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The best Long Island dishes and eats of 2017

The year 2017 was a mouthful.

Actually, many mouthfuls, with plenty of treats savory and sweet, raw and cooked, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Newsday’s critics ate their way across Long Island. Here are their choices for the best things they tasted.

Eggplant Parmigiana pizza at Gino’s of Williston Park

The eggplant Parmigiana pizza at Gino's Pizza in
Photo Credit: Melissa Mooney

Eggplant Parmigiana pizza at Gino’s of Williston Park (628 Willis Ave., Williston Park): Pizza stars at Gino’s of Williston Park, a very good Italian restaurant and pie specialist that dates to 1979. Two Italian-American favorites come together in the eggplant Parmigiana pizza, a best-of-due-mondi production. On request, you may add ricotta, creating an eggplant rollatine pie. Paradiso. More info: 516-746-2860, -- Peter M Gianotti

French fries at Lido Kosher Deli

French fries are ready for eating from Lido
Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

French fries at Lido Kosher Deli (641 1/2  E. Park Ave., Long Beach): For years, I’ve been going on about the supernal dark-meat turkey sandwich at Lido Kosher Deli, but this year I finally ordered the fries. Stubby and deeply burnished, with a slight hint of caramel, they evoked memories of French fries past from the late, lamented Deli King in New Hyde Park and, reaching back into my childhood, the original Nathan’s in Coney Island. (While you’re at Lido Deli, get a dark-meat turkey sandwich.) More info: 516-431-4411, -- Erica Marcus

Crispy shrimp at Cardoon Mediterranean

Crispy Kataifi Shrimp, wrapped with crispy shredded kataifi,
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Crispy shrimp at Cardoon Mediterranean (2479 Adler Ct., Seaford): When Cardoon’s fusion approach works, unexpected textures and flavors bristle against each other in memorable ways. Case in point: An appetizer of grilled, finger-length crispy shrimp topped with crackling shredded phyllo dough (aka kataifi) and lounges in a creamy fava- and sausage-dotted “fondue” sauce you could drink straight. More info: 516-785-2390, -- Corin Hirsch

Cappellacci at Da Gigi Trattoria & Bar

Hand made capellacci pasta stuffed with burrata, pistachio
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Cappellacci at Da Gigi Trattoria & Bar (174 Merrick Rd., Lynbrook): The pasta of the year: cappellacci, a relative of ravioli, elegantly prepared at Da Gigi Trattoria & Bar in Lynbrook. The hat-shaped pasta is filled with creamy burrata cheese and ground pistachio, six to a serving, and finished with a delicate stracchino cheese sauce. Sensational. More info: 516-599-0298, -- Peter M. Gianotti

Roast-beef sandwich at The Local

Peppercorn roast beef sandwich, topped with swiss cheese,
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Roast-beef sandwich at The Local (7 Depot Place, Babylon): Chef Chris Weiss of The Local marinates, roasts and braises most of his own deli meats, and his roast-beef sandwich is simple, direct and delicious: Ribbons of rosy meat on a toasted onion roll slathered with smoky horseradish sauce, then layered with arugula, pickled onions and molten Swiss that oozes down the sandwich’s sides. More info: 631-983-8900 -- Corin Hirsch

Scallops in drawn butter and salsa verde at Lost at Sea

Broiled scallops with drawn butter and salsa verde
Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

Scallops in drawn butter and salsa verde at Lost at Sea (888 W. Beech St., Long Beach): Over the years, chef Alexis Trolf has developed a knack for cooking scallops with winning takes of these sweet sea creatures on menus wherever he has worked. At Lost at Sea, his new homage to seafood, they are found across the menu, including broiled in a drawn butter and topped with fresh salsa verde. The result is a caramelized crust, a pillowy center and a sauce that relishes that sweetness. More info: 516-632-5263 -- Pervaiz Shallwani

Fried chicken at 8 Hands Farm

The fried chicken at 8 Hands Farm Food
Photo Credit: Newsday/Pervaiz Shallwani

Fried chicken at 8 Hands Farm (4735 Cox Lane, Cutchogue): To showcase meat from the farm, the folks behind 8 Hands Farm launched a weekend-only food truck over the summer. Among the highlights is a well-crackled fried chicken that goes from farm to fryer in four days and comes paired with a rotating menu of sides and sauces including creamy cucumbers and a Calabrian chili honey. One caveat: the truck closes for the winter, so you’ll have to wait until Memorial Day for this fresh bird. More info: 631-533-2768, -- Pervaiz Shallwani

Panettone at Marzullo Bakery & Cafe

Panettone fresh from the oven at Marzullo Bakery
Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

Panettone at Marzullo Bakery & Cafe (1586 Hillside Ave., New Hyde Park): Panettone is a light, rich, egg-hued Milanese bread especially popular at Christmas. It’s taller than a coffee can, with a dome-like top. Imports abound in colorful boxes. But the freshly made panettone at Marzullo Bakery & Cafe in New Hyde Park is grand, buttery, studded with raisins, with an egg white-almond icing. Cue the espresso. More info: 516-352-2859 -- Peter M. Gianotti

Onion rava masala dosa at Saravanaa Bhavan

Onion rava masala dosa, Saravanaa Bhavan, Hicksville, Nov.
Photo Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

Onion rava masala dosa at Saravanaa Bhavan ( 285 S. Broadway, Hicksville): I am incapable of dining at Saravanaa Bhavan without ordering this masterpiece of Southern Indian vegetarian cookery. The onion rava masala dosa starts with a wheat-rice batter that is drizzled onto a griddle, Jackson Pollock style, to make a crisp, lacy bathmat. The batter contains little treasures — whole peppercorns, pieces of cashew nuts, shards of red onion — and once it’s cooked to crisp pliancy, it’s stuffed with spiced, silken potato puree. If your familiarity with Indian food stops with chicken tikka masala, prepare to be wowed. More info: 516-261-7755 -- Erica Marcus

Margherita pizza from Brockenzo Neapolitan Pizza food truck

Margherita pizza from the Brockenzo Neapolitan Pizza food
Photo Credit: Newsday/Corin Hirsch

Margherita pizza from Brockenzo Neapolitan Pizza food truck (Changing locations): While hanging out at Patchogue’s Blue Point Brewing one night this summer, it was hard to ignore the aromas drifting over from the Brockenzo Neapolitan Pizza food truck parked out back. I wandered over, and within a 10 minutes took possession of a bubbling, chewy margherita pizza that had been wood-fired to perfect char inside a mobile 900-degree oven. Splotches of fresh mozzarella, pools of bright San Marzano tomato sauce, and dots of basil — all were gone in a few moments. More info: -- Corin Hirsch

Chocolate souffle at Stresa

Chocolate souffle is served at Stresa in Manhasset
Photo Credit: Craig Ruttle

Chocolate souffle at Stresa (1524 Northern Blvd., Manhasset): I always finish my meals at Stresa with a chocolate souffle, airy and rich, gooey and crispy, the ultimate expression of chocolate’s potential and a test of the pastry chef’s skill. But this season’s souffle has a bittersweet edge because early in 2018, Giorgio Meriggi will transfer ownership of the 25-year-old Manhasset stalwart to Arturo’s of Bellerose. Meriggi not only made the souffle himself, he imbued Stresa with an old-school grace and solicitousness that is almost extinct. I’ll miss it all. More info: 516-365-6956, -- Erica Marcus

Tasting Menu at 18 Bay

Needlefish crudo with marinated local cucumber and chives
Photo Credit: Gordon M. Grant

Tasting Menu at 18 Bay (23 N. Ferry Rd., Shelter Island): Few chefs take locally sourced as seriously as Elizabeth Ronzetti and Adam Kopels, whose Italian-inflected tasting menu changes weekly. It’s arguably one of the best meals (and deals, $75) on Long Island. When each week is a new adventure, you should be so lucky, your daily antipasti platter will feature a seafood one-two of Kopels’ fresh fish crudo and an fried oyster with Ronzetti’s chili mint-sauce that’s so secret even her husband doesn’t know the recipe. All of a sudden Shelter Island doesn’t seem so far away. More info: 631-749-0053, -- Pervaiz Shallwani


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