Finding a comfortable restaurant where young children may be satisfied and adults can order without qualms can be a difficult equation to solve. But there are answers. And here are 10 of them.
BIGELOW’S, Rockville Centre
Bigelow’s dates to 1939 and is credited with bringing the Ipswich clam to these parts. The cash-only, ultracasual spot specializes in seafood, but there are alternatives for anyone not feeling especially marine. The choices are straightforward. Recommended: New England- and Manhattan-style clam chowders, fried oysters, Buffalo-seasoned “popcorn” shrimp, house-made coleslaw, those standout whole belly fried Ipswich clams, clam strips from sea clams, the swordfish platter, and fish and chips, made with either flounder, cod, or whitin. Also: the fried chicken sandwich and flounder sandwich; burgers, hot dogs and grilled cheese.
Bigelow's 79 N. Long Beach Rd., Rockville Centre, 516-678-3878, bigelows-rvc.com
LOUIE’S GRILL & LIQUORS, Port Washington
In its latest life, Louie’s peaks. The waterview restaurant began as a barge in 1905 and has a colorful history, fine service, and reliable cuisine. Recommended: New England-style clam chowder, crisp calamari, Kobe beef self-cooked tableside, steamed lobster, lobster Cantonese, warm and cold lobster rolls, miso black cod, and the Holy Smokes ice cream dessert, which features a special visual effect.
In the photo: The Holy Smokes dessert features French vanilla ice cream with hot fudge, whipped cream, walnuts and an entertaining plume of "cool breeze" smoke.
BORRELLI’S, East Meadow
Borrelli’s was here before the Meadowbrook Parkway. The family-run restaurant was established in 1955 and some of the food echoes the Fifties, with red sauce in abundance. Recommended: lasagna, stuffed shells, manicotti, spaghetti and meatballs, the mini-meatball appetizer, fried calamari, rice balls, chicken Sorrentino, chicken Parmigiana, penne Siciliana with eggplant and ricotta, assorted pizzas.
In the photo: Classic personal margherita shrimp pizza.
Borrelli's, 1580 Hempstead Tpke., East Meadow, 516-794-0190, borrellisrestaurant.com
Claudio’s started in 1870, topping the list of the oldest family-operated restaurants. In addition to the main restaurant, there are Claudio’s Clam Bar for more casual fare, and Crabby Jerry’s for self-served. All are on the waterfront. Claudio’s generally is a destination for seafood. Recommended: raw local oysters, lobster salad roll, lobster BLT, whole steamed lobster, fish and chips made with cod, New England-style clam chowder, the oyster po’boy, crab and shrimp tacos, hamburger, vegetable sandwich.
Claudio's, 111 Main St., Greenport, 631-477-0627, claudios.com
COUNTRY HOUSE RESTAURANT, Stony Brook
Country House was a residence about 1710. It became a restaurant in 1970, and specifically Country House in 1978. A lot of holidays have been celebrated here, with special menus and the occasional appearance of costumed characters to entertain children. The American menu changes frequently and is best with the simplest preparations.
1175 N. Country Rd., Stony Brook, 631-751-3332, countryhouserestaurant.com
Emilio’s sends out some of the best pizza on Long Island. But the informal, friendly restaurant goes well beyond that. Recommended: “Mamma Mia” meatball appetizer, with ricotta, peppers, and garlic bread; the stuffed artichoke; eggplant rollatine; the mozzarella ball pyramid; lasagna; baked ziti; rigatoni with meatballs, ricotta, and tomato sauce; and at least six variations on the Parmigiana theme.
In the photo: Frank Semisa works the dough at Emilio's.
Emilio's, 2201 Jericho Tpke., Commack, 631-462-6267, emilios-restaurant.com
FORTUNE WHEEL, Levittown
This Chinese restaurant excels with dim sum, or small plates and bite-size portions, usually steamed or fried. You may order off the menu Monday to Friday. But on Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., carts are rolled around the dining room, and you’ll start picking the items, from pork buns and dumplings to turnip cakes and taro cakes, shrimp balls and egg custard. The regular menu of larger dishes also is commendable. Recommended: lobster Cantonese, lobster with ginger and scallions, kung pao chicken, General Tso’s chicken, orange beef, pan-fried noodles.
Fortune Wheel, 3601 Hempstead Tpke., Levittown, 516-579-4700
SHIRO OF JAPAN, Carle Place
The raw and the cooked come together at Shiro of Japan, where sushi vies with hibachi cooking. The hibachi tables provide the expected show at this veteran restaurant. Recommended: nigirizushi, sushi rolls, miso soup, seafood clear soup, cold soba and udon noodles, nabeyaki udon with shrimp, shrimp tempura, steamed shumai dumplings, deep-fried tofu, and hibachi preparations of filet mignon, steak and chicken, steak and shrimp, shrimp and scallops.
401 Old Country Rd., Carle Place, 516-997-4770 shiroofjapan.com
MODERN SNACK BAR, Aquebogue
Since 1950, Modern Snack Bar has attracted diners with homey, traditional, mostly American dishes. It’s timeless and trendless. Recommended: bay scallops in season, lobster salad, roast turkey with trimmings, hot turkey sandwich, fried chicken, meatloaf with gravy, sauerbraten with red cabbage and potato dumplings, loin of pork, prime rib, specials of shepherd’s pie and stuffed cabbage, a tuna melt, all pies.
Modern Snack Bar, 628 Main Rd. (Route 25), Aquebogue, 631-722-3655, modernsnackbar.com
OLD FIELDS, Greenlawn
The original Old Fields has been around since 1956. There’s now a branch in Port Jefferson, too. It’s an easygoing spot with dependably satisfying food. Recommended: four-cheese macaroni and cheese, chicken wings, shrimp and grits, popcorn chicken and waffles, French onion soup, New England-style clam chowder, fish and chips made with cod, roasted chicken, fried chicken, burgers, especially the “Davey Gravey” between two grilled cheese sandwiches.
In the photo: The house mac and cheese at Old Fields Restaurant is orecchiette pasta baked with cheddar, fontina and parmesan cheeses and topped with a sprinkle of herbs over a crusted bread crumbs.
Old Field's, 81 Broadway, Greenlawn, 631-754-9868, of1956.com