Lettuce wraps have become the darlings of Asian restaurants. The roll-ups usually feature a hot mixture of chicken and vegetables served alongside cool iceberg or romaine lettuce leaves. The point is to roll your own, taking care not to let too much sauce drip down your chin.
Here are five versions.
RED GINGER ASIAN DINER, 353 Larkfield Rd., East Northport
At this super-casual counter-serve spot, a savory chicken and vegetable stir-fry is meant to be bundled up in cold, crisp iceberg leaves. ($7.25)
TANG ASIAN FUSION, 903-A Montauk Hwy., Copiague
An ideal dish for sharing are these crisp lettuce wraps, which play warm minced poultry with cashews and vegetables against the cool crunch of iceberg. ($6.95)
HAIKU ASIAN BISTRO, 8025 Jericho Tpke., Woodbury
Leaves of romaine lettuce accompany a lively stir-fry of chicken or tofu and pine nuts, to be wrapped, rolled and, perhaps, dipped in a hoisin plum sauce. ($9.50 for 3; $13.95 for 5)
MONSOON ASIAN KITCHEN & LOUNGE, 48 Deer Park Ave., Babylon
Newsday has awarded this restaurant serving Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes four stars. The appetizer of Bibb lettuce wraps, a chicken and coconut mixture piled prettily on cups of crisp lettuce and served with a Thai peanut dipping sauce, is consistently enticing. ($12)
PHO MAXIA, 817 Carman Ave., Westbury
Long Island's diminutive Vietnamese restaurant scene is all the grander for the opening of this storefront serving crisp, delicate hot fried spring rolls ($5.75), which you wrap in lettuce leaves, along with fresh mint, then dip in fish sauce. You'll also want to try the banh hoi ($14.75 with grilled shrimp), with angel hair pasta woven into little patties, steamed and presented with lettuce leaves, fresh mint and pickled vegetables.