When Mike and Diana Casteluche opened Eatcetera two years ago, they were determined to distinguish it from the hundreds of other delis that dot Long Island. Instead of the same battery of Boar's Head meats and over-mayonnaised salads, they drew on their own South American traditions (he's from Venezuela, she's from Colombia) to come up with a menu.
Rice dishes include the Venezuela ($10.99): rice, black beans, ropa vieja (braised beef), fried plantains and avocados. That's a health spa dish compared with the Colombia ($12.99): rice, red beans, chorizo, chicharron (fried pork rinds), skirt steak, ground beef, fried plantains, avocado. And an egg. Alongside classic sandwiches such as the excellent Cubano ($7.99), Eatcetera offers the Barracks ($8.99), named for the bar next door and inspired by post-happy-hour cravings: skirt steak, chorizo, bacon, onions, Muenster cheese and jalapeños.
Chef Mike is proud of his empanadas, most of which are made with a traditional South American masa (cornmeal) dough and, thus, are gluten-free. Among the two dozen varieties are chicharron, chicken Alfredo and basil sausage. Sweet empanadas are stuffed with almost anything that strikes his fancy: dulce de leche, crème brûlée, halvah.
Eatcetera doesn't look like your average deli either. There's a lot of open space, but instead of tables, the Casteluches installed foosball, Ping-Pong, a small lending library and old-fashioned board games. "I had a place like this 20 years ago in Venezuela," Mike said. "People said that it wouldn't work now since kids are always on their cellphones. But you wouldn't believe how many kids come in and play Ping-Pong or checkers or Parcheesi."
1120 Smithtown Ave., Bohemia