There’s general consensus that January is the time for getting back on the healthy-eating wagon. What’s healthy? We don’t presume to advise.
Virtually every diet encourages vegetables and eschews junk food, but after that, the nutritional advice community splinters into rival camps, with gluten-free eaters rejecting wheat, paleo partisans shunning carbs, vegetarians shunning meat, pescatarians making an exception for fish and vegans adding eggs and dairy to the do-not-eat list.
No matter your diet, here are some restaurant recommendations.
Vegetarian: Dosa World
Dosa World (355 S. Broadway, Hicksville): Because a sizable portion of the population abstains from meat, the cuisine of South India excels in vegetarian dishes. Many of them can be found at Dosa World — completely vegetarian, and kosher as well. The namesake dish, a huge crepe made from rice and lentil batter, invites infinite variations. Or indulge in the papri chaat, a platter of crispy nuggets (like a savory breakfast cereal) topped with tamarind, yogurt and date chutney. For a sampler of vegetarian dishes, order the South Indian thali. More info: 516-390-4444, dosaworld.us
Papri chaat is a platter of crispy nuggets (like a savory breakfast cereal) topped with tamarind, yogurt and date chutney at Dosa World in Hicksville.
Vegetarian: Tula Kitchen
Tula Kitchen (41 E. Main St., Bay Shore): “Tula” means “balance” in Sanskrit, and this plush, stylish eatery does a fine job of balancing the meat on its Mediterranean-inflected menu with plenty of vegetarian and vegan selections, among them stuffed avocado with caramelized onion, quinoa, sauteed spinach, feta cheese, pine nuts and lemon dressing or a classic Greek salad, vegetarian moussaka or lentil-mushroom-kale loaf. Breakfast choices include quinoa bowls and oatmeal. More info: 631-539-7183, tulakitchen.com
Stuffed avocado with caramelized onion, quinoa, sauteed spinach, feta cheese, pine nuts and lemon dressing is served at Tula Kitchen in Bay Shore.
Vegan: The Purple Elephant
The Purple Elephant (81 W. Fort Salonga Rd., Northport): Not only is chef-owner David Intonato careful about his meats and vegetables, trying to source them from organic producers, but his Northport cafe also offers dozens of vegan specialties such as aged tree-nut “cheese plate,” “burnt ends” enchiladas (with soy protein, roasted tomato sauce and vegan cheese, served with rice, pinto beans, avocado and sprouts), Buffalo cauliflower salad (with avocado, tomato, tempeh, vegan blue cheese and baby greens), the “whopping” vegan burger patties (with vegan cheese and toasted tofu salad) and a grilled tempeh “Reuben” with kimchee and vegan cheese. More info: 631-651-5002, thepurpleelephant.net
Buffalo cauliflower salad (with avocado, tomato, tempeh, vegan blue cheese and baby greens) is served at The Purple Elephant in Northport.
Vegan: 3 Brothers Vegan Cafe
3 Brothers Vegan Cafe (1038 Montauk Hwy., Copiague): At Long Island’s only exclusively vegan restaurant, chef-partner Jay Astafa goes so far as to make his own vegan cheese from cashew milk, “cheese” being key to his largely Italian menu. Standouts on his plant-based menu include fried oyster mushroom “calamari” served with tartar and marinara sauces, seitan piccata in lemon-caper sauce with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and creamed kale, arancini (Italian rice balls) and eggplant Parmesan. More info: 631-464-4328, 3brothersvegancafe.com
Seitan piccata in lemon-caper sauce with Yukon gold mashed potatoes and creamed kale is served at 3 Brothers Vegan Cafe in Copiague.
Paleo: Rothmann's Steakhouse
Rothmann's Steakhouse (6319 Northern Blvd., East Norwich): Steakhouses are made for the paleo dieter. At Rothmann’s, which has occupied this East Norwich corner for more than 100 years, most of the menu is on limits: broiled or steamed lobster, seared foie gras, shellfish from the raw bar, sashimi from the sushi bar and steaks, chops and roasts. At Sunday brunch, head straight for the carving station for the prime rib. More info: 516-922-2500, rothmannssteakhouse.com
Assorted sashimi from the sushi bar is served at Rothmann's Steakhouse in East Norwich.
Paleo: Frank's Steaks
Frank's Steaks (Multiple locations): Both branches of Frank’s Steaks add up to fair prices and a good time. They’re steakhouses for the whole family, unpretentious and openhanded. The Rockville Centre restaurant (54 Lincoln Ave.), where the Lincoln Inn once reigned, looks more upscale; the original in Jericho (4 Jericho Tpke.), homey. The house specialty is Romanian skirt steak, marinated in Frank’s secret sauce and served with caramelized onions. Or try the herbed rack of lamb with mint jelly. More info: frankssteaks.com
At Frank's Steaks in Rockville Centre, the house specialty is Romanian skirt steak, marinated in Frank’s secret sauce and served with caramelized onions.
Gluten free: Café Formaggio
Café Formaggio (307 Old Country Rd., Carle Place): In late 2009, owner Vincent Barbieri decided to create a separate gluten-free menu that features just about every item on the regular menu. There’s a separate prep area and fryolator for gluten-free items, which include cheese-stuffed ravioli alla verde with spinach cream sauce, and gluten-free pizzas. More info: 516-333-1718, cafeformaggio.com
Gluten-free pizza is served at Café Formaggio in Carle Place.
Gluten free: Mama's Italian Restaurant
Mama's Italian Restaurant (1352 Montauk Hwy., Oakdale): You wouldn’t know from looking at the pizzas, pastas and Parms served at Mama’s, but many of them are gluten free, prepared in a separate area to avoid cross contamination. The gluten-free menu is as extensive as the regular one and includes all the Italian-American standards, from fried calamari and stuffed peppers, to flourless chocolate cake. More info: 631-567-0909, mamas-restaurant.com
Gluten-free flourless chocolate cake is served at Mama's Italian Restaurant in Oakdale.
Kyma (1446 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn): The world of fish is your oyster at Kyma, an elegant Greek restaurant devoted to seafood. You can’t go wrong with anything done on the charcoal grill: octopus, whole fish, langoustines, lobster or shrimp — or one of the meat-free offerings such as grilled haloumi and kefalograviera cheeses, zucchini and eggplant chips, or roasted beets. More info: 516-621-3700, kymarestaurants.com
The lavraki, or whole branzino, is a specialty at Kyma in Roslyn.
Pescatarian: Buoy One
Buoy One (1175 W. Main St., Riverhead): Originally an outgrowth of the fish market that shares the premises, Buoy One boasts a reasonably priced menu of American seafood classics: steamers, lobsters, crabs and full-on clambakes (with lobster, mussels, steamers, shrimp, a baked potato and corn on the cob). Or go the finfish route with fish and chips, or a filet that’s been grilled, blackened, almond-, sesame- or horseradish-crusted or Thai-glazed. If you’re not avoiding sugar or dairy, scoot across the street for an ice cream at Snowflake. More info: 631-208-9737, buoyone.com