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3 Brothers Pizza Cafe in Farmingdale: First vegan bites

A vegan appetizer trio of oyster mushroom

A vegan appetizer trio of oyster mushroom "calamari," fried chix'n drumsticks and tofu crabcakes at 3 Brothers Pizza Cafe in Farmingdale in May 2014 Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick

Eating out on Long Island can be a major challenge when you’re a vegetarian. Eating out when you’re a vegan — wherein everything must also be dairy-free — can be next to impossible.

Which is why the year-old 3 Brothers Pizza Cafe in Farmingdale is such a boon to those who eschew meat, milk, cheese and eggs.  The person who came up with the vegan menu is chef Jay Astafa, whose vegan pizza was named best in the nation by PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) back in 2011.  More recently, Astafa competed on Food Network’s “Rewrapped.”

The night I visited the place —  in the company of two vegetarians —  Astafa was absent. Results were mixed. Very good was an appetizer trio ($17), with crisp, delicious oyster mushroom “calamari,” crisp-creamy tofu crabcakes and fried “chix’n” drumsticks. A bacon cheeseburger ($13) featured a fine house-made seitan burger with tempeh bacon and vegan Cheddar; the ordinary pre-frozen fries sharing the plate were unworthy. But seitan scarpariello ($19) flopped, not because of the fake chicken and sausage (both fine for what they were) but because of undercooked potatoes and overcooked pasta.

In addition to vegan menus, the restaurant also has regular Italian and pizza menus. The place is open Tuesdays to Sundays but is closed Mondays.

3 Brothers Pizza Cafe is at 75 Merritts Rd., Farmingdale, 516-755-1100,

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