La Piazza Puts A Spin On Italian Standards

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

ake a seat at La Piazza, an upscale urban eatery that puts their twist on Italian classics.

First opened in Plainview over 25 years ago, the restaurant brought a long history of creating tasty dishes when it opened in Melville eight years ago.

Chef Tommy Sexton and his partners deliver a sophisticated dining experience. With a background in Italian cooking and management experience from a young age, Sexton has shaped La Piazza’s menu as “modern American-Italian” with dynamic flavors.

“You don’t have to travel into the city to have a great night out and experience that style and flavors,” Sexton said.

The restaurant’s expansive menu offers a variety of pastas, salads, pizzas, meats and appetizers. An interesting take on an Italian starter, capellini cakes ($12.50), is similar in form to rice balls but deliver a richer flavor with pan fried angel hair pasta complemented by green peas, parma prosciutto, and mozzarella. The pink sauce below gave the dish a soft, creamy element that worked with the fried outer layer.

For a seafood lover, the shrimp cocktail ($17) is not only beautiful, but the lemon wedge squeezed on the jumbo “Chop House” style shrimp with a traditional cocktail sauce is a decadent delight.

La Piazza updates its menu every six months or so to introduce new plates while keeping customer favorites in play.

“We are constantly developing new dishes and putting our own spin on old-fashioned recipes,” Sexton said.

A classic wedge salad ($12) takes the word “wedge” seriously. A chunk of fresh, crisp iceberg lettuce is topped with beefsteak tomatoes, warm applewood smoked bacon and crumbled bleu cheese dressing.

Another dish delivered with greens is burrata served atop a bed of spring greens with slices of toasted baguette. The creaminess of the cheese is in harmony with the greens and balsamic dressing. It truly was heavenly how rich it was.

La Piazza also offers weekly specials, bringing back older dishes alongside new ones Sexton develops. The chicken chop parmigiana ($26) takes the Italian classic to the next level. The  parmesan-crusted chicken breast was tender and juicy, while the mozzarella oozed on top. The “Old World” Italian sauce had a wonderful taste and consistency.

La Piazza prides themselves on making everything in house from sauces to soups to desserts.

“Everything is fresh and ingredients are delivered every day,” Sexton said. “From that, we make everything from scratch. Our spaghetti is fresh, but all of our other pastas are imported from Italy.”

In May, Sexton introduced a full brunch menu at the Melville location. Although, some might not associate Italian and breakfast food together, breakfast with an Italian twist is anything but ordinary. La Piazza demonstrates that pizza really can be eaten for every meal with their uovo e prosciutto pizzette ($16). Cooked in a brick oven, the pizza is topped with melty fior di latte mozzarella, fresh eggs, prosciutto, red onion and arugula.

“It’s breakfast with a little spin,” Sexton said.

A popular order, eggs benedict ($14), hits a high note with its hollandaise sauce generously covering poached eggs, Canadian bacon and a toasted english muffin. The dish is united by its delectable flavor.

On the sweet side, La Piazza’s signature pancakes ($12) are thick, fluffy, and don’t let up on sweetness with syrup, bananas and powdered sugar. Also simple and delicious, a fresh fruit platter ($12) on skewers is accompanied by a honey-mint Greek yogurt sauce.

Finally, the brunch occasion was complete with classic refreshments, like Tito’s bloody mary ($13) or prosecco mimosa ($10). The bourbon bloody mary ($14) has a little more bite with bold flavors and crispy bacon as garnish.

“Brunch is typically a Sunday event, but I offer both days because there’s really nowhere to have breakfast around here,” Sexton said. “I feel we do very well for an Italian place.”

La Piazza
512 Walt Whitman Rd, Melville
631-425-0500
lapiazzaonline.com

 Cuisine: Italian
Atmosphere: Modern and hip
Price: Appetizers: $10.50-17, Pizza: $12-17, Pasta: $18-25, Entrees: $16-35
Hours: Sunday-Monday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.; Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Classic Comfort Fare At Sweet Hollow Diner

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

The buzz of chatter and smell of the fresh coffee filled the air, as Monday morning blues disappeared at Sweet Hollow Diner.

The lively place was packed for a weekday, and after sampling their cuisine it’s clear why customers choose it for a quick pick-me-up. Whether they’re craving breakfast, lunch, dinner or dessert, Sweet Hollow Diner delights with an expansive menu that delivers on variety. Make breakfast sweet or savory, with an array of eggs, griddle specials and bagels. Or satisfy any night time appetite with an assortment of soups, sandwiches, burgers, wraps, Italian specialties, Greek delights, steak and seafood entrees, and munchies.

Sweet Hollow Diner serves up classic dishes in a family atmosphere. Children’s drawings adorn the walls of the restaurant and give the old-school establishment a youthful touch. Longtime wait staff greet regulars like family, instantly recalling names and favorite orders.

“It’s a friendly, neighborhood place, where everyone knows each other,” co-owner Chris Arvans said.

Sweet Hollow has a history of warmth and community since 1977 when Arvans’ father opened the Melville diner. He previously owned another diner in the area but jumped at the chance to purchase the location.

“He thought it was a good opportunity,” Arvans said. “This was prior to having the Marriott hotel, when the area was still developing.”

As the surrounding neighborhood grew up around them, Sweet Hollow Diner has evolved to meet the demand. Despite the chaotic scene that took over the restaurant on Monday morning, staff moved speedily like a well-oiled machine to make sure dishes came out piping hot.

Nothing says breakfast like eggs, especially when they get a fun twist on bagels and lox. The Nova Scotia lox, eggs and onions omelette ($12.95) served with toasted bagel and home fries was everything it promised and more. It turned the classic on its head with eggs being the perfect protein that brought the meal together. The lox had a wonderful, light taste that found balance with the onions.

Sweet Hollow Diner omelettes have become a favorite with many, who enjoy the diversity of fillings.

“People like the create your own omelette, where you can put whatever ingredients you want,” Arvans said. “It’s a breakfast staple.”

Another breakfast classic, Challah French toast with fresh bananas and whipped cream ($9.85) was a sweet sensation. The soft, spongy bread absorbed the thick syrup and oozed with sweetness, while the ripe bananas brought in a pure, natural flavor.

Sweet Hollow Diner uses fresh ingredients to craft their entire menu. It is important to them that everything is made in-house. Instead of purchasing turkey slices from a supplier, the restaurant cooks and slices their own.

“Everything is made on the premises from the soups to sauces,” Arvans said.  “We have an in house baker that makes fresh desserts throughout the day. It’s important for things to taste authentic.”

No detail is neglected by Sweet Hollow Diner, which hopes to deliver a delicious dining experience every time. Even a simple wrap, like the buffalo chicken wrap ($11.95) served with French fries was a smash. The loaded wrap had a heaping amount of tender buffalo chicken, that was complemented by a tangy blue cheese dressing. Crispy fries tied the meal together.

Sweet Hollow Diner delivers huge portions that often fill both a customer’s belly and a to-go box. The jumbo deluxe beef burger ($10.15) is quite the undertaking with a 5 oz. burger on a toasted bun stacked with bacon, onion rings, cheese, lettuce and tomato. The juicy burger was well cooked and superbly seasoned. Arvans describes the restaurant’s offerings as wholesome, comfort food.

“A lot of people want to have food to take home with them,” Arvans said. “I think the value is really worth it.”

 Sweet Hollow Diner
100 Broad Hollow Road, Melville
631-549-0768
sweethollowdiner.com
Cuisine: American
Atmosphere: Vintage and casual
Price: Griddle specials: $7.65-10.40, Eggs: $6.55-12.95, Sandwiches: $4.85-14.70, Entrees: $8.35-21.95, Salads: $9.95-16.95
Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 6 a.m. - 1 a.m.; Friday-Saturday, 6 a.m. - 2 a.m.

Whole Foods Coming… Wild Game Dinner… Comedy Dinner

Whole Foods Market is set to open the company’s fourth store on Long Island in Commack on April 3.

Whole Foods Market is set to open the company’s fourth store on Long Island in Commack on April 3.

Whole Foods In Commack: Whole Foods Market is set to open the company’s first store in the Town of Huntington in April. Whole Foods, which is owned by the online retail giant Amazon, plans to hold a grand opening for the new store at the site of the former King Kullen location at 120 Veterans Memorial Highway on April 3. The King Kullen closed its doors in 2017. The Austin, Texas-based supermarket chain claims to “seek out the finest natural and organic foods available, maintain the strictest quality standards in the industry, and have an unshakeable commitment to sustainable agriculture,” according to the company website. Whole Foods was founded in 1980, and now has nearly 500 stores in North America and the UK, including other locations on Long island in Lake Grove, Jericho and Manhasset. Whole Foods is currently hiring employees for the Commack store. For information visit Wholefoodsmarket.com.

Wild Game Dinner: The South Shore branch of New York Ducks Unlimited is hosting a Gourmet Wild Game Dinner at La Parma II Restaurant (452 West Jericho Tpke., Huntington). The six-course dinner and wine pairing event will feature dishes from game meats including duck, boar, elk, venison and ostrich. La Parma’s executive chef and owner Anthony Castelli will prepare the menu. Each dish will be paired with wines from Napa Valley-based Trujillo Wines. La Parma has been serving up family-style Italian dishes in Huntington for three decades, but the special game menu on March 11 from 6:30 p.m.-10 p.m. will pay tribute to the goals of Ducks Unlimited. Ducks Unlimited is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of wetlands and associated upland habitats for waterfowl and other wildlife. The dinner will include a small silent auction and a few raffles to help support the conservation efforts of Ducks Unlimited. Tickets to the event cost $150 per person and include the six-course meal, wine parings, beer, water and soda. The dinner is limited to 80 people. For tickets and questions contact Joe Campanelli at 516-942-0426.

 Three-Course Comedy: La Piazza (512 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville) is set to host a night of “Laughter and Linguini” next month. The adult-only event will feature a three-course dinner followed by comedy show. The event kicks off at 7 p.m. on March 7 with an appetizer, entrée and dessert dinner from the kitchen of the classic Italian restaurant and wine bar. Dinner will be followed by the comedy performance hosted by Robert Altmann. The show features comedian John LaRocchia and Paul Bond is the headlining act. The comedy will feature stand-up and improve acts. Dinner and a show cost $79 per person. Seating for the event is limited, so comedy lovers are encouraged to call 631-425-0500 to make a reservation.

 

Satisfying Specials At BiVio

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Get a taste for the finer things in life at BiVio Ristorante, an Italian eatery that boasts sensational, ever-changing specials and a welcoming wait staff.

The restaurant, opened seven years this November, serves a variety of Italian-fused dishes from duck to fish to veal. Some of the staff have been there since the beginning and work to uphold a reputation for “attention to detail” service.

“We’re a very comfortable, relaxed, family-style restaurant,” floor manager, Tom Stevens said. “We welcome all guests.”

Stop by on a weekend night and BiVio is a lively joint with drinks pouring and live music in the lounge, that can be heard throughout the restaurant. BiVio likes to support local talent by booking local musicians on Friday and Saturday night. They also host  an “Oldies” dinner and show every other month, complete with performances and dancing from past eras.

Or just pop by for a drink during their Happy Hour, Tuesday through Friday, 4-6:30 p.m. at the bar. Specials feature House wines, cocktails and cosmos for $6 and an assortment of bar bites for $7.95. BiVio is known for serving white wines, martinis and tap beer in a frosted glass to keep it chilled. The martini list has signature cocktails from The Appletini to a Chocolate Martini. With specials like these, it’s easy to see why BiVio is the spot many groups choose for their celebrations and events.

“It’s a meeting place type of atmosphere, we’re accustomed to hosting a lot of groups,” Stevens said.

Start off your meal with a selection of fresh Italian bread and raisin bread. Both were scrumptious and perfect for dipping in sauce or just olive oil.

A tasty appetizer for seafood lovers is the jumbo shrimp cocktail ($16.95). Accompanied by special cocktail sauce, that is made in house, the shrimp was delectable. BiVio’s cuisine takes inspiration from Italian elements but ranges in flavors. Stevens describes the food as comfort and “home-y.”

“It’s a complete menu that we offer, it’s universal,” Stevens said. “We also offer specials that change every day.”

A few specials to check out when dining are the rib-eye steak with mashed potatoes and broccoli or the fusilli with sausage and broccoli rabe. Every day the chef makes fresh pasta by hand like fettuccine, pappardelle, lobster ravioli and fusilli. This freshness made all the difference with the sausage and broccoli rabe that came together in harmony, united by a light sauce with hints of garlic.

Another special that switches with the seasons is the roasted duck. We were treated to this prime meat covered in raspberry glaze and sauteed apple slices with a side of wild rice. Served on the bone, the tender meat easily falls off. The apples give it a fruity, fresh taste that is balanced by the raspberries’ bittersweet tartness. Depending on the time, the chef will pair the duck a l’orange for a more citrus flavor.

As you feast, an attentive wait staff, is constantly circling throughout the restaurant and helping one another out to make sure every table is satisfied.

“It’s a hands-on staff, we only hire people with knowledge of the business,” Stevens said. “They have to be well-versed in specials, since we do them as an oral presentation and they have to know the menu well.”

BiVio’s famous dish, pappardelle bolognese ($18.95) did not disappoint. The fresh wide fettuccine covered in their homemade meat sauce was bursting with flavor. The sauce was a perfect consistency, with a generous portion of ground beef. BiVio wants to make their customers happy and are willing to substitute or change menu items to their liking.

“Everything is made to order so it’s fresh and we can alter anything,” Stevens said. “I had a regular come in who wanted the pappardelle bolognese but wanted to substitute it for gnocchi. We mix and match.”

Finish off with an Italian sweet treat, like tartufo or cheesecake, that bring sweet to a new level.

 

BiVio Ristorante
1801 E Jericho Turnpike
Huntington
631-499-9133
bivioristorante.net

Cuisine: Italian
Atmosphere: Rustic and cozy
Price: Appetizers: $11.95-16.95, Pasta: $18.95-26.95, Fish: $24.95-28.95, Meat: $23.95-42.95
Hours: Monday, closed; Tuesday-Thursday, noon - 10 p.m.; Friday, noon - 11 p.m.; Saturday, 3-11 p.m.; Sunday, 3-9 p.m.

SIDE DISH: Konoba Open… National Margarita Day… Dinner and a Movie…

A worker installs the sign at newly opened Konoba at the former Hush Bistro. Konoba is Croatioan

A worker installs the sign at newly opened Konoba at the former Hush Bistro. Konoba is Croatioan

It’s All Croatian To Me: One of the newest restaurants in Huntington village will also bring a new cuisine to town. The sign above 46G Gerard Street now reads Konoba, the Croatian word for tavern. The new restaurant occupies the cozy spot recently vacated by Hush Bistro. Konoba will strive to offer diners “Croatian influenced Modern European menu in an elegantly designed space with bar, bench, high top, and lounge area seating,” according to the restaurant’s website. Chef Bruno Oliveira and owner Daniel Pedisich also run Bin 56 on Stewart Avenue in Huntington, and is a venture into a different style of food. The menu includes sharing portions of Shrimp and Crab Croquettes ($16) with lemongrass chili sauce or Fried Burrata ($11) served with spicy marinara and toast points. Some of the Croatian specialties on the menu include Hobotnica, or grilled octopus, ($23) served with tomato, arugula, red beet aioli and olive oil, or Cevapčiči ($18) featuring minced beef, lamb, pork, fries, red onion and ajvar mixed vegetable spread. For more information visit Konobahuntington.com.

If you  have  to celebrate National Margarita Day on Feb. 22, Besito’s Margarita Tamarindo with passion fruit tamarind puree is a great way to do it.

If you have to celebrate National Margarita Day on Feb. 22, Besito’s Margarita Tamarindo with passion fruit tamarind puree is a great way to do it.

Margarita Day: It’s National Margarita Day on Feb. 22, and Besito Mexican (402 New York Ave., Huntington) is celebrating. The restaurant is offering two for one deals on all specialty margaritas from noon-3 p.m. The featured margarita, Margarita de Tamarindo, is worth of the holiday. It includes Milagro Reposado tequila, chile ancho reyes, tamarind-passion fruit puree, agave nectar, fresh squeezed lime juice and a chile piquin salt rim on the glass. From 4 p.m.- 6 p.m. Besito will host a complimentary tequila tasting featuring Roca Patron Tequila. The restaurant will also be handing out three $100 gift cards to margarita lovers who enter to win. Find out more information at Besitomexican.com.


Food Films:
Get dinner and a show at the Cinema Arts Centre (423 Park Ave., Huntington) when the community theater hosts the fifth annual Long Island Food and Film Feast. The event is sponsored by iEat Green and Slow Food North Shore and will include documentary short films focusing on different parts of the food system. Each film will be paired with a different dish created alongside that film. Guests will be served a dish after each film while listening to a speaker. The dishes include grass fed Turkish lamb or veggie meatballs, or vegan barbeque jackfruit sliders. The film “Farm to Pint” will be accompanied by North Fork Brewing Co. IPA and Lager. The event is designed to feature local food and the people who produce it. Tickets to the event cost $60 for members and $70 for non-members, and more information is available at Cinemaartscentre.org.

You’re Family at Kashi, And Family Eats Well

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Kashi has garnered a remarkable reputation among diners in Huntington Village with exceptional flavors and service.

Opened eight years ago, Kashi of Huntington has proven to be such a success that four more locations have been opened in Syosset, Bellmore, Rockville Center and Stamford, Connecticut. The Japanese restaurant offers authentic cuisine, an expansive sushi bar and lounge and a hip vibe. Customers know and love Kashi for its welcoming atmosphere and delicious dishes.

“We have a lot of returning customers and they’re more than just a customer,” manager Ben Poh said. “We treat them like friends and family, we know and greet them by name and we see them many times a week. We create a home feeling.”

Kashi’s menu was created by the restaurant’s owner, a former sushi chef who crafted plates with an attention to detail for presentation and flavor. Since his departure to focus on the other restaurants, Kashi has encouraged their chefs to let their creativity flow and create their own dishes.

“Anytime our chef creates a new item, we’ll put it on a special menu that we share with our customers,” Poh said. “We ask them what they think and collect the feedback. We make adjustments to make things better until we are sure it’s the right product.”

For Poh, it’s crucial that customers are honest and offer criticism on new dishes, before they roll it out at all the restaurants. A new appetizer to hit the menu is Blue Point Oysters with Cajun Sauce ($11/six), a recipe with inspiration from Louisiana. The fresh oysters are grilled with a little bit of cheese and a sauce that kicks. The smooth texture remained while a zesty array of seasoning gave it a spicy and interesting taste.

Even though, Kashi specializes in Japanese cuisine, the chefs are not afraid to pull inspiration from other cultures to heighten the flavor.

“A lot of restaurants have an oyster bar, where they serve fresh oysters,” Poh said. “But we wanted to put a twist on it… If we’re gonna serve them, it has to be something new and different.”

Kashi’s Petite Filet Mignon ($14) is an appetizer to tempt your tastebuds. Served with fresh mashed potatoes and covered in wasabi butter, the steak was perfectly seasoned and cooked. It was juicy, thanks to the wasabi butter that melted in and gave a hint of spice without overwhelming the taste.

“In terms of flavor, the kitchen chef creates a taste that will inspire people,” Poh said. “We believe there’s four palettes on the tongue: sweet, spicy, sour and bitter. He has to find a balance between the combinations.”

Kashi chefs take pride in their presentation, which is evident in the Sushi and Sashimi for One ($29). This gorgeous array of fish features pieces of tuna, yellowtail, salmon, and red snapper, along with spicy salmon sushi roll. Each piece was precisely cut and had a fresh and luscious taste.

“The fish we have to guarantee as fresh, we don’t want there to be any surprise flavor,” Poh said. “The chef is in charge of accepting the delivery every day. He inspects the delivery to make sure the fish is good, he can tell as soon as he looks at it if something isn’t right and will send it back.”

Heighten your sushi experience by ordering fresh wasabi to your table. Kashi recently introduced this decadent option as alternative to the typical wasabi served at restaurants made from a powder. Fresh wasabi comes from grating Wasabia Japonica root into a paste or chopping up and marinating fresh wabai with seasonings for kizami wasabi. Fresh wasabi offers a less burning kick and more of an herbal, smooth taste.

“We brought in fresh wasabi because we wanted customers to taste the difference between this and typical wasabi,” Poh said.

Freshness comes at a price, however. With wasabi root running $100 per pound, Kashi upcharges for the fresh ground wasabi, but for sushi fans it’s worth it.

Long Islander News photos/Sophia Ricco

Long Islander News photos/Sophia Ricco

Kashi
12 Elm Street, Huntington
631-923-1960
kashijapanese.com/kashihuntington

Cuisine: Asian
Atmosphere: Modern and elegant
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 12-3 p.m., 4:30-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 12-3 p.m., 4:30-11 p.m.; Sunday 2-10 p.m.

Rotisserie Banks Knows Their Meat

By Sophia Ricco

sricco@longislandergroup.com

Quick, healthy and customizable, Rotisserie Banks wants to be your new lunch time pick-me-up with savory sandwiches and stuffed salads.

The newly opened eatery specializes in high quality meats served in sandwiches and salads, quinoa and farro bowls, along with quinoa salad blends, a hot bar and pressed juices. It was recently opened by Brendan Banks, chef and partner owner of Burgerology, along with his partners and childhood friends, Anthony DiTore and Jonathan Viola.

Banks has brought his expertise from Rotisserie Georgette, a revered French restaurant in Manhattan, to the table.

“I’ve done rotisserie in the past and I noticed there’s not really a place to go for lunch around here, besides sit-down restaurants,” Banks said.

It’s easy to grab food and go at Rotisserie Banks, who will craft your meal right in front of you. Although nothing is pre-packaged, Banks wants the process to be quick for those with limited time for lunch. They offer a variety of topping options to dress up a dish, including peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, hard-boiled egg, shredded cheddar and mozzarella cheese, crumbly feta and blue cheese, carrots, apples, avocado, bacon, kidney beans and chickpeas.

But the crown jewel is without a doubt, the rotisserie. Banks feels the quality of their meats is what will make them stand out.

“The meats we’re using are prime and the chicken is antibiotic free and all natural,” Banks said. “Instead of baking or barbecuing it, we throw it on the rotisserie. Rotisserie cooks great because it’s direct heat, the fats and oils drip down, you’re eating a lean, healthier meat.”

Starting with a base of a quinoa bowl and rotisserie chicken ($12), you can go wild with your flavors. Or substitute farro, an Italian whole grain. We tossed on shredded mozzarella, cherry peppers, chickpeas, and chipotle aioli dressing. With a heaping portion of quinoa, all the elements mixed together provided an appetizing hodgepodge, while the chicken shined through as succulent and tender. Banks sources his chicken from a Canadian farm that allows the animals to roam free.

“If I cut it up right now and pulled the breast off, it’s just the most juicy chicken,” Banks said.

If you’re looking for a fresh concoction, the restaurant makes daily blends, like the honey dijon chicken quinoa salad and turkey coleslaw. Their salad bowls are stuffed to the brim with hearty ingredients. A salad with grilled chicken ($12), shredded mozzarella, carrots, tomatoes, hard-boiled egg and chickpeas, topped with a balsamic vinaigrette is a healthy option that still satisfies.

“Everyone wants something different in their salad, so we let them dictate what they want… It’s fun and creative. Instead of just getting a Caesar salad, you get to have fun creating it,” Banks said.

The customization doesn’t stop there, any sandwich can be designed to your liking from the meat to the toppings to the dressing. Or give one of the signature sandwiches a taste. The barbecue turkey melt ($11) is rich and flavorful with juicy turkey and oozey cheddar cheese. Banks creates the “melt” by toasting the sandwich with a blowtorch, a unique method that gets the job done.

For Rotisserie Banks it’s all about the meat. Banks hopes to eventually be cooking a variety of meats in the rotisserie, like sausage, porchetta and pastrami. For now, it’s chicken, turkey and sliced roast beef. After tasting the roast beef melt ($11), it was evident why the rotisserie is superior. The sandwich, packed with meat, feels like comfort and warmth to the tastebuds.

“I want customers to taste it and say, ‘Why does this meat taste so good and different?’ It’s cause it’s high quality meat, on a rotisserie,” Banks said.

Rotisserie Banks welcomes all for their grand opening on Saturday, Jan. 26, all-day.

Rotisserie Banks
295 Main Street
Huntington Village
631-923-3650
instagram.com/rotisseriebanks

Cuisine: High-end deli
Atmosphere: Simple and fast-paced
Prices: Signature sandwiches: $11, salad and quinoa bowl: $8 + protein $4
Hours: Open every day, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

SIDE DISH: Talk And Chocolate … Restaurant Week… Farmers’ Market

winter_blue_2018.jpg

Winter Market: As the temperatures drop below freezing, local goods will still be available in Huntington. The Huntington Winter Farmers’ Market continues each Sunday, 9 a.m.-1 p.m., through March 31, indoors at Jefferson Primary School (253 Oakwood Road, Huntington). The market is in its seventh season, and affords local businesses the opportunity to sell their products locally. The indoor space improves access for consumers to obtain local, sustainable and organically produced food in the season when these products are often harder to come by. Along with products for sale, the market also hosts local musicians and family-friendly activities. Stop by the market to try anything from pickles to fresh baked goods handmade by local vendors. For more info, visit Longislandfarmersmarkets.com.


Restaurant Week:
Winter Long Island Restaurant Week kicks off on Sunday. Presented by Long Island Restaurant and Hospitality Group, the tri-annual event features restaurants across Suffolk and Nassau offering a set menu at discounted prices. Participating restaurants will offer a $29.95 three-course prix fixe all night every night they are open from Sunday to Sunday, except Saturday when it only has to be offered until 7 p.m. In all, 18 restaurants in the town of Huntington participating, including:
Athenian Greek Taverna
Besito Mexican
Bistro Cassis
Cafe Buenos Aires
Cinque Terre Ristorante
Del Frisco's Grille
Grasso's
Honu Kitchen & Cocktails
Imperial Meat Company
Jewel
Jonathan's Ristorante
Mac's Steakhouse
Matteo's Trattoria
Mill Pond House Restaurant
Piccola Bussola Restaurant
Piccolo Mondo
Radio Radio
Sandbar Restaurant
The event begins Jan. 27 and runs until Feb. 3. Visit Longislandrestaurantweek.com for more information and a full list of participating restaurants.

Chocolate Sounds Good: The Whaling Museum and Education Center (301 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor) is helping to keep the Long Island Sound “love-lier” with a champagne and chocolate event on Feb. 7. Attendees can enjoy a glass of champagne and chocolate tasting while Heather Johnson, executive director of friends of the bay, shares information on how to give some love back to the water to keep a harbor-healthy home. The event is supported by the Long Island Sound Study, a grant program designed to encourage programs that promote the restoration and protection of the Sound. The event runs from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m., and tickets are $25 or $15 for members. Visit cshwhalingmuseum.org for more information.

SIDE DISH: Guy Reuge's Milestone... Learn At Lunch...

Chef Guy Reuge plates up a dish in the kitchen at Sandbar on Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor.

Chef Guy Reuge plates up a dish in the kitchen at Sandbar on Main Street in Cold Spring Harbor.

Compiled by Connor Beach
cbeach@longislandergroup.com

A Toast to the Chef…
Diners at Sandbar (55 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor) can raise a glass and toast Executive Chef Guy Reuge and his 10 years as chef de cuisine at Lessing’s Hospitality Group. Reuge began his cooking career in Orleans, France, and first joined the Lessing’s team in 2009 with the opening of Mirabelle Tavern in Stony Brook. In 2015, Reuge spearheaded the creation and concept of the menu at Sandbar. Reuge’s expertise in the kitchen has been recognized during his time at Lessing’s; he was named a semifinalist for best chef in America by the James Beard Foundation in 2009, 2010, 2014, 2015 and 2016. Reuge was invited last February to cook an exclusive land and sea meal at the James Beard House in New York City. Guests who eat dinner at Sandbar between Jan. 15 and Jan. 31 will be able to toast Chef Guy with a free glass of champagne.

Lunch and Learn… The Huntington Historical Society is offering an opportunity to learn some Long Island history over lunch at Macs Steakhouse (12 Gerard St., Huntington). Speaker Cyril Smith will take attendees back in time to 1917 with the story of Camp Mills in Mineola. Camp Mills was constructed as a military instillation for World War I soldiers, and is the birthplace of the 42nd infantry division of the National Guard. The camp was named after Major General Albert Mills and served as the headquarters of the famed “Rainbow Division.” The event will also feature a three-course lunch prepared in the kitchen at Macs. The lunch runs from noon-2 p.m. on Jan. 24. Tickets are available at Huntingtonhistoricalsociety.org.

Panera Donates to Cancer Society… Panera Bread aided in the fight to cure cancer in November when the company donated a portion of the proceeds for stores across Long Island to fund research for better treatments for those fighting blood cancers. For a week a portion of the money from all delivery and rapid pick-up orders at 30 locations on Long Island, including the East Northport, Huntington Station and Huntington village stores, was donated to the society to benefit those diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma. Panera, owned by Doherty Enterprises, presented a $5,206.06 check to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The society works to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. The check was presented on Dec. 21 at the Panera Bread in Mineola.

There’s A New Thai In Town

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

Feel transported to Thailand when dining at Ra-Cha Thai Cuisine, an authentic eatery that has mastered the bold flavors of the eastern country.

Ra-Cha comes to Huntington Village with a refreshed taste and spirit, after being taken over by Pattarachai Subworaphon, known as Louis, and his family. Previously opened as Tum Thai Cuisine, the restaurant was passed to Louis from the former owner in December. Louis changed the name to Ra-cha, which means “king” in Thai, because he sees Thai food as “the king of all cuisines.”

“I think Thai food is the best food in the world,” Louis said. “Thai has everything, the texture, the flavor, everything in one dish. We have sweet and spicy, that just has the best smell.”

The restaurant rejuvenation comes with a menu revamp that adds flavorful new dishes to the lineup. Over 15 new plates came from Louis’ aunt and chef, Phannee Prungsak, known as Marki. She learned the recipes and secrets of Thai cooking from her mother and brings more than 20 years of experience cooking across the country.

Mee-Krob ($12) is a tempting appetizer that mixes  shrimp, tofu, crispy shallots, and bean sprouts with crispy rice noodle, topped with a sweet and sour sauce. The crispy noodle gives a perfect crunch while the sauce brings a dynamic flavor.

Many believe Thai food is packed with spiciness but at Ra-Cha it’s all about balancing flavors. Louis hopes that those who experience his culture’s food, will fall in love with it.

“When we bring over plate, I want to make the customer to say, ‘Wow’,” Louis said. “I always say to my chefs, ‘When you make everything, you should think that you are eating it and when you taste it, you want to feel good and happy inside.’”

Thai Iced Tea ($4) and Lychee Juice ($3) are unique and refreshing beverages that will start that happy feeling. The iced tea is creamy and sweet, while the juice captures the light, floral taste of lychee in a bittersweet fashion.

Marki emphasizes an authentic taste of Thailand in her dishes. A plate meant to be shared, Ra-Cha Combo B ($16.95), is an assortment of enough pot stickers, shrimp sa bai thong, chicken wings and chicken satay to give everyone at the table a taste.

Step outside your comfort zone by giving the Tamarind Honey Duck ($24.94) a try. Crispy duck doused in a tamarind honey sauce that makes licking your plate seem sensible is accompanied by crispy noodle and broccoli. Marki incorporates fresh tamarind in her glaze to maximize its tango of sweet and sour.

“I know that when I eat, I want it to be fresh,” Louis said. “Every day I buy ingredients because people come here and want to eat good quality food.”

Fresh fish entrées feature the Chilean Sea Bass ($29) and Salmon with Green Curry ($21). The grilled sea bass mixes sweet, spicy and sour together with bok choy and sweet chili sauce. The curry underneath the salmon is exceptional and rich with the flavors of basil, coconut milk and Marki’s secret ingredient.

With exuberant plates and Ra-Cha’s elegant atmosphere of chandeliers and gold accents, diners can feel royal and relaxed.

“We want everyone to feel like they’re at home and just eating with their family,” Louis said.

Their expansive menu offers numerous dishes to explore, like Pad Thai with Mixed Seafood ($20.95), a stir-fried rice noodles with egg, shrimp, bean sprouts, tofu, peanuts and scallions.

“This is the best of Thailand,” Louis said. “Our people love this and we want our customers to love it as well.”

More Than Sushi At Huntington’s Hikudo

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

It’s all about fresh at Hikudo in Huntington Village, an Asian bistro that incorporates flavors from all over the Far East.

Hikudo has maintained its residency in the village for over 12 years. Owner Lucy Qiao was looking to bring a taste of Asia to Huntington and Hikudo’s expansive menu offers soups, salads, sushi rolls, sashimi, wok dishes, noodles, poke, Japanese teriyaki dishes, Chinese classics, and Asian desserts.

“We were the first Asian restaurant in town, to offer Chinese, Thai food and sushi together,” sushi chef Jason He said. “The original.”

He has over 20 years experience as a sushi chef, previously working at a Japanese restaurant in Oceanside. He has brought this experience to the table, curating plates packed with flavor and crafting sushi sensations. His knowledge of multicultural recipes has helped to develop the menu as a “melting pot” of foods.

“We try to incorporate many cultures’ elements,” waiter Matthew He said. “We have Thai dishes, sushi, Chinese elements, just a variety of everything. I would say we’re almost a fusion of Asian food.”

Walking into Hikudo, you may feel transported to a tranquil place with zen music lightly playing and greenery all around. The atmosphere is a relaxed one.

“We want to create a welcoming and wholesome environment, where people can enjoy their food in peace,” Matthew said. “I think that’s one of the more important elements of people enjoying their food… We want to create a sanctuary.”

For many regulars, Hikudo is an oasis where they can indulge in their favorite dish or sample their extensive menu. A favorite is General Tso’s Chicken ($15.50), deep-fried and doused in a sauce that hints of sweet and spice, it is accompanied by fresh broccoli and white rice. Their dish puts take-out to shame, mastering a glaze that is neither greasy nor gooey, but rich and thick. Try it with the beloved Hot and Sour soup.

If going off the beaten path is your thing, Hikudo can take you there.

“When I go out to eat I know I like to experience a different variety,” Matthew said. “By having this with our food, it gives customers something new that they’ve never experienced before.”

Spicy Bean Red Snapper Fillet ($21) is a Thai dish that brings the flavor of broad bean and spiciness together in harmony. The fish was cooked impeccably — soft on the inside while encased in a crispy shell. It did have a bit of a kick to it, so spice lovers will delight, but it didn’t overpower the meal.

Hikudo works to update their menu with fresh dishes often and offer new specials daily. They recently introduced two new rolls, the Yummy roll and Pink Lady roll.

“Our sushi selection is where we give the most value, we have deals at lunch for any two rolls, it is $9 or three rolls for $13,” Matthew said. “That’s the biggest bang for your buck.”

Hikudo sources their fish from a Japanese wholesale company that they trust to deliver them the freshest fish. If you’re looking for a sampling of their fresh fish, look no further than the Sashimi Regular ($20), a 12 piece assortment of salmon, yellowtail, tuna and white tuna. Each fish had a lush taste with a wonderful silky texture.

A specialty roll bursting with flavor was the Volcano Roll ($12.75) with Hikudo’s original “kudo” — chopped crab, shrimp and fish eggs — topped with fresh salmon and spicy sauce.

When fish is delivered, Jason will conduct an elaborate process to cut and store the fish to ensure maximum freshness.

“It’s hard work to keep it fresh,” Jason said. “But it has to be always fresh.”

Hikudo
329 Main St, Huntington
631-421-4729
hikudo.com

Cuisine: Asian
Atmosphere: Modern and elegant
Prices: Appetizers: $5-$14.50, Entrees: $13-$24, Sushi: $4.50-$16.50
Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m. - 11 p.m.; Sunday, 4-10 p.m.

Your Friendly, Neighborhood Hangout

By Sophia Ricco
sricco@longislandergroup.com

A local pub is taking bar food to the next level and wants to be your next hangout spot.

Bar Louie of Commack has earned a reputation as a place to have a casual drink – or a few more – with a sociable staff, a variety of games to play and nightly specials that draw in crowds.

“Nobody wants to go to a bar and be stiff. It should be comforting, welcoming and feel like home,” manager Jesse Eyrich said.

The crew at Bar Louie captures this home-like atmosphere by allowing themselves to be candid and casual with bar-goers. Their goal is for people to have fun and enjoy themselves. The bar recently added dartboards and a pool table to encourage mingling amongst friends and strangers alike.

“Really this is a place we curate for you to be yourself,” Phab, one of the gregarious waiters, said. “We want you to express yourself.”

“Anywhere you go you have some regulars, but I can’t even tell you the last time someone walked in who didn’t know Phab,” Eyrich said.

Weekly specials and happy hours brings in regulars along with new faces who can’t pass up deals like Tuesday’s $5 specialty burgers, Thursday’s wholly crafts, or half-priced apps and flatbreads for happy hour.

But it’s not just the deals that are appealing. Bar Louie has crafted its own twists on pub food that bring comfort to your taste buds while tickling them with unique flavors.

 Appetizers are perfect for sharing with the entire table. Bruschetta pomodoro ($9.49) is served in a huge martini glass with pieces of garlic bread fanned out and ready to be topped with a mix of tomato, basil, garlic, olive oil and red onion, topped with parmesan cheese.

Veggie lovers will be delighted by roasted veggie flatbread ($12.49) covered in fresh spinach and artichoke sauce, tomato, mushroom, balsamic onions, and a mozzarella and provolone cheese blend. It is one of their four delicious flatbreads offered, along with a seasonal option.

“We try to be gastropub-y on the low, since we incorporate a lot of different influences,” Phab said. “If you look at the menu, you’ll see everything from shrimp and chicken lettuce wraps that have an Asian influence to Tuscan-style chicken from Italy to quesadillas and tacos.”

Bar Louie is looking to revamp the menu in the year ahead with brand new dishes that emphasize tasty flavors.

“We want to get something out there that has a different flavor, it can entice your palate but still work in a bar-like atmosphere,” Eyrich said. “It’s easy and quick but you’re gonna get a lot of flavors with it.”

The kitchen has been testing various dishes, like a braised short rib ($21.99). The ultimate comfort food, the beef short rib is so soft, a knife isn’t necessary and it melts in your mouth. Doused in a red wine dijon reduction, the rib, along with roasted carrots, radishes, and potato wedges, come together in harmony.

“You have so much softness, Adam and Eve were made from this type of rib,” Phab joked.

The seared wild salmon ($17.99) will also take your taste buds on a journey. Served atop a spicy cauliflower “couscous,” it is dressed with mint, tomato, red onion, cucumber, and a drizzle of lemon vinaigrette. These lighter dinner options will allow a person to dance or play a game after munching.

“We haven’t changed our menu in awhile, so we’re gonna do something big, and we want people to be able to tell we changed our menu,” Eyrich said. “Even though the bar food works and it can be something good, we want to give people something they’ll enjoy.”

It’s easy to enjoy their six layers of chocolate on chocolate cake ($9.99), a heavenly confection.

Bar Louie
2115 Jericho Turnpike, Commack
(631) 410-8400
Barlouie.com 

Cuisine: Gastropub
Atmosphere: Modern and hip
Price Range: Appetizers, $8.99-$17.49; Salads, $8.99-$10.99; Plates, $10.99-$21.99.
Hours: Sunday-Saturday, 11a.m. - 2 a.m.

SIDE DISH: Food Fest Fundraiser; Prime Pairings

Suit up and chow down on a selection of internationally inspired dishes at the upcoming Carltun Food and Wine Festival.

Suit up and chow down on a selection of internationally inspired dishes at the upcoming Carltun Food and Wine Festival.

FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL: The Melville-based PinkTie 1000 Foundation is hosting a silent wine auction at the second annual Carltun Food and Wine Festival. The festival will be held at The Carltun in East Meadow, and will feature a selection of over 200 wines paired with international foods, including New York seafood, Asian, French, and Italian inspired cuisine. Executive chef Rodrigo Bernal will prepare the food for the event. All of the proceeds from the PinkTie Foundation’s silent wine auction will benefit the Michael Magro Foundation. The event runs from 6 p.m.-10 p.m., Jan. 18, and tickets can be purchased online at thecarltunfoodandwinefestival.com. Individual tickets for the festival cost $150.

A dozen wineries have contributed wines to the wine cellar at Prime in Huntington for the pairing menu during the restaurant’s two-week anniversary celebration.

A dozen wineries have contributed wines to the wine cellar at Prime in Huntington for the pairing menu during the restaurant’s two-week anniversary celebration.

ANNIVERSARY SPECIALS: Prime: An American Kitchen And Bar (117 North New York Ave., Huntington) is celebrating 12 years in business with a two-week long dinner special. Customers can choose from a $50 or $65 three-course, price-fixed dinner menu from Jan. 6-20. The $65 menu also includes wine pairing. Appetizer options on the anniversary menu include Celery Root Soup with crispy speck hash and mustard oil, or Gnocchi with parmesan-white truffle sauce. Main course options include Shrimp and Chorizo with apple, pearl onion, brown sugar glaze, siracha buerre blanc and polenta, as well as Salmon with roasted turnips, wild mushroom bake and mushroom mousse. Finish off the meal with dessert options that include Chocolate Fudge Bar with banana, Nutella and praline crunch. A dozen wineries have contributed wines for the pairing menu. For more information on the anniversary menu visit Restaurantprime.com.

 

LAUGH OVER DINNER: Support volunteer firefighters and enjoy a few laughs at the Huntington Fire Department’s second annual Comedy Show on Saturday, Jan. 19. The show is hosted at the Huntington Fire Department on 1 Leverich Place. The $40 ticket includes dinner, drinks and the show. The comedy show is hosted by Robert Cividanes, and the line-up of comedians features Frank Failla, Terry McNeely and Carie Karavas. There will also be a 50/50 raffle up for grabs. Doors open at 7 p.m. for the 8 p.m. show. For more information or to make reservations to the show contact Lt. Chris Amendolare by phone at 516-864-1416 .

– compiled by Connor Beach

A Few Favorite Dishes From 2018

Salmon served with a heirloom potato and string bean salad with a dill vinaigrette that adds color and flavor to the dish at Jonathan’s Ristorante in Huntington.

Salmon served with a heirloom potato and string bean salad with a dill vinaigrette that adds color and flavor to the dish at Jonathan’s Ristorante in Huntington.

By The Foodies
info@longislandergroup.com

The year is almost over, the Foodies are reflecting on ssome fo the best dishes we had the pleasure to taste in dining rooms around the Town of Huntington. It was tough to narrow down our favorites, but here are a baker’s dozen of the most delicious and delectable dishes we ate in 2018.

Healthy can be delicious with the flavorful twists at  Bee Organic  (24 Wall Street, Huntington), like their Raw Veggie Wrap ($9.95). With carrots, cucumber, avocado, red cabbage and vegan tahini sauce wrapped in collard greens and topped with sprouts, the vegetables were anything but bland after being dressed in the sauce. This a popular raw vegan dish, due to its delightful taste and the fact that it is not cooked, which makes it raw and keeps in more nutrition.

Healthy can be delicious with the flavorful twists at Bee Organic (24 Wall Street, Huntington), like their Raw Veggie Wrap ($9.95). With carrots, cucumber, avocado, red cabbage and vegan tahini sauce wrapped in collard greens and topped with sprouts, the vegetables were anything but bland after being dressed in the sauce. This a popular raw vegan dish, due to its delightful taste and the fact that it is not cooked, which makes it raw and keeps in more nutrition.

From the brick oven at  Bertucci’s  (881 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville), the Classic Margherita ($10.99) is a house classic served with fresh mozzarella, house made tomato sauce, Pecorino Romano and fresh basil. The thin crust has just the right crunch and holds a time-tested ratio of sauce to cheese that allows the diner to enjoy all of the traditional flavors of Italy.

From the brick oven at Bertucci’s (881 Walt Whitman Rd., Melville), the Classic Margherita ($10.99) is a house classic served with fresh mozzarella, house made tomato sauce, Pecorino Romano and fresh basil. The thin crust has just the right crunch and holds a time-tested ratio of sauce to cheese that allows the diner to enjoy all of the traditional flavors of Italy.

The Cajun style dry rub Wings ($8 for six) at  Brews Brothers  (69 Wall St., Huntington) are seasoned and cooked in the oven at high heat before being fried to order, a process that keeps the wings juicy and moist on the inside while retaining a crispy skin.The Cajun rub infuses into the meat of the wing that adds a depth of flavor to the dish. The wings are plump and have plenty of meat on the bone that provides a good contrast to the skin.

The Cajun style dry rub Wings ($8 for six) at Brews Brothers (69 Wall St., Huntington) are seasoned and cooked in the oven at high heat before being fried to order, a process that keeps the wings juicy and moist on the inside while retaining a crispy skin.The Cajun rub infuses into the meat of the wing that adds a depth of flavor to the dish. The wings are plump and have plenty of meat on the bone that provides a good contrast to the skin.

From the breakfast menu at  Brownstones  (361 Larkfield Rd., East Northport), the French Toast Bites ($9.99) is one of the most popular and playful dishes. The French toast squares are topped with fresh berries, bananas, strawberries and powdered sugar. The bites are cooked to a perfect golden brown, and have a sweetness that pairs well with the fresh fruit. A healthy dose of syrup is the perfect addition to tie this dish together.

From the breakfast menu at Brownstones (361 Larkfield Rd., East Northport), the French Toast Bites ($9.99) is one of the most popular and playful dishes. The French toast squares are topped with fresh berries, bananas, strawberries and powdered sugar. The bites are cooked to a perfect golden brown, and have a sweetness that pairs well with the fresh fruit. A healthy dose of syrup is the perfect addition to tie this dish together.

What better dish is there to share at an Italian restaurant than pasta, and  Eatalia  (34 New Street, Huntington) serves up some great tasting options. One of the restaurant’s best sellers is the Papadella Salese ($20/$26) featuring wild mushrooms, prosciutto, sun-dried tomato, peas and truffle cream sauce. The thick pasta is a good choice to capture the creamy sauce that, along with the mushrooms, adds a deep earthy flavor that complements the sweetness of the sun-dried tomato. This is a dish that the whole family will want to try.

What better dish is there to share at an Italian restaurant than pasta, and Eatalia (34 New Street, Huntington) serves up some great tasting options. One of the restaurant’s best sellers is the Papadella Salese ($20/$26) featuring wild mushrooms, prosciutto, sun-dried tomato, peas and truffle cream sauce. The thick pasta is a good choice to capture the creamy sauce that, along with the mushrooms, adds a deep earthy flavor that complements the sweetness of the sun-dried tomato. This is a dish that the whole family will want to try.

One of the seasonal entrée specials at  Grasso’s  (134 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor) was the Pan Seared Halibut ($38 or market value) with porcini mushroom over sautéed spinach, mashed potatoes and a wasabi aioli. The beautiful, flaky, white meat of the Halibut complements the rich mashed potatoes, and the spinach adds an extra level of texture, but the unique wasabi aioli really ties the dish together. The flavor is distinct, but not overpowering and leaves a touch of spice in the back of your throat.

One of the seasonal entrée specials at Grasso’s (134 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor) was the Pan Seared Halibut ($38 or market value) with porcini mushroom over sautéed spinach, mashed potatoes and a wasabi aioli. The beautiful, flaky, white meat of the Halibut complements the rich mashed potatoes, and the spinach adds an extra level of texture, but the unique wasabi aioli really ties the dish together. The flavor is distinct, but not overpowering and leaves a touch of spice in the back of your throat.

Breakfast traditionalists are sure to enjoy The Classic ($10.75) at  Hatch  (286 Main St., Huntington), which features three eggs any style flanked by a side of hash browns, choice of sausage, bacon or ham, and toast. Our Foodie tried it with over easy eggs, sausage links and white toast. The fresh eggs were the star of this dish, and the hash browns and sausage provided well-seasoned complements. The beautiful runny egg yolks were great to dip the toast in and tie the dish together.

Breakfast traditionalists are sure to enjoy The Classic ($10.75) at Hatch (286 Main St., Huntington), which features three eggs any style flanked by a side of hash browns, choice of sausage, bacon or ham, and toast. Our Foodie tried it with over easy eggs, sausage links and white toast. The fresh eggs were the star of this dish, and the hash browns and sausage provided well-seasoned complements. The beautiful runny egg yolks were great to dip the toast in and tie the dish together.

The Wagyu Meatballs ($12) on the appetizer menu at  IMC Restaurant  (279 Main St, Huntington). are served with pickled green daikon and spicy mayo, topped off with a coconut and garlic crumble and cilantro. They melt in your mouth and have exquisite flavors that come together in harmony.

The Wagyu Meatballs ($12) on the appetizer menu at IMC Restaurant (279 Main St, Huntington). are served with pickled green daikon and spicy mayo, topped off with a coconut and garlic crumble and cilantro. They melt in your mouth and have exquisite flavors that come together in harmony.

Hot from the oven at  Joanina  (35 Gerard St A, Huntington), the Pizza Bianca con Speck ($15.95) is their famous white pizza and for good reason. Served with smoked prosciutto, mushrooms and white truffle oil drizzle, the pizza is white and lacking in sauce but makes up for it with fresh mozzarella cheese. Sticking to their authentic core, Joanina chose prosciutto because it is a common meat in the North of Italy. But you don’t have to travel to Italy to enjoy this savory combination, just stop in to Joanina to enjoy one straight from the oven.

Hot from the oven at Joanina (35 Gerard St A, Huntington), the Pizza Bianca con Speck ($15.95) is their famous white pizza and for good reason. Served with smoked prosciutto, mushrooms and white truffle oil drizzle, the pizza is white and lacking in sauce but makes up for it with fresh mozzarella cheese. Sticking to their authentic core, Joanina chose prosciutto because it is a common meat in the North of Italy. But you don’t have to travel to Italy to enjoy this savory combination, just stop in to Joanina to enjoy one straight from the oven.

Anatra alle More ($28) from  Jonathan’s Ristorante  (15 Wall St., Huntington) features perfectly cooked Long Island duck breast served with farro, Brussels sprouts that are good enough to have their own dish and blackberry sauce. Like every dish on the menu, the duck is meticulously crafted to combine flavors and cooked to perfection. It’s a perfect winter dish on Long Island.

Anatra alle More ($28) from Jonathan’s Ristorante (15 Wall St., Huntington) features perfectly cooked Long Island duck breast served with farro, Brussels sprouts that are good enough to have their own dish and blackberry sauce. Like every dish on the menu, the duck is meticulously crafted to combine flavors and cooked to perfection. It’s a perfect winter dish on Long Island.

At  Oaxaca  (385 New York Ave, Huntington) the Mexico City Tacos ($4.25/taco) take their name from the city in Mexico, known for having the best tacos in the country. There are a variety of meat choices, but the skirt steak tacos are highly recommended. They were topped with three different salsas, radishes and cilantro and served on two mini-flour tortillas. From trying them, it was clear why it was a beloved dish at the restaurant.

At Oaxaca (385 New York Ave, Huntington) the Mexico City Tacos ($4.25/taco) take their name from the city in Mexico, known for having the best tacos in the country. There are a variety of meat choices, but the skirt steak tacos are highly recommended. They were topped with three different salsas, radishes and cilantro and served on two mini-flour tortillas. From trying them, it was clear why it was a beloved dish at the restaurant.

With an array of appetizers that are perfect for sharing,  Parea  (360 New York Ave., Huntington) is the perfect place to socialize over a plate of hummus. Their hummus ($8.95) comes from ground chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and tahini served with a side of pita bread. It is the perfect consistency and has a fresh flavor that pairs well with the bread or on meats.

With an array of appetizers that are perfect for sharing, Parea (360 New York Ave., Huntington) is the perfect place to socialize over a plate of hummus. Their hummus ($8.95) comes from ground chickpeas, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and tahini served with a side of pita bread. It is the perfect consistency and has a fresh flavor that pairs well with the bread or on meats.

Finally,  T.O.A. ’s (369 New York Ave., Huntington) Special Poke Bowl ($12.95) features salmon, tuna, shrimp, scallops, seaweed salad, mango, onion crisps, edamame, avocado and sriracha aioli. The dish has a nice amount of spice from the sriracha that is countered well by the fresh, cooling flavors of the seafood, mango and avocado. The fish is fresh and delicately balanced in a bowl that is full different flavors and textures.

Finally, T.O.A.’s (369 New York Ave., Huntington) Special Poke Bowl ($12.95) features salmon, tuna, shrimp, scallops, seaweed salad, mango, onion crisps, edamame, avocado and sriracha aioli. The dish has a nice amount of spice from the sriracha that is countered well by the fresh, cooling flavors of the seafood, mango and avocado. The fish is fresh and delicately balanced in a bowl that is full different flavors and textures.

Put These Spots On Your Holiday List

Sauteed Baby Artichokes with basil pesto is just one of the dishes on Jonathan’s holiday menu.

Sauteed Baby Artichokes with basil pesto is just one of the dishes on Jonathan’s holiday menu.

By Connor Beach

cbeach@longislandergroup.com

The holiday season is in full swing. This is an especially exciting time of year for the Foodies because restaurants across the Town of Huntington are offering a variety of holiday specials and party deals. Below are just a few restaurants to visit if you are looking dine out this holiday season.

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

Holiday hosts looking to entertain without the hassle of cooking at home can take advantage of the holiday party menu at Jonathan’s Ristorante in Huntington village. For $35 a head, partygoers can choose from a three-course menu featuring appetizers like Sauteed Baby Artichokes with basil pesto, or Baby Arugula and Tomato Salad with shaved parmigiano. The four entrees on the menu include Organic Scottish Salmon with roasted baby root vegetables, baby spinach and a horseradish cream sauce, Rigatoni with homemade Bolognese sauce, Roasted Organic Free Range Chicken with Tuscan herbs, and Shrimp Scampi with haricot vert and jasmine rice. For dessert, save room for homemade Tiramisu or Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta. Hosts can also choose to include the holiday bar package featuring beer and wine for $20 per person. Visit the website or call to plan your holiday party.

At Prime in Halesite, a year-round beautiful view of Huntington Harbor is transformed into a winter wonderland for the holiday season.

At Prime in Halesite, a year-round beautiful view of Huntington Harbor is transformed into a winter wonderland for the holiday season.

Prime - An American Kitchen & Bar
117 New York Ave., Huntington
631-385-1515
Restaurantprime.com

Spend Christmas Eve on the waterfront at Prime on Huntington Harbor in Halesite. Prime is accepting reservations starting at 4 p.m., and will have the regular menu available in addition to three holiday specials. To start, Chestnut and Celery Root Soup ($15) with whipped crème fraiche is sure to warm you up on even the coldest of days. The Slow Roasted Prime Rib ($58) served with glazed onion and horseradish cream sauce is a holiday classic. Dessert lovers are in for a treat with an individual Yule Log ($14) comprised of espresso chocolate cake, hazelnut cream and dark chocolate ganache with shaved chocolate. Call to reserve a spot for Christmas Eve dinner.

The Refuge in Melville will bring Seafood Paella and other Latin or Italian specialties to your office party this holiday season.

The Refuge in Melville will bring Seafood Paella and other Latin or Italian specialties to your office party this holiday season.

The Refuge
515 Broadhollow Rd., Melville
631-577-4444
Refuge110.com

If you are looking to have a holiday party at your home or office but don’t feel like cooking, The Refuge in Melville can bring the party to you. The Refuge is offering a holiday special of 20 percent off all catering orders of $150 or more throughout the holiday season. The Latin and Italian fusion restaurant offers catering from small takeout orders to full service events. The menu includes Italian specialties like Chicken Francese ($55 for 6-8 people) or Veal Parmigiana ($85 for 6-8 people), as well as Latin dishes like Chicken Fajita ($65 for 6-8 people) or Churrasco Marinated Steak ($70 for 6-8 people). The menu also includes pasta options, like homemade Pappardelle ($50) with tomato basil sauce, or the party-size Focaccia Sandwich ($65) with grilled chicken prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, arugula, roasted cherry tomato and balsamic dressing.

Ruvo
63 Broadway, Greenlawn
631-261-7700
Ruvorestaurant.com

Ruvo in Greenlawn is serving up a special menu for Christmas Eve from 4 p.m.- 9 p.m. The holiday themed menu specials are a tribute to the Italian tradition of the feast of the seven fishes. Appetizers on the menu include Chilled Seafood Salad ($13) with poached shrimp, sea scallops and calamari tossed in a lemon-champagne dressing with cannellini beans, celery and plum tomatoes, and Main Lobster Bisque ($7) finished with cognac. Entrees include Crabmeat Stuffed Flounder ($32) with multigrain rice, broccolini and lobster sauce, and Jumbo Shrimp Scampi ($29) served over spaghetti with slow-roasted tomatoes and fresh basil. For dessert, one of the options keeping with the holiday theme is Red Wine Poached Pear ($7) with vanilla ice cream and candied nuts.

Long Island Duck Duo ($36) served with pearl barley risotto, chorizo, carrots and red wine-port sauce is on the Christmas Eve menu at Sandbar in Cold Spring Harbor.

Long Island Duck Duo ($36) served with pearl barley risotto, chorizo, carrots and red wine-port sauce is on the Christmas Eve menu at Sandbar in Cold Spring Harbor.

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

Sandbar in Cold Spring Harbor is also serving up a special menu for Christmas Eve dinner. Appetizers include Tuna Tartare ($16) served with ginger, sesame, avocado and sriracha or, for those with refined palates, Pan Roasted Foie Gras ($30) with potato anna, apple puree and chestnut sauce is also on the menu. Long Island Duck Duo ($36) served with pearl barley risotto, chorizo, carrots and red wine-port sauce, and Potato Gnocchi ($26) with royal trumpet mushrooms, parsley pesto and pine nuts are just two of the entrees available for Christmas Eve dinner. For dessert, Chocolate Lava Cake ($11) with vanilla ice cream and cherry sauce or Ginger Almond Tart ($11) with caramel are just a few of the options to finish off the meal.

SIDE DISH: Hush Closes, Hostessing Tips

Paper in the windows of Hush Bistro on Gerard Street in Huntington village signaled the restaurant is closed.

Paper in the windows of Hush Bistro on Gerard Street in Huntington village signaled the restaurant is closed.

Silence Falls On Hush… Hush Bistro on Gerard Street in Huntington village closed its doors earlier this week and will not reopen. Opened by Chef Marc Anthony Bynum in summer 2017 in partnership with Reststar Group, Hush had success serving up elevated southern comfort food. Bynum, who also opened MB Ramen on New York Avenue in Huntington with Reststar earlier this year, said he left Hush seven months ago because the partnership had “soured.” “I like to have complete autonomy with creativity when it comes to the menu, bar, atmosphere and service and they did not allow me to have this,” Bynum said. He opened Fatwood Southern Kitchen in Bay Shore in June. Back at the old place, a sign in the window at Hush thanked customers for their support, and said any Hush Bistro gift card would be honored at MB Ramen, Bistro Cassis or Café Buenos Aires.

 

Hosting The Holidays… Lucky To Live Here Realty (129 Main St., Cold Spring Harbor) is holding a workshop for those holiday hosts who are feeling a little stressed. The Hosting the Holidays workshop runs from 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Dec 15 and features tips from Cold Spring Harbor-based Noli Interior Design. The professionals from Noli will be letting the event attendees in on some of the tips and tricks to get a home ready to host a holiday get together. Mimosas and brunch bites will be served at the event, which is scheduled to take place just before the Cold Spring Harbor village shop-a-thon. The event is free to attend, but there is limited availability. For information or to attend the event email Noli Interior Design at nolidesign@aol.com.

Shop For A Cause… Shop for a cause next week during the Fabulous Holiday Boutique from 6-9 p.m., Dec. 17 at Mac’s Steakhouse (12 Gerard St. Huntington). The event, organized by Susan L. Miller Art Associates, will feature a selection of fine Indian handicrafts, scarves, jewelry and wristlets for shoppers to peruse while they enjoy appetizers from Mac’s. In addition to the restaurant’s passed appetizers, the event will also feature music by Joe Latini. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Cocoon, Inc. The non-profit provides moral and financial support, education, information and nourishment to women and children from impoverished and marginalized communities. A $10 donation at the door gets you into the restaurant for the festivities.

Santa and the staff at Tutto Pazzo in Halesite are gearing up for the holiday season with the return of their annual snow discounts.

Santa and the staff at Tutto Pazzo in Halesite are gearing up for the holiday season with the return of their annual snow discounts.

Pray For Snow… Don’t let the winter weather stop you from having a good meal this holiday season. Tutto Pazzo Restaurant (84 New York Ave., Huntington) is once again offering its annual snow discounts, and if it snows, it’s worth braving the weather for these deals. When it snows more than five inches diners get 25 percent off food items on the menu. If the snow total exceeds 10 inches, the discount increases to 50 percent. If a blizzard dumps more than 15 inches of snow in Huntington this winter, Tutto Pazzo will offer customers 50 percent off food prices and a free buffet. You just might find yourself praying for snow. Find more information, or view the menu – including Tutto Pazzo’s $39.95/per person holiday party packages – at Tuttopazzo.com.

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.