Latest Cheap Eats restaurant reviews
Price doesn't always equate to quality, and plenty of LI restaurants prove that point with their creative approaches, authenticity and quality ingredients.
Reviewer Joan Reminick is always on the hunt for a top-notch meal that comes with a low price tag. Here are the latest Cheap Eats restaurants she's reviewed.
3 Brothers Vegan Cafe(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
3 Brothers Vegan Cafe, Copiague: Long Island vegans now have a restaurant entirely their own, thanks to one ambitious 23-year-old. Chef Jay Astafa (whose pizza won first place in a 2011 national vegan competition) co-owns the place with his parents and brothers. What they offer is an exclusively plant-based menu -- no meat, no eggs, no milk, no cheese. Vegan cheese, though, is made in-house using cashew milk. Standouts include oyster-mushroom calamari, Buffalo cauliflower, arancini (Italian rice balls), a classic Caesar salad, eggplant Parmigiana and seitan piccata.
Das Biergarten(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Das Biergarten, Long Beach: Restaurateur Andrew Hetzler's Long Beach beer hall and restaurant radiates "Gemutlichkeit," a feeling of warmth and welcome. Weekends, the action really gets going, with live German music and all kinds of beer-drinking festivities at long communal wooden tables. Recommended dishes include crisp, comforting potato pancakes, the classic bratwurst sandwich on a pretzel bun, schweinshaxe -- a big crisp-skinned roasted pork shank served with the ever-versatile red cabbage -- and, for dessert, warm apple strudel with vanilla bean ice cream.
Masalah Grill(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Masalah Grill, Huntington Station: At this little jewel of a Pakistani-Indian eatery, flavors take precedence over frills. Executive chef-owner Farzana Sohail, who hails from Pakistan and chef de cuisine Francis Calaco, who is from India, produce such standouts as flaky potato and pea samosas, elegant chicken biryani (a rice dish), creamy-rich chicken tikka masala and soulful goat curry.
New York Burger Bar(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
New York Burger Bar, Massapequa: A certifiably hip spot (brick walls, wood floors, tin ceiling, earsplitting noise level), New York Burger Bar focuses on its namesake specialty, with a few side trips. Standouts include the cheese-stuffed Juicy Lucy, a simple Cheddar burger and a surprisingly moist and flavorsome turkey burger. A quirky hit is the French Canadian phenomenon called poutine -- hand-cut fries topped with brown gravy and cheese curds. Finish with a chocolate milk shake or brownie sundae, both made with Häagen-Dazs ice cream.
Golden Dynasty(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Golden Dynasty, St. James: Chinese nostalgia classics, like BBQ spareribs, scallion pancakes and shrimp lo mein, are served with style at this classy Chinese newcomer whose roots in St. James go back more than two decades.
Oregano Joe's(Credit: Christopher Occhicone)
Oregano Joe's, Wantagh: Steeped in Long Island tradition, Oregano Joe's offers the classic Italian-American comfort trinity: Pizza, pasta and parms. Not to be missed is the Sunday macaroni special (pictured), featuring pasta with stewed short rib, meatball and sweet Italian sausage. Also recommended: calamari arrabiatta (sauce on the side), chicken parm, and the Nutella sundae for dessert.
Rincon Criollo Restaurant(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Rincon Criollo Restaurant, Huntington Station: Lively, hearty Cuban food is what Rincon Criollo has been feeding diners in Corona, Queens, since 1976. Now, the restaurant has opened a branch in Huntington Station. You?ll want to go the handsome and hospitable spot for such dishes as the Cuban tamale, ropa vieja (softly stewed beef), Cuban sandwich and custardy flan de leche.
Tony Cuban Cucina & Cocktails(Credit: Marisol Diaz)
Tony Cuban Cucina & Cocktails, Freeport: You'll want to catch the prix-fixe meal deals at non-prime-time hours at this Cuban-Italian hybrid with a lovely water view. Avoid bustling weekend evenings and, instead, settle in for a $15.15 lunch (or $20. 95 dinner) that includes a beverage as well as an appetizer and main course. Among top choices: eggplant "frittes," pulled pork quesadilla (pictured), mussels and the innovative Cuban-Italian sandwich, a classic Cubano punched up with prosciutto and Genoa salami.
Azulejos Fine Mexican Cuisine(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Azulejos Fine Mexican Cuisine, Smithtown: You know at the first bite of the moist, savory tamales that Azulejos is no ordinary Mexican restaurant. This you might not guess by looking at the menu, embedded with such Americanized items as chimichangas, burritos and fajitas. Recommended items in chef Lorenzo Gonzalez's repertoire include a vibrant shrimp ceviche, tacos Mexicanos (the piquant chorizo sausage version is tops), juicy chuletas de cerdo (or grilled pork chops in garlic sauce) and, for dessert, bananas flambe.
Chevere Modern Latin Kitchen(Credit: Marisol Diaz)
Chevere Modern Latin Kitchen, Freeport: Chevere gets its name from a Latin American slang word for hip, cool and awesome. It's a name this ambitious little Dominican and pan-Latin place earns daily. Among recommended dishes: A vibrant beets and greens salad and scallop-edged taquitos filled with shrimp, steak and chicken. Also not to be missed are the shrimp mofongo and El Puerquito chimi, a Domonican sandwich of slow-roasted pork. Finish with the moist, milky tres leches cake or the syrup-soaked coconut cake called El Coco.
Asia Taste(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Asia Taste, Hauppauge: Tucked away in the corner of a Meat Farms strip mall, this quiet, spacious and comfortable Thai-Japanese newcomer easily escapes notice. It shouldn't. Recommendations from the Thai section of the menu include a rousing tom kha gai (chicken coconut soup) and nuanced curries, among them a pineapple-shrimp curry (pictured), green curry with shrimp and Penang curry with chicken. From the sushi bar comes a lovely chirashi as well as numerous rolls featuring both fish and rice at ideal temperature.
One Block East(Credit: Aaron Zebrook)
One Block East, Wantagh: Casual and cacophonous, One Block East features an impressive array of craft brews - many of them local - on tap and in bottles. Although the high-decibel place can be something of a roller-coaster ride, chef Brian Chichester's cooking makes it one usually worth taking. Among recommendations: pulled pork empanadas, smoked brisket tacos, fish and chips and a gluten-free banana cream pie dessert served in a Mason jar.
Swingbellys Beachside BBQ(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Swingbellys Beachside BBQ, Long Beach: Having seen the wrath of superstorm Sandy, two renovations and five different pitmasters, Swingbellys Beachside BBQ comes out swinging harder than ever. Credit pitmaster and co-owner Dan Monteforte, who was on the scene when the place opened eight years ago and returns after a two-year absence.
Lucharitos Taco and Tequila Bar(Credit: Randee Daddona)
Lucharitos Taco and Tequila Bar, Greenport: Inspired by the colorfully outfitted Mexican wrestlers called luchadors, Lucharitos Taco and Tequila Bar is a heavy weight in the taco category. This bustling Greenport restaurant, recently expanded, excels with traditional soft-corn tacos filled with fish, shrimp, meat and even mushrooms.
Gino's of Kings Park(Credit: Benjamin Petit)
Gino's of Kings Park, Kings Park: Booming decibel levels and big portions define the new Gino's of Kings Park, where weekend dinner often comes with a din. What's made the place an instant neighborhood hit is the vibrancy of the value-priced fare and the big portions. Recommendations include butternut squash soup, hot antipasto for two, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parm and chicken pizzaola. Expect to leave carrying doggy bags.
Smokin' Al's Famous BBQ Joint(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Smokin' Al's Famous BBQ Joint, Massapequa Park: Call him the "Comeback Kid." Two years after closing his original Bay Shore house of 'cue, pitmaster Al Horwitz is smokin' at a whole new level in Massapequa Park. The 7-year-old Nassau offshoot may be bigger than the original, but it has the same vibe: swing music on the sound system and whimsical pigs-on-the-town adorning the brick walls. Yet, it's the food coming out of both the smokers and the kitchen that commands attention.
Good Eats Cafe(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Good Eats Cafe, Amityville: Good Eats Cafe is an eatery with a mission: to feed people healthfully and, at the same time, well. The unusual spot is affiliated with a gym within the same strip mall and offers dietician-planned meals for delivery. Some dining room recommendations: A bright and herbal goat cheese/arugula flatbread, a vibrant grilled shrimp salad and a juicy herbal chicken burger topped with corn relish.
Chef Wang(Credit: Benjamin Petit)
Chef Wang, New Hyde Park: At this big bi-level spot, highly credentialed Sichuan chef Ding Gen Wang offers a high degree of culinary authenticity. Since this is, after all, Long Island, the restaurant is equipped with a sushi bar. As fresh and well-cut as the raw fish turns out to be, the kitchen dishes are the main draw. Recommendations include smoked tofu with Chinese celery, a cold appetizer almost startling in its sprightliness, West Lake beef soup and cumin fried lamb, which unleashes a slow, seductive burn. Shredded pork with dry bean curd is a bold and smoky number. And youll want to keep your chopsticks busy with shredded duck and string beans in a subtly electric black pepper sauce.
Pulcinella Neapolitan Restaurant(Credit: Aaron Zebrook)
Pulcinella Neapolitan Restaurant, Massapequa: At this sprawling spawn of a Massapequa pizzeria, chef co-owner Ciro Tursi pays culinary tribute to his Neapolitan roots. Dishes you'll want to try: tender grilled octopus with fava beans, mini rice balls, fresh pappardelle Bolognese and veal Parmigiana. Finish with a lush wedge of pistachio cheese cake or, better yet, a hazelnut-enriched layering of dark, milk and white chocolate mousse.
Bluestone Tavern(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Bluestone Tavern, West Sayville: It's as if someone had taken a magic wand to the former 21 Main, transforming the pricey, stuffy steakhouse into someplace hip, young and affordable. John Menz's menu, headlined by whimsical, spirited appetizers, works well in the strikingly attractive setting. Recommendations include short rib sliders, meatball Parm pops, a meatball flight and a marinated sirloin sandwich. Finish with "milk and cookies" i.e., a mini chocolate shake with two warm chocolate chip cookies placed rakishly atop.
Manning's Pub and Grill(Credit: Marisol Diaz)
Manning's Pub and Grill, Carle Place: With countless TVs tuned to the big game, the decibel level at this sprawling Irish pub is often out-of-control. But the kitchen isnt at least not when chef de cuisine Paul Hanzel is in the house. Things can get erratic, though, on quieter nights, when nobody seems in command. Recommended dishes include an appetizer sampler platter, served on a shamrock-shaped wooden board, pigs in blankets, chicken pot pie, spinach-arugula salad and the comforting, savory shepherds pie.
Anaconda Latin Fusion Bistro(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Anaconda Latin Fusion Bistro, Huntington Station: Peruvian rotisserie chicken, bronze and juicy is just one of the attractions at this pretty pan-Latin spot. You'll find weekend musical entertainment with broad appeal as well as such culinary draws as asprightly ceviche, savory shrimp with garlic sauce and hearty Colombian meat platter, or bandeja.
Raagini Indian Restaurant(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Raagini Indian Restaurant, Baldwin: Dinner at the quirky and colorful Raagini Indian Restaurant can make you feel you?re eating in someone?s home ? someone who cares about feeding people well and attentively. Recommended dishes include the assorted kebab platter, garlic shrimp (pictured), goat curry, lamb jhalfrezi, saag paneer, fish tika and Kadai shrimp. Finish with gulab jamun or kheer.
Zaza Japan Asian Bistro & Hibachi(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Zaza Japan Asian Bistro & Hibachi, East Northport: Once seated in the lounge-like dining room, you'll be handed an iPad instead of a printed menu; you order verbally. Recommended: chicken-and-vegetable tempura (pictured), rock shrimp tempura, beef teriyaki, spider roll with soft shell crab, sushi entree.
Sazon Dominicano(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Sazon Dominicano, Freeport: What was once a small counter-serve eatery dispensing hearty Dominican fare from a steam table behind a counter, has now expanded and enhanced its dining experience. Recommended: camarones al ajillo (pictured); mini mofongos; Stuffed sweet plantains with beef.
Amerrickana Tapas & Bar(Credit: Jennifer S. Altman)
Amerrickana Tapas & Bar, Merrick: A bright and cheery spot, this restaurant has both small and large plates. Recommended are fish tacos, fig and prosciutto flatbread, and the Cuban panino.
Luna Garden(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Luna Garden, Syosset: The tastefully appointed little Chinese restaurant that transports you back to simpler times ? you won't find a sushi bar here, nor neon accents ? offers personal warmth courtesy of owner Joanna Yuen, who greets diners as if they are guests in her home. Recommended: kung pao delight (pictured), chicken corn soup, barbecue spareribs, egg foo young and shrimp chow fun.
Karvers Grille(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Karvers Grille, Holbrook: The rustically attractive pub have carved out quite a local niche for itself, reverberating on weekends and weeknights alike. Recommended: jumbo Bavarian pretzel, crabcakes, Buffalo shrimp, oregano-crusted Greek lamb burger, cheeseburger with hand-cut sweet potato fries (pictured).
Still Partners(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Still Partners, Sea Cliff: Now under new ownership, Still Partners has become a music venue and, recently, a restaurant with an interesting list of craft beers. This local joint is big on comfort food as well.
Mac & Melts(Credit: Kathy Kmonicek)
Mac & Melts, Garden City: Specializing in all manner of mac and cheese preparations as well as grilled cheese and other sandwich melts is Mac & Melts in Garden City. Here, you order at the counter and your food will be brought to you when it?s ready. Be sure to choose the simplest sandwiches for the best experience here. Recommended: "all American" mac and cheese, Wisconsin melt, M and M sampler
Spuntino(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Spuntino, St. James: Warm and friendly service adds to the overall experience here. And, much like it's Dix Hills location, you can get a pleasant meal here-- it's what you'd expect at a neighborhood spot that runs on familiarity. Recommended: Margherita pizzette, fettuccine Bolognese, chicken Parm
Krung Tep Thai(Credit: Jennifer S. Altman)
Krung Tep Thai Bistro, Great Neck: This Thai restaurant came into being when two good friends decided to pool their skills and launch a restaurant. Dug Sae Jung, whose family owned a dining spot in Thailand, runs the serenely pretty little dining room. Most dishes demonstrate the forethought and care that characterizes so much at this still-blossoming newcomer. Recommended: Thai spareribs, Saraburi curry puffs, Thai curry
Casa del Campo Dominican Restaurant(Credit: Marisol Diaz)
Casa del Campo Dominican Restaurant, North Babylon: Live Latin music fills the place most weekends, but the real enjoyment at Casa del Campo is chef Andres Garcia's Dominican repertoire, which is as satisfying as it is well-priced. Recommended: Chicken and cheese empanadas, pernil asado and the Cuban sandwich
AlaTurca Mediterranean Restaurant(Credit: Marisol Diaz)
AlaTurca Mediterranean Restaurant, West Babylon: A simple but still evolving restaurant, AlaTurca Mediterranean Restaurant holds promise and ambition, especially with it's authentic fare. Recommended: Sucuk pide (pictured), sea bass, chicken kebab
Heike Sushi(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Heiki Sushi, East Northport: This trim little strip mall spot serves Japanese cuisine from sushi to duck fajitas. Recommended: sushi sandwich (pictured, featuring black sesame-seeded soy paper serving as "bread," and, inside, a layering of spicy tuna, eel and avocado), "crazy tuna" roll (with both black pepper-seared and spicy tuna), peanut-avocado roll, shrimp and vegetable tempura, tuna teriyaki, tofu teriyaki.
EAT Gastropub(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
EAT Gastropub, Oceanside: With its own greenhouse that sends forth herbs and produce, EAT Gastropub in Oceanside gives new meaning to the phrase "locally grown." Along with a repertoire of updated comfort classics, craft beers and imaginative cocktails, the aspirational new place delivers a surprisingly high caliber of cooking at diner-style prices. Recommended: The gastro burger (pictured), chicken potpie and meatloaf TV dinner
Riella's Homestyle(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Riella's Homestyle, Levittown: Riella's is big on simple Italian-American comforts. Friendly and efficient servers will explain that dishes come in both individual and family-style portions, but most individual portions easily feed two; order accordingly. Recommended: Baked clams (pictured) capped with house-made bread crumbs and spices, the warm Gianfranco salad and Shrimp fra diavolo
Akebono Fusion Sushi(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Akebono Fusion Sushi, Greenlawn: A friendly little house of Asian fare where you?ll find well-crafted sushi. Recommended: Vietnamese shrimp summer rolls (pictured), shrimp tempura, shrimp teriyaki, sashimi, sunshine roll (eel, salmon and avocado), fantasy roll (spicy tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado and jalapeno), and mochi.
Stella Blue(Credit: Marisol Diaz)
Stella Blue, Huntington: An eccentric new eatery named for a Grateful Dead song evokes the days of Woodstock. Though it's a challenge to find comfortable seating in the mix of mismatched antique furniture, and counter service is super friendly but not always super efficient, this eclectic spot holds a ton of promise. Recommended: smoky pulled pork platter with house-made slaw and jalapeno cornbread (pictured), El Paso with pulled pork, grilled peppers and onions, Cheddar and sour cream, and mini powdered doughnuts.
Spaghettini Pizza Trattoria(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Spaghettini Pizza Trattoria, Mineola: This sleek new pizzeria-trattoria is a satisfying local eatery that shares family ownership with the diet-friendly Skinny Pizza mini-chain. Chef Franco Brunetti, who hails from southern Italy, offers a menu that combines time-tested recipes from the Vetrano family with his own Italian repertoire, all of which are worthy of your attention. Recommended: pasta primavera with a fresh assortment of vegetables (pictured), rice ball, octopus bruschetta, Neapolitan and grandma pies, spaghetti with white clam sauce, chicken cacciatore, calamari fra diavolo, eggplant rollatini, chicken Francese, tiramisu
Green Tea Restaurant(Credit: John Griffin)
Green Tea Restaurant, Stony Brook: Authentic Chinese cuisine within walking distance of Stony Brook University. This restaurant features traditional dishes that are authentic and compelling. Even though there's no dessert just yet, this destination dining spot is still very much worth your time. Recommended: walnut shrimp (pictured), shrimp dumpling soup, hot and sour soup, fisherman-style fish fillet (fried flounder tossed with chili peppers, garlic, cilantro, black beans and dried pork), cumin tofu
Grillmark(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Grillmark, Albertson: This is that rare restaurant you can feel good about frequenting more than once a week: Surroundings are sleek, prices moderate and the menu, devoted to Mediterranean-style fare, skews healthy. Recommended: all skewers, though particularly good is the swordfish (pictured); house-made chicken and pork gyros; salmon kale salad with quinoa and avocado; Thai shrimp salad featuring fennel and pineapple; baklava, rice pudding
Taqueria Cielito Lindo(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)
Taqueria Cielito Lindo, Riverhead: This friendly, authentically Mexican eatery is owned by married co-chefs Jasmin and Edgar Diaz-Leal, who emphasize food over ambience. Recommended: handmade soft corn tortilla tacos filled is with campechanos, a lively mix of shredded beef, pork and Mexican sausage. (Pictured: Posole rojo, a hearty soup with pork and hominy)
Ra-Kang Thai Cuisine(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Ra-Kang Thai Cuisine, Long Beach: Married co-owners Houng Inthavixay and Shane Suvitayawat, both born in Thailand, bring together a team of three skilled Thai chefs. Recommended: shrimp tom yum soup, shrimp-basil rolls, duck-noodle soup, pot stickers, pad see-ew (flat rice noodles, stir-fried with Chinese broccoli and egg), red curry shrimp, duck Penang curry. (Pictured: beef noodle soup with braised beef, meatballs, Chinese broccoli and scallions)
Mama Mia of Northport(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Mama Mia of Northport, Northport: Though it may be packed and noisy, the fresh ingredients and authentic dishes make this spot worth the wait. Recommended: Margherita pizzette, Chicken pizzaiola, Eggplant parm, Cajun grilled salmon, spaghetti and meatballs
Bosphorus Cafe Grill(Credit: Aaron Zebrook)
Bosphorus Cafe Grill, Port Washington: A highlight at the new Turkish restaurant includes lavas, a seed-sprinkled, golden bread that's the ideal vehicle for the many dips. Recommended: shepherd's salad (pictured, with chopped cucumber, tomato, pepper, red onion, feta), spinach-feta pide, lamb Adana kebabs, house-made gyro kebab, kofte kebab (grilled lamb and veal patties), chargrilled whole tilapia, kazandibi (caramelized milk pudding, rice pudding, flan
Manka Peruvian Kitchen(Credit: Michael Falco)
Manka Peruvian Kitchen, Glen Cove: After getting a culinary degree and cooking at some of Manhattan's top dining destinations, Boris Torres has opened a restaurant that pays homage to the land of his birth and offers food highlighting his dual training as both architect and chef. Recommended: mixed seafood ceviche (pictured), octopus salad, chicken tamal, rotisserie chicken, tiradito of grilled shrimp and calamari, cold green mussels, lomo saltado with vegetables and strips of steak, pisco caliente cocktail with mango and rocoto peppers
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, Garden City: There's no need to commit to a big meal at this offshoot of a New Jersey restaurant where there are plenty of options for sharing, plus interesting wines by the bottle and glass ? even a few on tap. Recommended: grilled marinated lamb chops (pictured); ricotta gnocchi with a wild boar ragout; bruschetta with watermelon, ricotta, fennel and fresh mint; funghi white pizza; psaghetti carbonara with bacon, peas and egg; apple crostata
Crazy Beans(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Over-the-top comfort fare is what Crazy Beans in Stony Brook does best. A cheerful cash-only spinoff of a Miller Place cafe, you'll do well with a dish called cheesy biscuits: flaky Cheddar biscuits crowned with soft scrambled eggs and a savory gravy speckled with bits of sausage. And definitely grab a raisin scone.
Lemongrass Thai & Chinese Restaurant(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Like so many pan-Asian spots, Lemongrass Thai & Chinese Restaurant in Oceanside sets out to please just about everybody; what sets it apart, though, is fare that, more often than not, is as vibrant as it is comforting. Recommended: Chicken coconut soup, shu mai (shrimp dumplings), pork and vegetable dumplings, chicken with sticky rice, pad see yu (broad noodles with chicken), Panang curry with pumpkin, mango duck, Thai eggplant, moo goo gai pan, Thai coconut cake. (Pictured: pad thai with shrimp)