Ayhan Hassan is the driving force behind nine eateries on Long Island. They may be divided into four brands, each offering a similar mix of Mediterranean dishes with influences from Greece, Cyprus, Turkey and the Middle East. All attract large family groups with their generous portions and low prices. At any of them, you never know when Hassan will stop by for a visit.
Here's a quick guide to Ayhan's universe. Check out the full menus on ayhansrestaurants.com:
AYHAN'S SHISH KEBAB
- 550 Sunrise Hwy., Baldwin, 516-223-1414
- 132 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck, 516-498-9300
- 283 Main St., Port Washington, 516-883-9309
- 477 Old Country Rd., Westbury, 516-222-8000
At these bright and airy Mediterranean restaurants, all manner of kebabs predominate on an expansive menu. Dinner kicks off with a great gratis garlic whip, served with Turkish bread. Also on the menu are dips, appetizers and salads as well as whole grilled fish. Popular choices include zucchini "latkes," a resonant red lentil soup and a classic moussaka. Bread and desserts are made in the kitchen of the Port Washington restaurant. Finales are worth every calorie. All Shish Kebab restaurants have a full bar.
AYHAN'S PITA EXPRESS
- 201 Sunrise Hwy., Rockville Centre, 516-255-0005
- 339 Newbridge Rd., East Meadow, 516-557-2615
The term "express" is a loose one, since these table-service restaurants may not get you in and out that quickly. Both offer a trimmed-down version of Ayhan's five full-menu shish kebab restaurants. Rockville Centre has a full bar; in East Meadow, you may bring your own wine.
AYHAN'S FISH KEBAB
286 Main St., Port Washington, 516-883-1515
A classic Greek portico defines the exterior of this attractive seafood-focused restaurant across from the original Shish Kebab. Inside, you pass a fresh fish display en route to a courtyard-like dining room with brick walls, high ceilings and much greenery. Service is especially sharp, the $24.95 three-course prix fixe a genuine deal. Start with the full-flavored fish chowder rife with seafood, followed, perhaps, by delicate whole grilled pink dorado and, finally, a rich, creamy rice pudding. Fish Kebab has a full bar.
AYHAN'S MEDITERRANEAN MARKETPLACE & CAFE
293 Main St., Port Washington, 516-767-1400
This multipurpose spot features a wide array of imported Mediterranean groceries and specialty items, as well as prepared foods -- dips, salads, entrees, pastries and desserts. If you want to eat on premises, a counter-service cafe offers breakfast -- omelets, pancakes, freshly squeezed juices -- along with lunch and dinner.