On Dec. 25, it can feel as though the whole world has closed up shop for the day. While the quiet is usually appreciated by those who celebrate Christmas, it can present a challenge to those who don't. Especially when it comes to finding a place to eat.
The solution? Pick a cuisine with an ethnic twist.
You don't have to be Jewish to appreciate this venerable kosher deli, which serves up old-fashioned favorites. Whatever your craving - matzo ball soup, a "super deluxe" triple-decker corned beef and pastrami sandwich or a platter of brisket with potato latkes - the Lido has it, in generous portions. Conclude the meal with rugalach and tea.
This handsome new offshoot of a Woodside landmark is the place on Long Island to find authentic Thai. Try the salad of crispy Chinese watercress with chicken, shrimp and squid; the larb (a mixture of ground pork with mint, chili and lime juice); the papaya salad with dry shrimp and peanuts as well as any number of fragrant, spicy soups, noodle dishes and curries.
WONG'S NOODLE HOUSE: 98 Mineola Blvd., Mineola, 516-747-4547
Chinese food is a natural choice for Christmas dinner, since family-style service promotes fellowship and conversation. If the day is chilly, a big bowl of noodle soup may be in order. Standouts here include fresh spinach noodles tossed with shrimp and vegetables, tangerine chicken, "dry crispy" beef, sliced pork with eggplant and ginger chicken.
TIM SING: 654 Horseblock Rd., Farmingville, 631-736-6688
If you have a yen for the complex flavors of India, this is one "club" you'll want to join. The menu offers such lively choices as chicken tikka masala, lamb vindaloo and goat curry. Vegetarians have lots to choose from: Navrattan vegetable korma, saag paneer (spinach and cheese), and dosas, South Indian rice lentil crepes stuffed with potato and vegetables.
COPPER WOK: 16 W. Marie St., Hicksville, 516-681-1947
If you seek out this hard-to-find little kebab cottage, you'll be rewarded with a fine Turkish meal. Begin with a platter of assorted "meze" (appetizers) with superior house-baked bread. Try a savory pide (savory stuffed pastry) Other hits: house-made gyro, juicy kebabs and, for dessert, lush rice pudding.
YAMATO: 597 Montauk Hwy., Oakdale, 631-218-8188
Yamato may look like a typical suburban Japanese restaurant, but it's several notches above. Try the yellowtail with jalapeño or the unusual "orange clam," if it's available. Yamato's sushi-sashimi assortment is impeccable. Kitchen dishes, such as the shoga-yaki chicken and chicken curry, are worthy of your attention, too.