 2.

Spooky Suds… Huntington village will once again play host to the annual Halloween Bar Crawl hosted by Long Island Social Events. Participants are encouraged to dress up and follow the crawl as it stops in some of the hottest spots in Huntington’s active bar scene. The crawl kicks off at 2 p.m. at Repeal XVIII (30 New Street, Huntington), formerly P’s and Q’s, and also features stops at Christopher’s, Nags Head, Huntington Village Tavern and McKeown’s Pub - previously Mary Carroll’s. The crawl stops at each bar for an hour, and once inside participants can enjoy $2 Coors and Millers, $3 well drinks and $4 shots. The event wraps up at 8 p.m., but the night doesn’t have to end there. There are plenty of restaurants in Huntington to explore if you get hungry after a long day on the crawl. You must be 21 to participate. Tickets for the event cost $25 and can be purchased in advance online at Longislandsocialevents.com.

IMC Debuts New Brunch Menu

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Since opening its doors four years ago, Imperial Meat Company has earned a place as one of Huntington’s most chic hangouts with a menu that will amaze.

Through thoughtful crafting the chef at IMC has developed a brunch menu that takes many of the foods they offer and breakfast-fyed them, while introducing some innovative twists on classic breakfast items. After seeing the rise of ‘brunching’ in town, IMC threw its hat into the ring.

“Brunch and breakfast Sundays are popular around town,” Cesar Hernandez, general manager of IMC, said. “That’s why we want to give people the choice with our menu.”

Nowadays, going out to brunch with your friends or family is a social event that allows people to catch up over some delicious food. The fun can last all morning with bottomless mimosas, bloody marys, and red or white sangria offered for only $20.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is sure to satisfy brunchers, who can dine under gorgeous chandeliers with an upbeat jazz soundtrack playing in the background. You can’t miss the interesting floor design that features illuminated bottles.

“We have a little bit of everything,” Hernandez said. “We get people for brunch who are walking around and see this and they decide to try it. But we also have our people who come in three or four times a week for dinner who now know we serve a brunch menu.”

The restaurant is owned by Imperial Meat Company, a Brooklyn-based distributor of meats to restaurants for 22 years. This gives IMC Restaurant an edge in all things meat.

“We are the one restaurant in Long Island using the single bred Wagyu beef, so that gives us the chance to serve in Long Island this type of exclusive product,” Hernandez said.

Wagyu is the restaurant’s signature meat. The cows’ restrictive diet and daily massages increase circulation, giving the meat its prized flavor.

All of the appetizers that are typically served during lunch and dinner can still be enjoyed during brunch, to satisfy any person’s lunch appetite. Wagyu meatballs ($12) served with pickled green daikon and spicy mayo, topped off with a coconut and garlic crumble and cilantro absolutely melt in your mouth and have exquisite flavors that come together in harmony.

Not a meat eater? Do not fear. The restaurant still satisfies with seafood and vegetarian options. I absolutely loved the littleneck baked clams ($14) breaded with a mixture of heavy cream, spinach, and lemon sauce and served with oregano, garlic and lemon. Sweet chili shrimp ($16) has a delicious breading of crispy aioli, toasted coconut and garlic, served with fried shallots and spicy aioli mayo sauce.
An option that works as both a dinner and lunch dish but can still be just as delicious for brunch is their burrata ($17) with heirloom tomatoes, tomato vinaigrette, pesto and filone toast. This creamy mozzarella resembles a poached egg and has a similar result when cut with a knife to allow the gooey center to come out. While we dined, the experience was notably friendly and courteous.

“We are the meat company and put our own brands in our restaurant,” Hernandez said. “But our hospitality side is number one, the biggest specialty is that everyone is passionate about what they do. It makes us a little bit different, you get a warm welcome right when you walk in, from the front desk to the servers to the bartenders and even the culinary side in the kitchen.”

Still, the wagyu is not to be missed during brunch with two slabs of maple glazed bacon with barrel aged maple syrup ($12). The double smoked flavor makes the meat stand out as well as the pickled red onions on the side.

“We have different types of products we offer, so we have particular items no one has, like our meats. It’s exclusive to us,” Hernandez said.

If you’re looking for a larger portion of steak, try the 16 oz. Wagyu skirt steak ($39) that can be covered in veal and 40 year old port wine demi glace with the rosemary and thyme. Slow cooked for 36 hours, the steak is delightfully tender. The classic breakfast meal steak n’ eggs ($19), features a 12 oz. prime NY strip steak, two eggs any style, and hash brown potatoes.

“No one can serve wagyu steak and eggs like us,” Hernandez said.

The new brunch menu was debuted this past Sunday and can be enjoyed Sundays from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

“I would say there is something here for everybody,” Hernandez said. “From the menu to the atmosphere and music to the type of service and the drinks.”

IMC Restaurant

279 Main Street, Huntington Village
631- 824 - 6222
Cuisine: International Steakhouse
Atmosphere: Elegant and modern
Prices: Appetizers: $10-$21, Brunch Classics: $9-$24, Lunch/Dinner: $19-$85.
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 4-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 4-11 p.m.; Sunday, noon – 9 p.m.

'86' The Hot Sauce

 Soe Like It Hot… And Spicy is throwing in the towel. The hot sauce purveyor has 25-percent off everything before it closes for good later this month.

Soe Like It Hot… And Spicy is throwing in the towel. The hot sauce purveyor has 25-percent off everything before it closes for good later this month.

Bad news for hot sauce fans… Owner Lonny Root announced last week that Some Like It Hot and Spicy will be closing permanently on Saturday, Oct. 20. The hot sauce shop opened at 380 New York Avenue in Huntington village in 2015, when Root set out to educated locals on the flavors of spice. Sort of like a sommelier of spice, Root used a tasting table to help customers find just the right level of heat. The small shop stocked nearly 350 different kinds of hot sauce, and also hosted a website where spice addicts could order their fix online. “Thank you to all of our loyal customers!” a post on the shop’s Facebook page said. “We will be having a 25 percent off sale on all merchandise in the store as well as other savings.” An outpouring of support from regulars on Facebook thanked Root for bringing the heat to Huntington. Root encouraged customers to get some early Christmas shopping done over the next three weeks while the store is still in business.

 Sushi Day has opened in the Southdown Shopping Center.

Sushi Day has opened in the Southdown Shopping Center.

Sushi fans rejoice… There’s a new sushi takeout joint in town. Sushi Day recently opened their doors at 212 Wall Street, Unit C in Huntington. Located in the Southdown shopping center across the street from Southdown Market, Sushi Day is open from Monday-Saturday between 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. The small spot specializes in takeout. Despite it’s cozy interior, Sushi Day’s menu is full of Japanese specialties, including sushi, sashimi, noodles and entrees from the kitchen. Our Foodies will have to investigate and see how Sushi Day stacks up to the other Japanese restaurants in town.


Bring Your Tastebuds:
A night of tastings from some of the area’s top chefs will tickle your tastebuds while lending a hand to homeless veterans on Long Island. In fact, Tastebuds is what General Needs Ltd. is calling their fundraiser set for Oct. 11, 6:30-9:30 p.m. at Appliance World in Huntington Village. In addition to chefs cooking up their magic in the appliance retailers’ demonstration ovens, the event will feature a live auction, raffles and good times, all to benefit the veterans served by General Needs. Tickets are $60 in advance, $75 at the door; visit generalneeds.org or call 631-266-1672.

Old Fields Rolls Out Revamped Menu

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

When Old Fields Barbecue opened its door on New Street in Huntington village just over a year ago, the succulent smell of freshly smoked meats wasn’t the only thing that came flowing out of the kitchen.

Hungry diners flocked to the restaurant to experience a taste of authentic southern-style barbeque right here on Long Island.

Owner David Tunney, who also runs Old Fields locations in Greenlawn and Port Jefferson, said visits to barbecue joints around the county helped to create the vision for Old Fields Barbecue.

“We really wanted to bring authentic barbecue to Huntington,” Tunney said. “We all really love barbecue, and we thought it was something that Huntington lacked.”

Tunney and his partner Rory Van Nostrand created in Old Fields Barbecue a restaurant that “brought Nashville and Brooklyn together.” The traditional counter service that is typical of many country barbeque joints melds seamlessly with a hip, vintage décor.

After a yearlong learning curve for the counter service idea, Tunney said that there were some changes in the works.

Customers used to have to order their food from the counter, drinks from the bar and pick up their orders when they were ready; Tunney said customers can now sit down after they order their food from the counter, and a staff member will take their drink order and bring the food to the table.

This subtle change in service will still afford customers the authentic experience of surveying Old Fields’ selection of fresh smoked meats at the counter, while providing a level of convenience that many expect in a Huntington restaurant.

In addition to the new and improved counter service, chef Scott Goldstein has been working on some new menu items that incorporate a few of the favorites from Old Fields in Greenlawn.

“We are known for our burgers in Greenlawn, so people were asking if they could get a burger in Huntington,” Tunney said.

The new burger, which Goldstein planned to debut this week, is formed from Old Fields unique blend of beef and topped with lettuce, tomato confit and a smoked cheddar cheese. The burger may look simple, but one taste and you’ll understand why customers have been clamoring.

The burger is perfectly cooked letting the complex taste of the beef shine through. The tomato adds sweetness, while the cheddar provides the familiar smoky taste of a barbecue restaurant.

Another new menu item is the Blackened Mahi Mahi sandwich topped with fresh slaw. Although a fish sandwich might seem out of place in a barbecue restaurant, this one is not to be missed. The sear on the meaty portion locks in the flavor and moistness of the fish, while the slaw provides a coolness that helps balance the sandwich.

Tunney said brisket, pulled pork and pulled chicken sandwiches, fried chicken and onion rings and fries are also slated to be rolled out as part of the new Old Fields menu.

In addition to the new items, the Old Fields menu will still feature the favorites from the smoker, including the Beef Brisket ($13/half pound). Tunney said the brisket is the backbone of the menu, and the tender, juicy meat is a pleasure to eat.

The Ribs ($13/half rack) are another classic that Goldstein said take about four hours to cook. The local oak that Old Fields uses in their smoker leaves a deep smoky flavor and a crispy bark on these ribs.

The Pork Sausages ($5 each) have a little kick that floods onto the palate with each snap of the skin.

No barbecue restaurant is complete without a selection of southern sides, and at Old Fields the sides are as good as the meats.

The Baked Beans ($5) has some chunks of burnt ends mixed in that makes this side a must have.

For the non-carnivores in the group, the Beet Salad ($7) isn’t just a vegetarian afterthought in this meat-centric restaurant. The salad is well-dressed, refreshing and packs a sweet punch from the colorful beets.

When paired with a craft cocktail like the Electric Kool-Aid or the Old Fashioned with banana infused bourbon, a meal at Old Fields Barbecue is sure to leave you satisfied and thinking about your next visit.

Old Fields Barbecue
15 New Street, Huntington
631-923-1515
Ofbarbecue.com
Cuisine: Southern Barbecue
Atmosphere: Casual
Price: Meats: $5-$13; Side: $2-$7
Hours: Monday-Friday, 4 p.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, noon- 11 p.m.; Sunday, noon-9 p.m.

Making mozzarella... Pairing rum and chocolate... more Babalu

 Cheesemonger Jessica Affato will show you how to pull mozzarella in a class at Northport’s Nest on Main.

Cheesemonger Jessica Affato will show you how to pull mozzarella in a class at Northport’s Nest on Main.

NOT YOUR MOMMA’S STRING  CHEESE: Once you’ve tasted fresh made mozzarella cheese, you won’t want to go back to store-bought. There’s no comparison. You can learn how to make fresh mozzarella in your own home with Jessica Affatato of Northport’s Harbor Cheese and Provisions. Affatato will teach a class in mozzarella making at Nest on Main in Northport on Oct. 4, 6:30-8:30 p.m. The beginners course will kick off with a tasting of different "pasta filata" styles then dive in to hands-on mozzarella making,. So roll up your sleeves and get ready for a hands-on cheese-making experience. There will also be a sampling of Italian appetizers and beverages served by Nest on Main. Fee is $55 per person; payable online at nestonmainmarket.com.

FOR CHOCOLATE LOVERS: No, rum lovers! Well, one can love both. Do so at a rum and chocolate tasting event at The Whaling Museum & Education Center in Cold Spring Harbor on Thursday, Oct. 4, 6:30-8 p.m. Prof. Jenny Anderson of Stony Brook University will take you on a tasting journey, weaving a story of personalities, rum, chocolate and the sea. Must be 21 and over. Tickets: $20 in advance, $15 for members, and $35 at the door and include chocolate and rum punch tastings. Register online at cshwhalingmuseum.org.

DINNER AND A SHOW: Just like the old days… diners will enjoy a three-course dinner at Nocello’s (843 Fort Salonga Road, Northport) while being serenaded by Anita Starlite and Tommy Lynn performing a musical tribute to Barbra Streisand and Neil Diamond. Dinner and the show is $49.95 per person, tax included. It’s Friday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m. Make reservations by calling 631-262-8565.


MORE BABALU: Chef Alan Gotay, a pro-boxer turned restaurateur, learned to cook in his mama’s kitchen. After his boxing run, which included bouts at The Paramount, Gotay turned to his other love, cooking. From a tiny kitchen at 286 New York Avenue in Huntington, Gotay cooks up Cuban classics and some Mediterranean-influenced originals to an almost equally small dining room. The best seat in the house? At the bar, right next to a window on the kitchen through which Gotay literally passes those creations to wait staff. With a few years under his belt, Gotay is getting ready to expand into recently vacated space next door. That means more room for  Dominoes night on Wednesdays, Ladies Night on Thursdays, and live music and dancing Fridays. Babalu’s open Tuesday through Sunday. Check out the specials and menus at Babaluny.com.

Grab A Taste Of Jamaica At Mobay Breeze

 Chef DelRoy Watson, top right, is cooking family recipes of traditional Jamaican fare at Mobay Breeze in Huntington village.  Long Islander News photos/Connor Beach

Chef DelRoy Watson, top right, is cooking family recipes of traditional Jamaican fare at Mobay Breeze in Huntington village. Long Islander News photos/Connor Beach

By Connor Beach

cbeach@longislandergroup.com


Walking down Wall Street in Huntington village you may hear the faint sounds of Reggae music drifting down the alleyway between Buenos Aires and Samurai, or you might hear rhythms and rhymes in the Clinton Street parking lot.

Should you follow the music, you’ll end up at the doors of Mobay Breeze. One of Huntington’s newest restaurants, Mobay Breeze serves up traditional Jamaican and Caribbean cuisine.

Opened for just two weeks, the kitchen at Mobay Breeze is under the direction of Jamaican native chef DelRoy Watson. He said the people of Huntington have, so far, been receptive to the unique flavors of Caribbean fare.

 Specialties include a Stew Chicken Dinner ($9/small, $11/medium, $13/large) served over rice with fried plantains and vegetables.

Specialties include a Stew Chicken Dinner ($9/small, $11/medium, $13/large) served over rice with fried plantains and vegetables.

“It’s going great,” Watson said.

Watson’s family emigrated from Jamaica after his grandparents found success in America, but the chef is staying true to his roots in the kitchen at Mobay Breeze.

“Jamaican food is flavorful,” Watson said. “The special blend of herbs gives the cooking more natural flavors.”

The small 15-seat restaurant on the back side of Gerard Street brings more diverse cuisine to Huntington’s already varied dining scene.

“We wanted to give people a taste they can’t find anywhere else,” Watson said.

 Oxtail Dinner ($15.50/medium, $18/large) served with a side of vegetables, fried plantains, rice and Rasta Pasta.

Oxtail Dinner ($15.50/medium, $18/large) served with a side of vegetables, fried plantains, rice and Rasta Pasta.

For Watson, “cooking is a family tradition,” and the menu at Mobay Breeze is full of family recipes.

Oxtail, curry goat, jerk chicken and Jamaican patties are just a few of the traditional dishes in which Watson has infused a taste of home.

The Stew Chicken Dinner ($9/small, $11/medium, $13/large) is served with rice, fried plantains and vegetables. The combination of the chicken and the rice really worked in this dish. The rice soaked up the Jamaican flavors and spices from the stewed chicken. The fried plantains added a nice texture to the dish, and the cabbage helped cut through the savory flavors.

Chef Watson’s Oxtail Dinner ($15.50/medium, $18/large) is also served with a side of vegetables, fried plantains and rice. The texture and flavor of the beef Oxtail is reminiscent of short ribs. The tender meat falls off the bone and melts in your mouth. The beef is the perfect base to allow for the Caribbean flavors to shine. Our Oxtail also came with a side of the colorful and aptly named Rasta Pasta.

Mobay Breeze might be a little hard to find, but the restaurant also offers take out, delivery and catering options.

The casual, family atmosphere at Mobay Breeze is reflected in the time and effort that Watson puts into the food; each bite makes you feel like you are sitting down for a family dinner.

He said, “What I enjoy most is seeing the look on someone’s face when they sit down and really enjoy the meal.”

Foodie_MobayBreeze_5.JPG

Mobay Breeze
46 Gerard Street, Unit 1
Huntington Village
631-338-8329

Cuisine: Jamaican
Atmosphere: Casual
Prices: Appetizers: $1.75-$11.95; Dinners: $9-$26
Hours: Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.- 10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 9 a.m.- midnight; Sunday, 9 a.m.- 7 p.m.

Faz’s Makes It Consistently Tasty

 Tex-Mex ground beef served over rice with cheese and onion ($9.90) is one of Faz’s specials.  Long Islander News photos/Connor Beach

Tex-Mex ground beef served over rice with cheese and onion ($9.90) is one of Faz’s specials. Long Islander News photos/Connor Beach

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

As other restaurants come and go, Faz’s Tex Mex Grill has remained a staple in Huntington for over two decades.

The Long-Islander first interviewed Faz Esmizadeh in July 1993 soon after the experienced chef first opened his casual Southwestern eatery in Huntington. Esmizadeh said he just wanted to “make healthy, high-quality food at a fast pace for a good price.”

Over 25 years and two moves later, Faz’s original mission hasn’t changed.

Faz’s Tex Mex moved to its current location at the corner of Wall Street and Gerard Street in Huntington village five years ago, but continues to serve quick, tasty food in a laid back atmosphere.

Over the years Faz’s has developed a loyal following of regular customers who frequent the restaurant to sit down for a casual lunch or take out a quick bite on the run.

 Faz’s manager Mark Mangaya says consistency is the key to Faz’s 25 years of success in Huntington.

Faz’s manager Mark Mangaya says consistency is the key to Faz’s 25 years of success in Huntington.

The key to success is consistency, according to Faz’s manager Mark Mangaya.

“We have a lot of repeat customers, and they keep coming because the food is consistently good,” Mangaya said. “We see a lot of people who used to come into Faz’s when they were younger, and now they bring their kids here to eat.”

The recipes haven’t changed much since Esmizadeh first opened the restaurant, and Mangaya said people like to know that the food is going to have the same great taste every time they order.

“The food isn’t overly complicated,” Mangaya said. “It’s simple, casual and it always has the same flavor.”

Faz’s has made some changes to keep up with the times. The restaurant recently began accepting all major credit cards to accommodate those customers who often find themselves without cash.

Mangaya also said the restaurant has a curbside pick-up option for customers who call ahead to place their orders.

Faz’s menu has plenty of items, from traditional hard and soft shell tacos to Tex-Mex pizza, for hungry diners to choose from.

 Tex-Mex Tostada Salad ($9.21), featuring ground beef served in a crisp flour tortilla with lettuce, jalapenos, tomato, salsa ranchera and a mix of cheeses, taste great with a Jarritos ($2.00), a popular Mexican soda.

Tex-Mex Tostada Salad ($9.21), featuring ground beef served in a crisp flour tortilla with lettuce, jalapenos, tomato, salsa ranchera and a mix of cheeses, taste great with a Jarritos ($2.00), a popular Mexican soda.

Mangaya said Faz’s special ground beef is what gives many of the dishes on the menu a uniquely Tex-Mex flavor.

The Tex-Mex Tostada Salad ($9.21) features ground beef served in a crisp flour tortilla with lettuce, jalapenos, tomato, salsa ranchera and a mix of cheeses. The ground beef is full of flavor, and gets just a hint of spice from the jalapenos. The crispy tortilla “bowl” is perfect to scoop up the contents of this salad when broken apart into smaller pieces.

One of Faz’s specials is the Tex-Mex ground beef served over rice with cheese and onion ($9.90). This traditional Southwest fare is simple, yet all the flavors work well together. The saffron rice soaks up the flavor of the beef, while the cheese melts over the dish for a taste of cheesy goodness.

Whether waiting to pick up your favorite Tex-Mex dish or sitting down to enjoy your food at one of Faz’s tables, customers are sure to catch a few minutes of whatever soccer match happens to be playing on the T.V.

The casual atmosphere, friendly service and consistent cooking makes Faz’s a go to spot for many Huntington locals.

Faz’s Tex Mex Grill
28 Wall Street, Huntington
631-271-4333
faztexmex.com
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Atmosphere: Casual
Prices: Tacos and Quesadillas: $2.77- $10.96; Burritos and Enchiladas: $8.29- $9.67; Specials: $7.83- $10.96
Hours: Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.- 10 p.m.; Sunday, noon- 10 p.m.

Warm Welcome On The Menu At Kura Barn

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

When you walk through the door at Kura Barn in Huntington, you are greeted by a friendly face and a welcoming atmosphere.

The friendly face is usually that of Ayano Yamada or her husband Chef Makoto Yamada, who took over the reins at Kura Barn in 2007.

Ayano Yamada said her aunt, Noriko Morimoto, started Kura Barn in the late 1970’s as a gift shop and small Asian grocery store. The store opened as a restaurant in 1979, and has thrived in Huntington’s competitive dining scene ever since.

Yamada began working at the restaurant as a busser, where she learned to speak English and how to provide customers with an authentic Japanese dining experience.

Now, Yamada attributes Kura Barn’s continued success to her aunt’s original philosophy of customer service.

“My aunt wanted to create a family atmosphere where customers can enjoy the food with the staff,” Yamada said.

Yamada has continued the warm, welcoming atmosphere at Kura Barn that makes diners feel at home.

“We want it to feel like you are visiting your aunt or uncle’s house when you eat here,” Yamada said.

Kura Barn’s menu is a blend of traditional and contemporary Japanese cuisine that truly creates an authentic experience.

To start, Takoyaki ($6.50), one of Japan’s most popular street foods, gives diners an authentic taste of Japan. The ball-shaped snack consists of a flour-based batter filled with diced octopus topped with takoyaki sauce and mayo.

The dish is easy to eat, with a crispy exterior that holds the tender octopus. The sauce adds a touch of sweetness to the dish.

The dish evokes a feeling of home, Yamada said, because almost every family in Japan has a specially shaped takoyaki pan they use to make a unique version of the dish.

The Pork Katsu Curry ($11) is a uniquely Japanese style beef curry served with rice and pork cutlet.

Yamada described the dish as “Japanese Soul Food.”

The description fits perfectly. The curry has an intense depth of flavor and finishes with a subtle heat that pairs well with the crispy pork and rice.

On the cooler side, Fireworks Salad ($14) combines crunchy noodles, poached shrimp, avocado and mixed greens in a sesame-jalapeno sauce. The sauce is the star of this salad; it has a great sesame flavor and a little spice that highlights the flavor of the shrimp. The variety of textures also gives the dish a nice mouthfeel.

Tenzaru ($12.50) features cold soba noodles, shrimp and vegetable tempura and inari sushi. The tempura batter is crispy, while the inari sushi, sushi rice inside of fried tofu, provides a slightly spongy alternative. The dish is tied together by the dipping sauce, which lends its distinctly Asian flavor to all of the different components.

Finally, a visit to Kura Barn would not be complete without sushi and sashimi. The Sushi and Sashimi for Two ($60) lets diners try a variety of different fish. It includes tuna, yellowtail, salmon and whitefish, as well as a choice of sushi rolls.

Trained as a sushi chef in Japan, Chef Makoto Yamada serves up delicious, fresh pieces of fish that are crafted into works of art. The fish gives a refreshing burst of flavor to the dish, and the skillfully crafted rolls combine texture and flavor for a traditional taste of Japan.

The combination of authentic cuisine and a welcoming atmosphere have made Kura Barn a longstanding cornerstone of Huntington’s restaurant community.

 

 

Kura Barn
479 New York Avenue
Huntington
631-673-0060
kurabarn.com

Cuisine: Japanese
Atmosphere: Casual
Prices: Appetizers: $5-$14;
Entrees: $14-$24; Sushi and Sashimi: $14-$60; Rolls: $4-$14.50
Hours: Closed Monday; Tuesday-Thursday, 12-2 p.m. and 5:30-10 p.m.; Friday, 12-2 p.m. and 5:30-10:30 p.m.; Saturday, 5:30-10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 5-9 p.m.

Music And Food Jammin’ At Stella Blue

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

The music isn’t the only thing that grooves at Stella Blue in Huntington.

A self-professed “Dead Head,” owner Robert Koopman opened Stella Blue in 2014. The restaurant shares its name with a song by the Grateful Dead, and the walls of Stella Blue are adorned with posters, pictures and other memorabilia that is dedicated to the band.

From the classic jam band music that provides an ambiance to the giant mural of Jerry Garcia on the side of the building, the small restaurant on New York Avenue transports diners back to Woodstock in 1969.

You don’t have to be a hippie to enjoy Stella Blue. Open for breakfast and lunch, the restaurant puts a strong emphasis on serving up quality food to both take-out and sit-down customers.

“We put a lot of time into creating food with fresh, organic ingredients that appeals to everyone,” manager, Corina Elgart said.

In addition to their 100 percent organic iced and hot coffee, Corina said there are plenty of vegetarian dishes on the menu at Stella Blue, as well as a growing number of vegan options.

“It’s super important for our customers to have more vegan options on the menu,” Elgart said.

Elgart said an extensive amount of “experimenting and testing” went into the vegan dishes, which just recently expanded to include a vegan BLT and bacon, egg and cheese.

The Vegan BLT ($8.50) features lettuce, tomato and vegan bacon on Ezekiel bread with vegan mayo. The bread, which is made from grains that have been allowed to sprout before being milled into flour, provides a nice texture to the sandwich. The vegan bacon provided the salty, savory component of the sandwich to complement the fresh vegetables.

The Vegan Bacon, Egg and Cheese ($8.50) is actually made with tofu, an ingredient that took some trial and error to discover, according to Elgart. She said that prepackaged vegan egg mixes contained a lot of artificial ingredients, so the Stella Blue staff came up with an alternative that sticks to the restaurants mission of serving fresh ingredients.

The sandwich, which is also served on toasted Ezekiel bread, includes vegan bacon and vegan cheese.

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Stella Blue’s menu is also full of sandwiches, burgers and even fried chicken that is sure to keep any carnivore satisfied.

Stella’s Fries ($3.99), served with sea salt or Cajun seasoning, are crispy and fried to a perfect golden brown. The addicting Cajun seasoning has a strong pepper flavor that leaves a lingering hint of heat on the palate after you inevitably devour the entire basket of fries.

For breakfast lovers, the Scarlet Begonias ($8.75), also a Grateful Dead song, features two scrambled eggs, spinach, avocado, tomato and swiss cheese in a whole wheat wrap. The wrap holds all of the ingredients of this breakfast sandwich together nicely. The eggs are warm and fluffy, and the avocado adds an unexpected creaminess that works well with the cheese.

For lunch, the Guantanamo Bay ($12.99) is Stella Blue’s aptly named take on a traditional Cuban sandwich with pulled pork, ham, swiss cheese, spicy mustard and smoked pickled relish on a grilled hero. The pork has a sweet flavor that provides a nice contrast to the spicy mustard and the pickled relish.

Finally, some sweet options at Stella Blue include the Wilderness Cookie and Brownie, which are perfect for a snack after lunch, or the Energy Bite and Breakfast Bomb that can provide a pick me up after a morning workout.

Despite its small size and eclectic décor, the friendly service and casual atmosphere make Stella Blue a fun spot to grab a quick bite in Huntington.

 

Stella Blue
188 New York Avenue, Huntington
631-425-2583
stellabluebistrony.com

Cuisine: Breakfast and Lunch
Atmosphere: Casual
Prices: Breakfast: $3.95-$12.50; Lunch: $4.99-$15.99
Hours: Monday-Friday, 6:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.; Saturday, 7 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sunday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m.

 

East Northport's Del Fuego Spicing It Up

By Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

There’s definitely a spark at East Northport’s newest Tex-Mex restaurant.

Open for just over two months, Del Fuego Tex-Mex Kitchen’s fourth location in Suffolk County is injecting energy and spice into the local community.

The Del Fuego brand first started in 2011 in St. James, and later expanded to Babylon, Patchogue and most recently East Northport.

The restaurant’s warm, welcoming atmosphere is perfect for “small towns with tight-knit communities,” according to Del Fuego’s public relations manager Kelly Black.

Although Del Fuego, meaning “of fire” in Spanish, has four locations, Black said co-owner Joseph DeNicola ensures that the restaurants still have a “family owned” vibe.

With a large bar and an extensive collection of tequila, Black said Del Fuego has become a popular spot for happy hour among East Northport locals.

“The response from the community has been great since we opened the doors for lunch and dinner,” Black said.

In addition to happy hour, Del Fuego’s weeknight specials, including Taco Tuesday, keep the staff busy every day of the week.

“We really get a lively atmosphere here,” Black said.

Del Fuego’s Tex-Mex menu reflects the energy in the building. The menu features a variety of seasonal dishes, as well as some outside the box combinations.

One dish that exemplifies the creativity of the menu is the Lobster Quesadilla ($20) featuring lobster in a chipotle honey butter, roasted corn salsa, scallions and Mexican cheese. The unexpected combination of the richness from the lobster and the traditional southwest flavors works surprisingly well, while the corn salsa add a hint of sweetness and texture.

Another creative dish on Del Fuego’s menu is the BBQ Pork Fried Wontons ($12) featuring slow cooked pulled pork served with pumpkin seeds, mango barbeque sauce and red cabbage slaw. The crunchy wontons and the tang from the sauce combine to give this finger food an addictive quality.

Every Tex-Mex restaurant should have a good Guacamole, and Del Fuego certainly does. The Traditional Guacamole (MP) served with house-made chips includes lime, cilantro, red onion and pico de gallo. The acidity from the lime juice gives the dish a bright, tangy flavor, and the onions and pico de gallo add a nice mix of textures.

Some of the seasonal options at Del Fuego include a selection of Elote, or Mexican street corn. The Elote Verde ($3.75) features roasted Long Island sweet corn rolled in a mild green pepper mayo and cotija cheese served over a charred tomatillo sauce with fresh lime and cilantro. This Mexican street food is fun to eat. The sweetness of the corn and the smokiness of sauce make for a good pair of flavors.

Finally, our foodies couldn’t resist the Taco Trio ($15) with pulled pork, carne asada and chicken. These classic Tex-Mex tacos taste as good as they look, and the trio lets customers try a few of the options from Del Fuego’s menu. The carne asada was the star, but all of the meats were well seasoned. The soft flour tortillas held together nicely and formed a great base for the intense flavors.

With a commitment to fresh, local ingredients and an exciting menu, Del Fuego’s newest location is sure to burn its make into the East Northport restaurant scene.

 

 

Del Fuego
17 Hewitt Square, East Northport
631-651-9393
delfuegorestaurant.com
Cuisine: Tex-Mex
Atmosphere: Casual
Prices: Appetizers: $6-$18; Entrees: $11-$24
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.