Fauna in Westhampton Beach is offering their full menu for...

Fauna in Westhampton Beach is offering their full menu for Long Island Restaurant Week. Credit: Rooted Hospitality Group

Long Island Restaurant Week runs Nov. 6-13, with eateries offering discounted 3-course dinners (and perhaps a 2-course lunch) for a set price. With more than 100 restaurants participating this year, Newsday's food critics chose some standouts: 

Eric's Italian Bistro (70 E. Old Country Rd., Mineola): If you’ve driven past this place a thousand times with hardly a glance — understandable, given its location and modest street presence — now’s your chance to hit the brakes. George Echeverria’s ten-year-old establishment (Eric was a beloved uncle) has some of the trappings of your typical neighborhood pasta place — "Bada Bing” license plate on the wall, Rat Pack memorabilia — but it also produces some serious comfort food, Italian edition. Restaurant Week’s best value, per Echeverria, may be his pork chop a la Bruna, but we’re nuts for Grandma’s lasagna as well and the chef’s own boneless chicken scarpariello. And the rich, buttery broth of his mussels Posillipo will have you begging for more bread. More info: 516-280-5675, ericsbistro.com

NoCo Kitchen Wine & Cocktails (429 North Country Rd., St. James): This four-year-old establishment — named to Newsday’s Top 100 list in its very first year — is stylish, high-end and a Suffolk fan favorite. Restaurant Week is an excellent time to see what the fuss is about, as the New American eatery is offering a large number of prix fixe dinner selections, many of them straight from its regular menu. Among the six starters on the list, highlights include short rib ravioli and risotto with apples and duck confit, while the eight entrees (8!) include everything from wild boar meatloaf to branzino to Brinkley Farms filet mignon. Watch at evening's end as five desserts compete for decadence bragging rights. (Current front-runner: flourless chocolate Nutella cake.) More info: 631-250-9600, nocostjames.com

Juniper (990 Corporate Dr., Westbury): Once the domain of Tom Schaudel’s Kingfish, this year-old New American eatery is still a bit under-the-radar, perhaps owing to its location on the ground floor of the Vanderbilt, a high-end apartment complex. But Restaurant Week is about new adventures, and this chic spot (monochromatic look, blond wood accents, potted juniper trees, the latter native to LI) is worth seeking out. Entree highlights include roasted Cascun Farms half-chicken and Faroe Island grilled salmon, while the wild mushroom flatbread makes for a fine and substantial appetizer. And while we haven’t tried them, the desserts, especially the Tahitian vanilla cheesecake with brown butter crust, certainly sound like they're worth saving room for. More info: 516-820-1200, juniperlongisland.com

Ruta Oaxaca (30 E. Main St., Patchogue): One of the advantages of Restaurant Week is the opportunity to audition a new restaurant at a reduced price and Ruta Oaxaca, the ambitious Mexican restaurant that opened in April (and is already on Newsday’s Top 100) is putting its best foot forward: For $44 you can order any appetizer, entree and dessert from the regular menu with only two restrictions: Guacamole is excluded from the offer (you may want to order it for the table anyway) and the steak Oaxaqueño (a grilled strip with Oaxacan mole coloradito, cactus salad, sweet plantains and melted cheese) will cost you an additional $15. Otherwise, enjoy chef-brothers Carlos and Felipe Arellanos’ homage to their hometown including the haunting, unapologetically charred, chocolate-tinged mole negro on a starter of chicken buñuelos (fritters) or grilled fish with corn sauce, chipotle-marinated shrimp with pineapple salsa. Handmade tortillas are the basis for six tacos, among them cochinita pibil (pork slowly roasted in a banana leaf), fried fish with chipotle aioli, and steak with chile de arbol salsa. Ruta Oaxaca stocks dozens of artisanal varieties of tequila and mezcal and partner Jose Castillo will be happy to take you on a guided tour. More info: 631-569-2233, rutaoaxacamex.com

Fauna (6 Parlato Dr., Westhampton Beach): In May, Fauna took over one of Westhampton Beach’s most storied locations, the sprawling former home of Starr BoggsFauna's ambitious menu is contemporary, imaginative and season-driven. The $44 fixed price Restaurant Week menu features such starters as bourbon-barrel smoked Berkshire pork belly with maple-miso or Calabrian shrimp with Jerusalem artichokes and prosciutto; mains such as duck confit tagliatelle or almond-crusted flounder with haricots vert and rum-glazed banana; desserts such as chocolate-almond torte or pumpkin cheesecake. More info: 631-288-3500, faunawhb.com

5 De Mayo Steak House (2120 Broadhollow Rd., Farmingdale): Steakhouses are a Restaurant Week rarity because it’s virtually impossible to square a $44 menu with prime, dry-aged beef prices. But 5 De Mayo Steak House, which opened in August, leads a double life as both steakhouse and Mexican restaurant. And so chef-owner Roberto Herrera (who also owns the original 5 De Mayo in Westbury) is disqualifying his highest-priced steaks and offering pretty much the rest of the menu for Restaurant Week. Choose among starters such as ceviche, quesadillas, nachos and crabcakes; mains such as burritos, enchiladas and fajitas; desserts such as flan or cheesecake. The 200-seat room has the warm wood, white tablecloths and butcher-coated servers of the classic steakhouse, but the well-spaced tables and walls of windows give it a lighter feel than most. More info: 631-557-2970, 5demayosteakhouse.com

Small Batch (630 Old Country Rd., Garden City): Whether or not Tom Colicchio is often visible inside his sole Long Island restaurant, which opened in 2018, the kitchen consistently hums along. The three-course Restaurant Week menu ($44) is a blend of autumnal dishes (think curry cauliflower soup) and Small Batch’s long-standing hits, such as veal-ricotta meatballs or ricotta toast with dandelion greens, toasted hazelnuts and truffle honey. The braised chicken thighs with soppressata, olives and tomatoes, which fall apart with barely a poke, have been on Small Batch’s menu since the very beginning, and with good reason. Sliding into home base with buttermilk panna cotta might possibly evoke serious food coma, but there’s rarely a pressure to rush inside this gracious dining room, one that feels like a modern farmhouse. (On Saturday, Nov. 12, the menu is served from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. only). More info: 516-548-8162, smallbatchrestaurant.com

Babylon Carriage House (21 Fire Island Ave., Babylon): A pumpkin mule? Don’t mind if we do. Once the spiced pumpkin vodka settles in, the rest of the ride at this local hangout is fall encapsulated, from cream of (portobello) mushroom soup or butternut squash ravioli to pappardelle pasta tumbled with short ribs and a blue-cheese sauce or chicken Sorrentino stuffed with prosciutto, eggplant and mozzarella, then smothered in gravy. In other words, don’t arrive here fearful of calories, but trust that you’ll leave full of bonhomie and perhaps a little bit more cold-weather-ready ahead. Note that the $44 Restaurant Week menu is not served during Saturday dinner service. More info: 631-422-5161, thebabyloncarriagehouse.com

On the Docks (177 Meeting House Creek Rd., Aquebogue): On most days, supper at On The Docks in Aquebogue can be a pretty straightforward affair — baked clams, shrimp tacos, Reubens, fried seafood — you get the idea. During Restaurant Week, however, this kitchen will wisely use the occasion to plus it up. Broiled local oysters with miso butter and jalapeño, whipped pumpkin with cotija cheese and walnuts, and squid-ink pasta puttanesca will make appearances on the three-course, $37 menu, as will warm apple-crumb pie a la mode. Paired with a view of the Peconic River, it’s a North Fork fall evening worth driving for. More info: 631-886-1160, onthedocksgrill.com

Long Island Restaurant Week

Nov. 6-13 at participating Nassau and Suffolk restaurants, with 3-course prix-fixe dinner deals $27-$44 and select $22 2-course lunches. Restaurant Week menus may not be offered after 7 p.m. seatings on Saturday, Nov. 7.

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