ANGELINA'S 'AMERICAN' PIES
Forget the rule book; it went out the window with the recent opening of Angelina's Fireshack & Pizzeria in New Hyde Park. Preconceptions just don't apply to this counter-service wing and pizza place, where some of the food can be so fiery you have to sign a waiver to order it.
Co-owner Shai Eapen came up with the concept, naming the place for his young daughter. Chef-manager Arty Ruvinsky concocted most -- but not all -- of the recipes.
Here, Ruvinsky said, the pizza shouldn't be thought of as Italian but rather an Americanized genre evoking "your favorite sandwich." I tried two different toppings on a single 14-inch pie (there's also a 9-inch "personal" size). Best was Eapen's Indian-influenced invention: the "Desi" ($12, $19) made with Tandoor-baked chicken, basmati rice and cilantro on a bed of mozzarella. The guy behind the counter touted the "Big Mack" ($13, $20) -- ground beef, lettuce, tomatoes, special sauce and -- well, you know the rest. Although this version wasn't quite in the league of the Desi, it unquestionably worked. A big asset was the crust, at once crisp and wholesome-tasting.
I also sampled crazy good mac-and-cheese topped with hot dog bits ($8). And half a dozen meaty chicken wings ($9) with a medium-hot passion fruit habañero sauce. (Note: the "insanity" wings involve ghost peppers -- which are palate-searing and necessitate the signing of a waiver.)
Sometime this fall, Ruvinsky said, Adam Richman of Travel Channel's "Man v. Food" is expected to show up to film a segment of his show. Watch for updates.
Angelina's Fireshack & Pizzeria is at 1300 Jericho Tpke., New Hyde Park; 516-326-0100. -- JOAN REMINICK
ANISE IS NO MORE
Taped to the window of Anise in Great Neck last week was a sign saying the restaurant was "on vacation" and would reopen Sept. 6. Unfortunately, that date has come and gone, and the restaurant is still dark. A call to owner Michael Ginor confirmed the restaurant will not reopen.
It's been a rocky road for the restaurant at 613 Middle Neck Rd. Anise started life in 2008 as Tel Aviv, a kosher restaurant owned by Ginor, Great Neck resident, founder of Hudson Valley Foie Gras, and a talented chef. Tel Aviv was certainly one of the busiest and best kosher restaurants on Long Island; it received 3 stars from Newsday critic Joan Reminick.
In 2009, Ginor opened another Great Neck restaurant, Lola, which was fancier, pricier and not kosher. At the end of 2010, Tel Aviv lost its kosher certification from the Vaad Harabonim of Queens, a local organization that supervises kosher establishments. Ginor believed that VHQ objected to his involvement in Tel Aviv because Lola was not kosher. VHQ declined to comment.
At the time, Ginor estimated that 95 percent of Tel Aviv's clientele was kosher. Over the next few weeks, Tel Aviv's menu stayed the same but served far fewer people. In April the restaurant was renamed Anise. It retained the casual feel, but the menu cast a wider net, beyond the Middle East to the whole Mediterranean rim. Once-forbidden shrimp and dairy came aboard, too. Still, the restaurant struggled to find an audience and, finally, Ginor gave up. -- ERICA MARCUS