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, quality ingredients and all those other factors that combine for a stellar meal.
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; just click on the name of the eatery to read the full review.
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: This friendly little house of Asian fare is warm and inviting. The sushi really rings true here; simple and pristine, it’s exactly the kind of food you’d expect from this hospitable newcomer. Recommended: Vietnamese shrimp summer rolls with hoisin dipping sauce (pictured), shrimp tempura and the bento box.
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.
Fargiano's(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Fargiano's, East Islip: You may hear the velvet pipes of chef Richard Desmond, an operatic tenor, emanating from the kitchen at this small Italian eatery with seating for 16. Recommended: Garlicky meatballs over spaghetti (pictured), Neapolitan pizza, Chicago pan pie, eggplant basil bisque, spinach soup fwith Parmesan dumplings and meatballs, meat lasagna, linguine with white clam sauce, bucatini and tomato sauce, pumpkin tiramisu, black and white chocolate torte.
Sushi Republic(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
Sushi Republic, New Hyde Park: An Asian-fusion restaurant with a serene look bolstered by pretty wood dividers that give the illusion of private dining nooks. Recommended: red snapper with black bean sauce (pictured) Thai curry seafood soup, curry-glazed rock shrimp, jalapeño yummy roll with peppered tuna and yellowtail, salmon teriyaki, stir-fried yaki udon with chicken and vegetables.
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.
Azafran Colombian Restaurant(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Azafran, St. James: This simply appointed Colombian newcomer utilizes azafran (saffron in Spanish) in the marinade for the house specialty: rotisserie-roasted chicken. Recommended: tongue in Creole sauce (pictured), chicken platter, tilapia with shrimp in garlic sauce, whole fried porgy, marinated grilled chicken breast, grilled pork chops.
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.
Magic Taco Corp(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Magic Taco Corp, Islip Terrace: With everything from steamed Asian buns to octopus tacos, this is anything but your average taqueria. Recommended: soft corn tortilla tacos with seared marinated tofu and scrambled eggs (pictured), steamed Chinese buns with hoisin barbecue sauce and seared flank steak, rice flour kimchee pancakes with pickled vegetables, banana pancakes.
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)
Crazy Beans, Stony Brook: A cheerful cash-only spinoff of the Miller Place cafe, it serves over-the-top comfort food to customers amid whimsical decor. Recommended: head honcho sandwich (pictured, with grilled steak, fried onions and Cheddar), barbecue chicken quesadilla, cheesy biscuits (with scrambled eggs and sausage gravy), pulled pork panino, 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.)
Dori(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
The flavors of Korea are anything but shy. At Dori in Commack, they come through loud and clear, both in the classics and in a smattering of Chinese dishes with a Korean twist. On the menu: Korean wonton soup, seafood pajun, or scallion pancakes with clams, shrimp and squid, dolsot (hot stone) bibimbap (above), Szechuan seafood rice, and bulgogi, or thinly sliced grilled beef rib eye.
Massa's Coal-Fired Brick Oven Pizzeria(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Pizzaiolo Bill Massa, who used to own a pizzeria in Huntington Station, has opened Massa's Coal-Fired Brick Oven Pizzeria in Huntington. Recommended: The pies, including the white pizza with fresh mozzarella, scallions, pancetta, scamorza cheese and a hint of truffle oil (pictured) and Margherita with Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil.
Brixx & Barley(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
At Long Beach's cavernous and cacophonous new gastropub Brixx & Barley, chef and co-owner Frank Cammarata traffics in big flavors and big portions. Recommended: roasted porchetta hero (pictured, with broccoli rabe and provolone), "smashed meatball" pizza, wings tossed with caramelized onions and garlic, Grandma's eggplant, burgers (including the Brixx burger with fried onion, jalapeno and Cheddar), brisket sandwich, lobster roll, rigatoni Bolognese, house-made tiramisu.
Pho Maxia(Credit: Yana Paskova)
Long Island's diminutive Vietnamese restaurant scene is all the grander for the opening of Pho Maxia in Westbury. Recommended: banh mi sandwich (pictured, with grilled hash pork), pho, fried spring rolls lettuce rolls, beef and chicken satays, banh hoi tom nuong (with lemongrass-grilled shrimp), grilled pork chop on rice.
3 Brothers Cafe(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
At 3 Brothers Cafe, a modestly appointed pizzeria-Italian restaurant in Farmingdale, you'll find two separate menus -- a conventional one, plus a vegan roster, which features dairy-free cheese substitutes and soy-based products in place of meat. Recommended: vegan bacon cheeseburger (pictured), vegan pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, rigatoni Siciliano, shrimp Francese.
Joe's Garage and Grill(Credit: Randee Daddona)
The car-themed Joe's Garage and Grill in Riverhead features a mini racetrack running above the bar and garage doors opening onto a patio; it's a culinary destination too thanks to chef Brian Burner, who cooks from scratch and slow-smokes on premises. Recommended: dry-rubbed St. Louis ribs (pictured), jalapeño-Cheddar biscuits, grilled shrimp over apple-wood bacon grits, Tokyo Drift sliders (steamed Asian buns enfolding pork belly), fried Blue Point oysters, pulled pork sandwich, burger, grilled chicken breast, s'mores chocolate mousse, wild berry pie.
Yevma Authentic Greek Cuisine(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
The ambitious Yevma Authentic Greek Cuisine in East Meadow features an attractive dining space and solid Greek cuisine. Recommended: taramasalata (whipped roe spread), grilled octopus, kalamakia (grilled pork), pikilia Kreaton (mixed grill), house made gyro, kormo (brandy-spiked chocolate cake).