The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.
It’s not easy to find a place to eat out on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, when restaurateurs are likely to give themselves and their staffs some time off. To ensure that you don’t go hungry, call before heading out to your favorite bistro or sushi bar. Fancier dining rooms offering fixed-price meals, including Polo Steakhouse in Garden City and Scarpetta Beach in Montauk, require reservations. For a quick or casual meal, ethnic eateries such as Fortune Wheel in Levittown and Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen in Greenvale, Carle Place and Woodbury, which will be open for business as usual, are good bets.
Here are some choices:
Ben’s Kosher Delicatessen (140 Wheatley Plaza, Greenvale, 516-621-3340) will be serving its regular menu from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Dec. 24, and from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Dec. 25. That’s great news if you’re craving fried kreplach ($7.99), or stuffed derma ($8.99). Warming chicken soup comes with either a matzo ball, kreplach, noodles or rice ($4.79-$4.99). For dessert, there’s chocolate babka ($3.99) or mini rugelach ($3.49). Other locations in Carle Place and Woodbury.
Cassariano (348 E. Jericho Tpke., Mineola, 516-280-8990) will be serving its regular dinner menu on Christmas Eve from 4:30 to 10. Start with antipasti like burrata with prosciutto ($15.50), beef carpaccio ($13.50) and an eggplant Parmesan tower ($9.50). A dozen pastas range from linguine with seafood and tomatoes ($19.50) to veal ravioli with mushrooms and marsala ($19.50) to manicotti filled with salmon, mascarpone and pesto ($19.50). Entrees are divided into two lists, one with meat that includes chicken scaloppini with smoked mozzarella and tomatoes ($19.50), roast duck breast with fig risotto ($27.50) and veal tenderloin with juniper berries and beluga lentils ($26.50), and the other with fish and seafood dishes such as sea bass piccata ($29.50) and grilled swordfish ($28.50). Reservations recommended.
Eric’s Italian Bistro (70 Old Country Rd., Mineola, 516-280-5675) will be open for lunch on Christmas Eve, and will be serving a limited version of its a la carte dinner menu, along with some holiday specials, on both Christmas Eve (last reservation at 7 p.m.) and Christmas Day (from 1 to 10 p.m.). You might start with arancini alla Romana ($9.95) or polenta-crusted calamari ($12.95). Pastas like penne primavera ($11-$19) and fettucine with salmon ($14-$23) can be ordered in full or half portions. Entrees might include chicken scarpariello ($19.95), tilapia with mussels and clams ($22.95), or pan-roasted filet mignon ($34.95). Reservations recommended.
Fortune Wheel Seafood Restaurant (3601 Hempstead Tpke., Levittown, 516-579-4700) will be open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, noon to midnight. Come to this old-school Chinese restaurant for well-made classics such as lobster with ginger and scallions, shrimp with lobster sauce, kung pao chicken, General Tso’s chicken and eggplant with garlic sauce. Dinner for less than $20 a person. Reservations recommended.
Ginza (45 Carmans Rd., Massapequa, 516-882-9688) will be serving lunch 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, dinner 4:30 to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve, 4:30 to 11 p.m. on Christmas day. There are plenty of choices on the five-page menu, including soups and salads ($3-$9), hot and cold appetizers ($5-$18), a la carte sushi and sashimi ($3-$6) and rolls galore ($5-$24). A wok’n’grill section includes dishes as various as sliced flank steak with Thai basil ($17), crispy duck with pineapple fried rice ($20) and pan-seared tuna with soba noodles ($23). Reservations recommended.
The Orient (623 Hicksville Rd., Bethpage, 516-822-1010) will be open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., serving dim sum from 11 to 3 p.m. and the regular menu throughout. If you enjoy old-school Chinese, you will like the greaseless shrimp toast ($5.50), beautifully lacquered barbecued spare ribs ($9.95-$12.95) and spicy shrimp with garlic sauce ($13.95).
Polo Steakhouse at Garden City Hotel (45 Seventh St., Garden City, 516-877-9385) will be serving a limited a la carte menu on Christmas Eve starting at 4:30 p.m. and on Christmas Day. You might start your meal here with East Coast oysters ($17), Littleneck clams ($12) or jumbo shrimp cocktail. Then there are salads (an iceberg wedge, traditional Caesar, roasted beet, or apple and arugula) for $14 each. Grilled steaks and chops, including a 16-ounce New York strip ($60) and a 22-ounce bone-in rib-eye ($56), are impressive. There is a full menu of steakhouse sides, including buttermilk mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, and baked potato for $9 each. Reservations required.
Ristorante Da Claudio (51 Cedar Swamp Rd., Glen Cove, 516-801-6700, ristorantedaclaudio.com) has a special Christmas Eve menu. The largely Italian selection includes appetizers such as prosciutto and melon ($14), burrata mozzarella ($14) and baked clams oreganata ($13). Cheese ravioli ($24) and rigatoni with veal ragu ($24) are the pasta choices. Among the entrée choices are veal chop ($45) stuffed with prosciutto and fontina, and a frito misto ($45) with shrimp, scallops, monkfish and sole. Reservations recommended.
Sugo (62 W. Park Ave., Long Beach, 516-431-7846, sugocafe.com) will be open from 4 to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve serving its complete dinner menu, which may include appetizers such as calamari with arrabiata sauce ($12) and Asian-inspired chicken dumplings ($9). Mains might feature gnocchi Bolognese ($22), zucchini linguine with seafood ($26), chicken scarpariello with andouille sausage ($23) and boneless short ribs. Reservations recommended.
Union Prime Steak and Sushi (661 Northern Blvd., Great Neck, 516-487-9200, unionprimesteak.com) will be open on Christmas Eve from 5 to 10 p.m. and Christmas Day from 1 to 8 p.m., serving its regular dinner menu. There is a large choice of traditional Japanese or order sushi and sashimi by the piece or platter. On the steakhouse side of the menu are a variety of appetizers (Kobe meatballs for $17, French onion soup for $11), salads (wedge or Caesar for $12) and fish and poultry entrees. Union Prime serves 35-day dry-aged beef. Cuts you might try include a 10-ounce petit filet mignon ($42) and a New York sirloin ($49). Or go for broke with a $59 porterhouse steak. Reservations recommended.
West East Bistro (758 S. Broadway, Hicksville, 516-939-6618, westeastbistro.com) is offering a special $38 fixed-price menu for both Christmas Eve (4 to 10 p.m.) and Christmas Day, (2 to 9 p.m.) featuring grass-fed beef, organic poultry, pasture-raised lamb, sustainable seafood, organic produce, and plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free choices. Reservations required.
Ala Turca (691 Route 109, West Babylon, 631-450-4478) is offering two set menus for Christmas Eve and possibly Christmas Day, depending on interest. The first, at $52 a person includes mussels, Turkish ravioli, baby lamb chops or grilled salmon, and a special dessert plate. The second, at $47, features a cold appetizer sampler platter, calamari, beef saute ala Turka served over hummus and with Mediterranean salad or stuffed eggplant served with rice and salad, along with dessert. Reservations recommended.
Almond (1 Ocean Rd., Bridgehampton, 631-537-5665, almondrestaurant.com) will be open on Christmas Eve from 5:30-9:30 p.m., offering its regular dinner menu. Start your holiday meal with Buffalo-style Sagaponack cauliflower ($15) or Moroccan-style lamb meatballs ($15). Entrees include mac and cheese with prosciutto and truffles ($25), Peconic Bay scallops ($36), and bistro classics like mussels and fries ($28). Reservations recommended.
Caci North Fork (56125 Main Rd., Southold, 631-765-4383, cacinorthfork.com) will observe Italian tradition on Dec. 24, with a fixed-price Feast of the Seven Fishes menu starting at 5 p.m. Seafood starters will include swordfish carpaccio with ginger, lemon grass and celery, and pan-seared Peconic Bay scallops. The soup course will be Tuscan chickpea passatine with shrimp. Next comes lobster and leek lasagna, followed by roasted monkfish. Dessert is a ricotta and chocolate torta with orange sorbet. $65 a person, reservations required.
Harbor Grill (367 Three Mile Harbor Rd., East Hampton, 631-604-5290) will be serving its regular menu, plus some holiday specials, on Christmas Eve. The restaurant’s casual fare includes appetizers such as guacamole and chips ($10), chicken wings in a variety of flavors ($12) and steamed mussels ($12). There are sandwiches, burgers and flatbreads for $12-$17. Entrees might include Mongolian baby-back ribs ($20), teriyaki salmon ($24) and chicken cordon bleu ($23). Reservations recommended.
Jewel (400 Broadhollow Rd., Melville, 631-755-5777, jewelrestaurantli.com) is celebrating Christmas Eve with a fixed-price menu ($45 a person). Choice of appetizers includes shrimp and veal meatballs and tuna tartare with white soy-truffle vinaigrette. Butter-poached lobster, pan-seared scallops and root beer-braised short ribs are among the entrees.
Jonathan’s Ristorante (15 Wall St., Huntington, 631-549-0055, jonathansristorante.com) will offer a special Christmas Eve menu as well as its regular dinner menu from 4 to 9 p.m. Just for the holiday: beet salad with pomegranate, walnuts and robiola cheese ($15), pancetta corn chowder with shrimp ($12), risotto with seared scallops ($34) and a 16-ounce rack of lamb with rosemary poached pears ($39). Reservations recommended.
Restaurant Mirabelle (150 Main St., Stony Brook, 631-751-0555) will be cooking a special three-course Christmas Eve dinner. The meal begins with an appetizer such as pan-roasted foie gras or duck soup. Indulgent main courses include seared black sea bass or prime rib . Choose from artisan cheeses, Bûche de Noël, chocolate tart or fruit bread pudding for dessert. And let the kiddies loose at “the candy store” for children only. $65 for adults, half- price for children 10 and under. Reservations required.
Nick & Toni’s (136 N. Main St., East Hampton, 631-324-3550, nickandtonis.com) will be open on Christmas Eve, from 6 p.m. till around 10. There will be holiday specials in addition to the a la carte menu, which includes appetizers such as fois gras torchon ($21), cauliflower salad ($16) and octopus ($21); pizzas from the wood-burning oven ($16-$21), pastas like pappardelle ($26) or cavatelli ($25); and mains including venison ($38), local black fish ($39). Reservations recommended.
Scarpetta Beach (290 Old Montauk Hwy. at Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa, 631-668-1771) has a special prix-fixe menu for Christmas Day. There will be a choice of first courses (including chestnut soup with porcini and root vegetables), pastas (like short rib and bone-marrow agnolotti with garlic chps and horseradish), main courses (such as lamb loin with braised artichoke and radish), and desserts like the espresso budino with salted caramel, all for $85 a person. Dinner is served from 2 to 10 p.m. Reservations required.
Tutto Pazzo (84 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-271-2253, tuttopazzo.com) will be open for Christmas Eve dinner from 4 to 7:30 p.m. There will be a special Christmas Eve a la carte menu, including a traditional seven fishes seafood salad appetizer and a seven fried fishes entrée. Reservations recommended.
View (3 Consuelo Place, Oakdale, 631-589-2694) will feature a special a la carte menu as well as a full sushi menu from 5 to 10 p.m. on Christmas Eve. In addition to diver scallops ($38) and salmon ($30), entrees will include pappardelle Bolognese ($24) and herb-roasted chicken breast ($26). A children’s menu of chicken fingers, pasta and hamburgers is available for the little ones. Reservations recommended.