The 10 best international restaurants on Long Island
Small world. But it's also one with a dizzying array of flavors at these 10 Long Island restaurants, which collect the cuisines of two or more countries and make them their own. Continental restaurants used to be the go-to choices for haute Long Island, with their hybrid Italian-French-and-maybe-more approach. These build on that local tradition in eclectic, inventive ways. They're Newsday's Top 10 international restaurants. The favorite: Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton. -- PETER M. GIANOTTI firstname.lastname@example.org
Sherry and Helmi Nagar of Selden dine at Chachama Grill, a restaurant serving new American cuisine in East Patchogue. (Sept. 9, 2009)
Chachama Grill(Credit: Michael Nagle)
Chachama Grill, East Patchogue: An adventurous restaurant, Chachama Grill offers a shot of vibrant New American cooking. In a shopping-center storefront, you'll find the warm salmon hues relaxing and mellow so you can focus on the main event. Oysters Rubio (pictured) are crisp and sweet, paired with sauteed spinach; lush, pan- seared sea scallops contrast with the crunch of refreshing jicama slaw. Ceviche of tuna arrives in a martini glass; black linguine is tossed with shrimp, squid and chorizo sausage; the grilled striped bass, sports a celery root puree, crisp leeks and tomato broth.
Tom Colicchio is the boldface name behind Topping Rose House in Bridgehampton.
Topping Rose House occupies a brilliant white, 1842 Greek Revival building, once a private home and most recently an antiques center that has been stunningly transformed, re-imagined and made into one of Long Island's showcase restaurants. (Nov. 16, 2012)
Topping Rose House's spice-roasted lobster is prepared with braised onions, saffron and fennel. (Nov. 16, 2012)
Topping Rose House's roasted, juicy Rohan duck benefits from syrah jus, sweet potato and spigarello, a smooth cousin of broccoli rabe. (Nov. 16, 2012)
Topping Rose House's sweets are exceptional, including a warm chocolate tart with ricotta ice cream and roasted fig. (Nov. 16, 2012)
CAFE BUENOS AIRES, Huntington: Hugo Garcia presides over a vibrant, buoyant, distinctive restaurant that celebrates Argentina, but crosses borders, too. It's a big, downtown party. The cafe offers spirited tapas such as grilled chorizo; crab-stuffed piquillo peppers; and beef, chicken and ham-and-cheese empanadas. And the seafood paella stands out as easily as the mixed grill of sweet and blood sausages, skirt steak, short ribs, chicken and sweetbreads. The juicy strip steak with chimichurri has genuine flavor. And there are some noble wines from Argentina to fuel the festivities.
Cafe Buenos Aires in Huntington has several rooms for dining, or take your meal at the bar. (Aug. 8, 2011)
Four kinds of empanadas -- corn with cheese, beef, chicken, and ham with cheese -- are on Cafe Buenos Aires' tapas menu. (Aug. 8, 2011)
Cafe Buenos Aires' tapas menu includes oysters stuffed with spinach bechamel, marscapone, bacon and breadcrumbs. (Aug. 8, 2011)
CHACHAMA GRILL, East Patchogue: Elmer Rubio bridges European and Latin American cuisines at Chachama Grill, a modest-looking, shopping-center restaurant that has become a local destination. He's at ease preparing barbecued pork empanadas with yucca salad and rack of pork with pineapple chutney and Tahitian-vanilla seasoned sweet potatoes; lobster roll with beluga lentil salad and tuna seviche with cilantro and shallots; rack of lamb with goat cheese-and-potato gratin and arroz con pollo; a marinated skirt steak wrap and black linguine with shrimp, chorizo, calamari and cilantro-tomato broth; coconut flan and tiramisu.
Sherry and Helmi Nagar of Selden dine at Chachama Grill. (Sept. 9, 2009)
Chachama Grill chef-owner Elmer Rubio. (Oct. 9, 2009)
Chachama Grill chef Elmer Rubio's cooked oysters. (Oct. 9, 2009)
Tuna ceviche is served with cilantro, shallots, mache and lemon at Chachama Grill. (Sept. 9, 2009)
LOLA, Great Neck: Michael Ginor, roi of foie gras and globe-trotting gourmand, oversees the adventurous cuisine of Lola. His restless cuisine carries its own passport. Try tapas: either a Beijing duck slider or a Maine lobster roll on a Korean milk bun; maybe, a smoked duck breast and duck prosciutto "pizza tart." Consider cod in corn tortillas with Thai spices; crisp, sweet, salty Brussels sprouts; roast striped bass with cauliflower mousseline; whole roasted Lola duck for two, a la yuzu-orange; whole seared Hudson Valley foie gras with creamy polenta; "deconstruction"; Key lime pie; pomegranate ice cream sundae. You won't be bored.
Lola features a spacious dining room. (Feb. 23, 2013)
Lola's Thai-style chicken curry is served with winter vegetables. (Feb. 23, 2013)
Lola's heirloom beet salad is served with burrata and a blood orange vinaigrette. (Feb. 23, 2013)
MARONI CUISINE, Northport: Michael Maroni's fun house seats less than two dozen diners in very tight quarters. Be prepared for surprises, entertainment, a remarkable sequence of dishes from what must be Long Island's most unusual, roving tasting menu. Maroni received national attention when his meatballs finished before Bobby Flay's in one of the latter's "Throwdown" shows. But you'll also savor his crisp duck with dried orange-and-Grand Marnier syrup; lobster roll; lobster bisque; tuna or yellowtail sashimi; Kobe beef sliders; Thai spring rolls; linguine with clams; Memphis-style ribs; and whatever else pops into the chef's mind.
Cozy seating creates a intimate vibe in the small dining room at Maroni. (April 19, 2013)
Maroni executive chef Michael Maroni. You never know what he'll come up with next. (April 19, 2013)
Grandma Maroni's sumptuous spaghetti and meatballs are served at Maroni.
When in season, a standby at Maroni is the big fat Maine lobster roll. (April 19, 2013)
MIRABELLE, Stony Brook: For decades, Mirabelle was the plum of Long Island's French restaurants. Chef Guy Reuge still prepares French fare, but his dining room now is more New American. The combination clicks. Reuge's duck-two-ways: breast glazed with chestnut honey and confit of leg with blood-orange segments and beet puree. Also sample roulade of monkfish, with red-lentil puree; seafood-stuffed cuttlefish; veal sweetbreads fried chicken-style: with pickled cipollini, maple syrup and miniature waffle; egg en cocotte with chervil mousseline, fried salsify and caramelized pecans. Dessert choice: ginger-almond tart.
Mirabelle offers haute cuisine in a refined, serene setting. (Sept. 5, 2012)
Mirabelle serves a classic confit of duck leg with potato allumettes, shallot marmalade and a single mission fig wrapped in duck prosciutto. (Sept. 5, 2012)
Mirabelle's Berkshire pork is wrapped in bacon and served with potato millefeuille and Madeira sauce. (Sept. 5, 2012)
RIALTO, Carle Place: Mario and Tara Fuentes update the continental restaurant at Rialto, showing why it was a Long Island staple and how it still can thrive. It's a soothing, comfortable, openhanded place, with consistently appealing food. Notable dishes include double-cut pork chops paired with braised fennel and cherry peppers; roasted rack of lamb with mustard-driven bread crumbs; classic Dover sole meunière; spaghetti alla carbonara; gnocchi in pesto; chicken alla cacciatora; porcini-dusted scallops with farro salad; and, to conclude, rich Italian cheesecake, a professional flan; and almost anything from the dessert cart.
Rialto features attentive service and a multi-level dessert tray. (Feb. 18, 2012)
Executive chef Mario Fuentes of Westbury monitors outgoing orders in Rialto's kitchen. (Feb. 18, 2012)
Rialto's freshly made orecchiette, served with Italian sausage, spinach, crushed tomatoes and a dollop of ricotta cheese. (Feb. 18, 2012)
Veal osso bucco is served on a bed of risotto at Rialto. (Feb. 18, 2012)
theRiverheadProject, Riverhead: The "Mad Men" setting, in a remade 1960s bank building, provides a streamlined frame for the eclectic cooking that goes on inside Dennis McDermott's sharp establishment. The variety takes in buttermilk fried chicken with buttermilk waffle and coleslaw; house-made cavatelli with lobster accented with fennel, pancetta and chilies; grilled octopus with pico di gallo, smoked chili sauce and lime vinaigrette; risotto with local mushrooms and spring vegetables; grilled romaine salad with roasted beets; crab-and-salt cod fritters with smoked pimenton aioli; moules frites; and shrimp fried rice.
theRIVERHEADPROJECT, in a building that once housed a Chase Manhattan Bank branch, has a full bar with lounge seating as well as outdoor dining. (June 15, 2011)
TheRiverheadProject's General Ling's chicken, served with a watermelon salad. (July 21, 2011)
TheRiverheadProject's seared black bass, with corn, leeks, fava beans, mentaiko butter and mussel broth. (July 21, 2011)
ROOTS BISTRO GOURMAND, West Islip: Chefs Philippe Corbet and James Orlandi make bistronomy both science and art in their imaginative, full-flavored restaurant. The menu changes regularly. Look for slow-cooked pork belly with celeriac-vanilla puree and dried fruit chutney; black risotto with blue-claw crab, salsify and horseradish-beet foam; the cassoulet de Toulouse, with duck confit, pork and sausage; chicken two ways, with roasted breast and braised leg, white wine, mushrooms and potato puffs; duck a l'orange with kumquats; pan-seared skate on brioche; and braised short ribs with caponata.
Diners linger inside the bar and restaurant at Roots Bistro Gourmand. (Sept. 22, 2012)
Roots Bistro Gourmand chef and co-owner James Orlandi. (Sept. 22, 2012)
Roots Bistro Gourmand's butter-poached lobster is served with creamy polenta, cherry tomatoes and fava beans with a lobster bisque emulsion on Sept. 22, 2012.
Pressed suckling pig at Roots Bistro Gourmand is slow cooked and served with caramelized hearts of palm, baby carrots, caraway-lavender honey and a spring onion compote. (Sept. 22, 2012)
STONE CREEK INN, East Quogue: Christian Mir pulls off a Mediterranean-New American reverie at this charming, elegant country house. Begin with grilled Portuguese octopus or a terrine of Hudson Valley foie gras; Long Island duck meatballs with an apple-cider reduction or seared sea scallops with mushrooms, leek fondue and beurre blanc. Move on to butter-poached lobster in Kaffir lime-coconut-lemongrass broth or a Tuscan farro ragu with butternut squash and arugula pesto; black spaghetti tinted by cuttlefish, with shrimp, lobster and squid or a duo of grilled sirloin and braised short ribs with spaetzle, fried onions and glazed carrots.
Stone Creek Inn in East Quogue serves a Mediterranean-New American reverie in a charming, elegant country house. (Sept. 5, 2009)
The tuna tartare at Stone Creek Inn in East Quogue. (Sept. 5, 2009)
A mini pumpkin stuffed with lobster at Stone Creek Inn. (Sept. 20, 2009)