An outpost of a beloved cafe comes to Stony Brook, where it serves food amid ... More »
It's the middle of the day in the middle of the week and Crazy Beans is crazy crowded. Every seat at the counter is occupied; eaters hunkering down at booths and tables take their time with overstuffed sandwiches. The wait is estimated as 10 to 15 minutes; the real wait turns out to be closer to an hour.
Fortunately, this cheerful cash-only spinoff of a Miller Place cafe has a few couches and armchairs ready for the overflow. Flop down and check out the cool lipstick-red decor -- sort of retro, a bit ice cream parlor-ish. Wacky salt and pepper shakers top each table and, over the restroom sink, in lieu of a mirror, a flat screen plays a perpetual aquarium scene. For sure, co-owner Callie Brennan has put her whimsical stamp on the place.
To keep four stomachs from rumbling, a single raisin-studded scone is ordered from the counter display case. It's surprisingly light and moist -- much better, in fact, than the dry, overbaked lemon poppy muffin encountered at breakfast the week before. At that meal, dryness also undermined a huge panko-crusted chicken cutlet served atop a waffle. Much better was the dish called cheesy biscuits: flaky Cheddar biscuits crowned with soft scrambled eggs and a savory gravy speckled with bits of sausage.
That kind of over-the-top comfort fare is what Crazy Beans does best. Witness the irresistible pulled pork panino, a rich confluence of pork, pepper jack cheese, fried pickles, coleslaw and a spicy Cajun sauce on grilled sourdough. And the meltingly good head honcho, a sandwich of grilled steak with fried onions, Cheddar and ranch dressing on a rustic roll. A hit, as well, is a barbecue chicken quesadilla in a whole-wheat tortilla.
But a ranch pesto wrap, which stars grilled chicken, turns out to be misnamed, since instead of the expected basil puree, it features a red pepper pesto -- hardly a pesto by many definitions. A side order of crinkle-cut fries, although the previously frozen sort, comes out piping hot, crisp and nutty-sweet.
The appropriate Crazy Beans finale: an iced chocolate latte, both cool and sweet.