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

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

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

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

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.”


Mobay Breeze
46 Gerard Street, Unit 1
Huntington Village

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

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
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

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

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

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.


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

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

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
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.

Black & Blue's New Chef Makes Changes

By Connor Beach

Black and Blue restaurant has been a staple of the Huntington village dining scene, but a new chef is looking to add his own personal touch to the menu.

For just over two month chef John Brill has been at the helm of Black and Blue’s kitchen, and already the chef, who has worked in kitchens alongside the likes of Bobby Flay, has injected new items and new life into the menu.

Brill, whose culinary background includes seafood restaurants like Fish on Main in Port Washington, has placed a strong emphasis on fresh ingredients and achieving consistency.

While Black and Blue’s menu still has plenty of the traditional chophouse dishes, Brill said his cooking doesn’t necessarily “follow the words on the awning.”

“It’s different from the previous chefs,” Brill said. “We are making a lot of very fresh seafood.”

In addition to more seafood, Brill said the restaurant has added some more casual items to the menu, including new pasta dishes.

The goal of the new menu is to “broaden horizons,” Brill said, and he praised the skill and dedication of the kitchen staff that he has brought on board at Black and Blue to help him implement the menu changes.

The flavor profile of the dishes at Black and Blue speaks for itself, but Brill’s attention to detail when planning the aesthetics of each plate means that each leaves the kitchen as a work of art.

“The way to compete in a restaurant market like Huntington’s is by offering the best quality we can,” Brill said.

That quality is evident from top to bottom on Black and Blue’s new menu.

Starters include Iron Skillet Meatballs ($12) featuring beef and pork meatballs, fresh ricotta cheese and red sauce. The casual appetizer option does not sacrifice flavor for simplicity, and the dish offers a hearty, tasty start to the meal.

The Baked Clams Oreganata ($10) is served with a lemon chardonnay sauce, and provides an approachable, classic seafood dish with a buttery flavor that even the strictest carnivores can appreciate.

An interesting take on another seafood classic is the Thai Style Calamari ($14) served with scallions, cilantro, peanuts, sesame seeds and sweet red chili. The crispy calamari packs a nice amount of heat without overpowering the Asian flavors from the peanuts and sesame that help to provide a good balance to the dish.

The Truffled Lobster Mac and Cheese ($16) featuring butter poached lobster, fontina, cheddar and smoked gouda cheeses and herb bread crumbs is deliciously decadent. The lobster elevates this creamy dish that will have your mouth watering before the first bite.

The range of menu items also includes a Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Flatbread ($15) with Italian sausage, garlic braised broccoli rabe, fresh mozzarella, olive oil and cured tomatoes. The thin crust of the flatbread has a nice crunch, and is big enough for the table to share.

The Fish Tacos ($11) feature crispy cod, fresh guacamole, jalapeno, cabbage slaw and mango salsa. The fresh fish pairs well with the spice from the jalapeno and the refreshing slaw for a nice summertime dish.

Black and Blue’s seafood entrees include a Signature Salmon ($28) that features Atlantic salmon with a crusting of lobster breading, crushed fingerling potatoes, sautéed spinach and truffle butter sauce. The beautiful piece of fish is cooked well and the truffle butter sauce will ensure that you finish every last bite on the plate.

The Nori Dusted Yellowfin Tuna ($30) exemplifies Brill’s attention to detail in the kitchen. The tuna is served rare with chilled noodles, arugula, shiitake mushrooms, cucumbers, carrots and a sesame ginger vinaigrette. The dish is full of color, from the perfectly rare tuna to the ring of crunchy cucumbers, and the Asian flavors provide a brightness to match the presentation.

Another example of Brill’s commitment to highlighting seafood is the Sautéed Shrimp and Scallops ($34) served with sweet corn vegetable risotto, sautéed spinach and lobster cream sauce. The sauce ties the dish together and provides a creamy compliment to the sautéed seafood.

Lastly, the Filet Mignon ($36) shows that Black and Blue still maintains part of its chophouse roots. The perfectly medium rare steak is served with whipped potatoes, seasonal vegetables and a red wine reduction. The beautiful cut of meat is yet another example of the well-rounded menu that customers can choose from at the revitalized “Seafood Chophouse.”

Brill and his talented staff execute the new and classic items on Black and Blue’s menu with the consistency and care that these fresh ingredients deserve.

Black and Blue.jpg

Black and Blue Seafood Chophouse
65 Wall Street, Huntington 631-385-9255  
Cuisine: Seafood Chophouse
Atmosphere: Casual and intimate
Prices: Appetizers: $8-$16;
Entrees: $23-$44
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.

Start The Presses: NY Panini Celebrates 10 Years

NY Panini is still reinventing itself after a decade on Huntington's Wall Street.

By Peter Sloggatt

New York Panini is celebrating its 10th anniversary by doing what they’ve done best all along. They’re reinventing themselves.

When Joe Quirke, a retired NYPD cop from Greenlawn, and his wife, Phyllis, opened the Huntington village take-out spot a decade ago, it was under the La Bottega name. Not quite a franchise, but an independently owned part of a small chain of successful eateries, the restaurant found its groove on Wall Street with a hot-off-the-presses menu of made-to-order Panini and salad offerings that was a hit with lunchtime crowds and folks looking for a fast dinner on the go.

But the constraints of working under someone else’s rules eventually became too much and the family-owned business and its corporate parent went their separate ways, bringing about the first of several reinventions.

Under a new name, New York Panini, the storefront eatery has flourished and continually tickled and tweaked everything from its menu to the décor to way they serve your meal. And the addition of Joe and Phyliss’ son Chris to the management team a few years back has only accelerated that process.

Chris Quirke was a veteran of the food industry when he joined the team a few years back. He started as manager with the food concession at Nassau Coliseum, later helped launch Shake Shack at Citifield, and did a stint with the guys that run New York City-based Union Square Café. After leaving for Florida to attend college, Chris came home to join the family business.

He’s spiced things up, both literally and figuratively.

On the menu side, his preferences for spicy fare and a tendency to tinker with the menu offerings produced some new hits, starting with the Brooklyn ($9.95), a rustic roll stuffed with spicy hot sausage, fresh mozzarella, hot peppers and grilled red onions. Mostly a creation of “the guys in the kitchen,” the sandwich was a hit. So too were additions like the Buffalo ($11.75), comprised of chicken cutlet, bacon, fresh mozzarella, red onion, red peppers and classic buffalo sauce with ranch or blue cheese dressing. And the next big hit, “coming soon,” says Chris, will be the Fuggediboutit combining a spicy breaded cutlet, homemade spicy mayo, pepper jack cheese and sriracha peppers.

The introduction of wraps to the menu also took a happy collaborative change when, after tinkering with the sandwich contents in the kitchen, “my guy says we’re throwing it on the grill, right?” Chris said, adding that customers are enjoying the lightly grilled wraps.

The menu spans seafood, pork, beef, Italian cured meats and beef, in addition to chicken, with a healthy dose of vegetarian options as well. Fresh meats, cheeses, vegetables and sauces in tantalizing combinations on ciabata or krispina, come off the Panini press with efficiency. Nearly three dozen salad options ($6.95 to $15.95), pasta dishes made to order ($13.50 to $20.95), and appetizer favorites ($3 to $11.25) round out the menu. Family-friendly New York Panini offers a kids menu ($3.25 to $8.45) as well.

The ever-evolving restaurant recently launched a new project that extends the food day well into the night. After a few weeks of construction on the back patio area, and a few nights of soft opening, New York Panini has gone late night. From 8-11 p.m., Thursday through Saturday nights, patrons can stop by to enjoy live entertainment, beer on tap from Sand City Brewery, as well as late night snacks like the newly introduced Gnarly Fries, a basket of spicy chicken strips, Cajun fries with spicy sauce named in honor of local band Gnarly Kharma.

The band plays Aug. 4, offering a chance to have your music, and eat it too.


New York Panini: 9 Wall Street, Huntington 631-271-3540
Cuisine: Fast, casual
Prices: Appetizers: $6.75-$11.95; Pastas: $13.50-20.95; Salads: $6.95 to $15.95 Panini: $8.50-$12.75

SIDE DISH: Prix-Fixe At Jonathan's, Brunch For Early Birds, Porterhouse For 2

Jonathan's Ristorante offers a $35 Summer  prix fixe  menu that you can enjoy on their new patio.

Jonathan's Ristorante offers a $35 Summer prix fixe menu that you can enjoy on their new patio.

Summertime Deals…
Jonathan’s Ristorante
(15 Wall Street, Huntington, 631-549-0055, offers a $35 Summer Prix Fixe menu all night long from Sunday through Friday. The three-course menu includes appetizer options like the crab cake with frisee and apple salad or polenta with sautéed wild mushrooms. Entrees include salmon served with an heirloom potato and string bean salad and dill vinaigrette or Long Island duck breast with Brussels sprouts and blackberry sauce. Diners looking for something sweet can finish the meal with one of four dessert options that include a flourless chocolate cake or tiramisu. The price fixed menu is available in addition to Jonathan’s regular dinner menu.

The Shed will open earlier, serving breakfast and lunch from 10 a.m. daily, 9 a.m. weekends.

The Shed will open earlier, serving breakfast and lunch from 10 a.m. daily, 9 a.m. weekends.

The Early Bird Gets Brunch…
Early birds will be happy to hear that The Shed (54 New Street, Huntington, 631-385-7433, announced last week that the restaurant would open its doors an hour earlier. The restaurant will now begin serving up breakfast and lunch items from its menu starting at 10 a.m., Monday-Friday. The Shed’s popular weekend brunch will also start earlier. The restaurant will open at 9 a.m. on weekends for anyone looking to get a jump on the brunch crowd. Brunch options on The Shed’s menu include Avocado Toast and Sunny Eggs ($13.50) with watermelon radish, tomato and arugula, or the Chicken and Waffles plate ($16.25) with habanero honey.

Steakhouse Specials…
Mac’s Steakhouse (12 Gerard Street, Huntington, 631-549-5300, is now offering a decadent date night option with its Porterhouse Special. The special menu, available Monday through Thursday, includes two appetizers, a salad, a dry aged porterhouse steak for two, two sides and a dessert for $125. The four appetizer options are baked clams, fried calamari, tenderloin meatballs and mozzarella and tomatoes. The dessert choices include apple crisp, warm chocolate cake and caramel cheesecake. On Fridays, Mac’s also offers a Surf and Turf dinner for two. The menu includes a choice of salad to start, and entrée course that features a 16 ounce filet mignon and a seafood platter with four scallops, a six ounce salmon and a six ounce lobster tail, two sides and a choice of dessert.