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.
Mazi(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Mazi, Riverhead: After a fire destroyed his previous restaurant, Athens Grill, John Mantzopoulos has returned with this more casual and moderately-priced Mediterranean-Greek spot, which has a sleek industrial look. A major strength is house-made gyro from a chef committed to making virtually everything from scratch. Other items you won't want to miss are braised giant butter beans, panko-crusted crab fritters, moussaka, spinach pie and a mixed grill platter with chargrilled skewered pork and chicken and a lamb chop.
Tum Thai Cuisine(Credit: Benjamin Petit)
Tum Thai Cuisine, Rockville Centre: Amid gold leaf ceiling sculptures, delicate crystal chandeliers and gilded birdcages, you'll find a compelling array of Thai dishes at Tum Thai Cuisine. Recommendations include a nuanced tom kha gai (chicken coconut soup), comforting curry puffs and a complex red curry with shrimp. Finish with an elegant creme brulee, presented in three flavors.
Amity Ales Brewpub & Eatery(Credit: Benjamin Petit)
Amity Ales Brewpub & Eatery, Amityville: In rustic-chic surroundings, Amity Ales Brew Pub & Eatery serves up craft brews -- at least one made on premises -- and a menu of satisfying Irish-American pub classics. Recommendations include a warm pretzel with cheddar ale dip, baked clams, a thick juicy burger with irresistible hand-cut fries and ultra-comforting shepherd's pie.
Schout Bay Tavern(Credit: Benjamin Petit)
Schout Bay Tavern, Manhasset: Schout Bay (pronounced Scout Bay) is the Dutch name originally given to Manhasset, home to this uber-hip new tavern. Decor is sleek and classy, with comfortable raised booths in the bar area and tables in the rear. On weekend evenings, the place can look (and sound) as if all Manhasset has squeezed inside. What keeps people coming back is chef Shawn Patrick's cooking. Recommendations include such dishes as butternut squash soup, mac and cheese with pork belly and panko crumbs, cedar plank salmon, roasted Cornish hen and, at brunch, avocado toast topped with smoked salmon.
PeraBell Food Bar(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
PeraBell Food Bar, Riverhead: PeraBell Food Bar, the offshoot of a popular Patchogue spot, has become an instant hit in Riverhead. Pizza from the restaurant's wood-burning oven is a must; request the pizza menu if you're not given one. Other standouts include creamy mac and four cheeses, a first-rate "chophouse" burger, crisp-skinned half chicken and, for dessert, creme brulee.
Escorza's Mexican Restaurant(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Escorza's Mexican Restaurant, Levittown: When a restaurant is driven by passion, you know it: The food is that much more vibrant, the service that much warmer and more professional. Such is the case at Escorza's Mexican Restaurant in Levittown, whose Mexico City-born chef-owner Rene Escorza clearly loves what he does. Among the many standouts here are the rich, resonant tortilla soup, made-to-order guacamole, Mexican-style chorizo tacos, chicken mole poblano and tres leches cake.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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 isn't 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.
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.
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.
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
Red Ginger Asian Diner(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Though everything is made in-house, Red Ginger Asian Diner in East Northport is not a diner at all. Instead, the eatery occupies that largely unfilled niche between full-scale restaurant and takeout shop. Recommended: pad Thai (pictured, with chicken), spring rolls, hot and sour soup, wonton soup, chicken lettuce wraps, salt-and-pepper wings, Thai basil tofu and vegetables, black pepper shrimp, ginger broccoli steak, Thai fried rice
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
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
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
That Meetball Place(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
A lively spot with a bar and LI's first restaurant dedicated to the meatball, That Meetball Place is housed in a cavernous Patchogue space built with reclaimed wood and brick. Recommended: meatballs (including the classic beef, pork and veal, pictured, lobster risotto and Moroccan lamb), Cajun tomato bisque, veg-da-ball sandwich, risotto
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
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
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
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.
Spuntino(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Spuntino, St. James: Warm and friendly service adds to the overall experience here. And, much like its 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
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
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)
Corazon de Cuba(Credit: Barbara Alper)
A bi-level restaurant with an array of specialties from from Cuban-born chef Oscar Juarez, Corazon de Cuba is new to Long Beach. Recommended: roast chicken (pictured), picadera Cubana (an appetizer plate with empanadas, ham croquettes, shrimp fritters, chicken wings and corn on the cob), grilled steak bocadillos, quesadillas de ropa vieja (with shredded of skirt steak), bacalaitos (codfish cakes), salpicon (seafood salad), Cuban sandwich, lechon asado (roast pork), dessert empanadas stuffed with rice pudding
Bahama Breeze Island Grille(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
In Lake Grove, Bahama Breeze Island Grille offers a corporate chain version of tropical paradise that draws crowds of all ages. Recommended: chicken empanadas (pictured), habanero chicken wings, mojito-marinated pulled pork, Key lime pie, "chocolate island" (chocolate mousse on a fudge brownie), red sangria
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)
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)
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
Chennai Dosas(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)
Chennai Dosas in Hicksville is a cheerful little eatery that can change the way you view lunch buffets, vegetarian eating and Southern cooking — Southern Indian, that is. Recommended: lunch buffet (including utthapam pancakes, pictured) Kangipuram iddly (cream of rice cakes studded with chilies and cashews), bhel puri (puffed rice, crisped noodles), aloo chat (spicy boiled potato and chickpea salad)
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