Wursts, ramen, slow-cooked Peruvian rotisserie chicken — fall's new dining lineup is diverse and delicious. Here are 10 newly opened restaurants worth checking out this season:
Tocolo Cantina, Glen Cove
120 Village Square
It’s been eight years since Lloyd Rosenman and his partners opened the modern Mexican Tocolo Cantina in a shopping center on a busy stretch of Old Country Road in Garden City. For his second act, Rosenman went in an entirely different direction: downtown Glen Cove. Tocolo 2.0 takes up residence in Village Square, the new luxury apartment building that is a cornerstone of the city’s hoped-for renaissance, and it is a big, beautiful affair with multiple stylish dining rooms, a lively bar and outdoor seating in Village Square’s urban piazza. All the classics are here — guacamole, tacos (including carnitas, grilled fish, tempura avocado and birria), burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, quesadillas — plus some less traditional dishes such as Mexican Cobb salad, loaded fries with melted Chihuahua cheese and chorizo, salmon “Yucateco” with mangos and hot peppers, and Negra Modelo-braised short ribs on corn polenta. Your GPS may not know that “120 Village Square” is at the corner of Glen and Bridge streets. More info: 516-222-0060, tocolocantina.com
Pappa Gallo, Rockville Centre
273 Sunrise Hwy.
With its dramatic nightclub vibe — dim lighting accented by neon, a stage for live music, a massive backlit bar — Rockville Centre's new Peruvian restaurant is a stunner. Chef Emmanuel Piqueras hails from Lima, Peru, and elevates his native cuisine with classic ceviche and tiradito starters ($17 — 19), potato causas layered with snow crab salad and shrimp chicharron, and papa a la huincaina ($15) or boiled potatoes with a cheesy piquant sauce. Popular street foods like anticuchos ($17), or skewered veal hearts and salchipapas ($16), or sliced hot dogs and fries, join entrees for the table including lomo saltado ($34), a beef stir-fry doused with aji Amarillo sauce served over French fries and rice, and arroz de mariscos ($30), Peru’s answer to paella. The rotisserie chicken, here cooked low and slow for 24 hours, is served in whole or half-sized portions. With a bar this festive, drinks like the Pisco Sour, Peru’s national cocktail, shouldn’t be missed. More info: 516-208-3220, mypappagallo.com
Schnitzels, Stony Brook
77 Main St.
With its midcentury furnishings, stained glass medallions, tufted banquettes and sturdy captain’s chairs, Schnitzels looks like it’s been in the Stony Brook Village Center since the country’s first planned shopping center opened in 1941. The self-described German gastropub opened in July, a collaboration between beer nut Dave Striffler (owner of Brew Cheese in Stony Brook and Northport) and Callie and Tim Martino (who own Crazy Beans retro diners in Stony Brook, Miller Place and Greenport). The beer list is extraordinary: In addition to about a dozen cans and bottles, there are six taps (among current brews: Radeberger Pilsener, Hofbrau Original Lager and the restaurant’s own Hefeweizen, brewed by Sand City in Lindenhurst) plus another dozen cans and bottles. Schnitzels (fried cutlets) headline the menu in all their glory: Wienerschnitzel (with brown sauce), Schmandschnitzel (cool-sour cream sauce), Rahmschnitzel (cream sauce) and Jagerschnitzel (mushroom-onion gravy). You’ll also find wursts from Karl Ehmer in Patchogue, Bavarian pretzels, Flammkuchen tart, Rouladen and Sauerbraten. On the non-German front: Burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, honey-Dijon salmon and fish and chips. Splitting the difference are the pasta classics, primavera and mac-and-cheese, made with spaetzle. More info: 631-675-1478, eat-schnitzels.com
El Verano, Southampton
10 Windmill Lane
Julian Medina, one of NYC's original Mexican chefs, has opened El Verano, which means "summer" in Spanish, on a highly visible corner of Southampton's Windmill Lane. Bringing his upscale Mexican to the East End was not in the cards for Medina, who has a home in Quogue, until he saw the space that would ultimately become El Verano. The décor is inspired by the vacation homes in Mexican cities like Cuernavaca and Valle de Bravo — casual yet nostalgic — and while there are familiar Mexican favorites on the menu like tacos, quesadillas, and enchiladas, expect them with an upscale twist; lobster tacos, fluke birria tacos, huitlacoche quesadillas made with corn fungus (a Mexican delicacy) and truffles, branzino with salsa verde, duck carnitas. Medina will highlight seasonal ingredients from nearby farms like Sang Lee and Indian Neck, as well as local fish and meats — oysters, chicken, duck — cooked ala brasa, or simply on the grill. More info: 631-377-3050, elveranony.com
Seven, Long Beach
777 W. Beech St.
Can there be too many Italian restaurants in Long Beach? That's the feeling Marco Almeida was getting, so he transformed his Italian restaurant into a bohemian chic lounge. Marco and his brother Hugo recently reopened Seven in the cavernous space that used to hold 7Seventy7. The brothers brought on consultants to update the menu and interior decorating scheme, which now straddles the line between nightclub and your cultured aunt who's into thrift shopping. The vodka diabla ($26) is one of the best items on the menu, fat rigatoni smothered in a zippy pink sauce and topped with a bulb of creamy burrata cheese. But more exciting: Marco said they're working on adding a couple of Portuguese dishes — grilled octopus and salt cod bacalao — to the menu. More info: 516-544-6173, sevenlb.com
Sparrow, Garden City
829 Franklin Ave.
The owners of Sparrow Kitchen & Cocktails are involved in more than a dozen crowd-pleasing eateries on Long Island but, for Sparrow, they looked to chef-driven restaurants like 2 Spring in Oyster Bay and Fauna in Westhampton Beach. “They wanted to bring that kind of experience to Garden City,” said executive chef-partner Michael Wydro. His fish chops are on full display in such dishes as market crudo with seasonal accompaniments, linguine nero with shrimp, calamari and roasted chilies; bucatini cacio e pepe; pan-roasted halibut and a daily whole fish. Wydro also offers dishes in a more “eclectic New American” vein: Cobb and Caesar salads; a half-pound burger with hand-cut fries; and a 14-ounce aged, prime New York strip steak with 1,000-layer potato and chimichurri. At the bar — where all juices are fresh, infusions homemade — there’s a burnt-orange Negroni, a spicy watermelon margarita and “the St. Paul” with gin, elderflower, lime and thyme. Partner Joseph Sparacello, a local builder, took on the construction, replacing the barn-moderne décor of the former Mighty Quinn’s BBQ with a coolly elegant design. More info: 516-475-3211, sparrowkitchenandcocktails.com
Youta Ramen, Mineola
58 Old Country Rd.
Once a niche noodle, ramen has hit the big time on Long Island. It seems like every week brings a new spot serving a familiar lineup of tonkotsu, miso, shoyu and spicy broths; slurp and repeat. “We never thought about the competition,” said Youta Ramen’s co-owner Pat Boon, a seasoned restaurateur who worked at Sripraphai in Williston Park. “If you have money, you can open a restaurant. But when you have passion, your customers can taste the difference.” Both Boon and his partner, chef Thanontuch Tyler Laiamnuay, are Thai by birth and ramen by choice. They have created a shrine to their shared love of the savory Japanese kitchen in general and tonkotsu ramen in particular. Laiamnuay’s tonkotsu (pork) broth is a thing of beauty, and his menu also includes filled steamed buns and five “donburi,” rice bowls topped with fried chicken, sliced pork, shrimp and vegetable tempura, or freshwater eel. This little corner storefront housed a succession of short-lived Peruvian restaurants whose rather slapdash décors have been expunged by Youta’s bright design, a blend of stone, wood and Japanese banners, and masks. More info: 516-447-6995, youtaramen.com
954 S. Broadway
You’ll need to squint to see the Smok-Haus logo at the barbecue spot’s new location, sandwiched between a hair salon and a billiards-supply house in a strip mall in Hicksville. Open the door to the narrow shop and all you’ll see are three ordering kiosks and a cashier. What you can’t see is the 2,500 square-foot kitchen where Manny Voumvourakis is smoking meats not only for Hicksville but for catering orders and for the original Smok-Haus in Garden City (a Newsday Top 100 restaurant), which no longer has the space to serve and smoke. Since it debuted in 2018, Smok-Haus has expanded its offerings beyond the classic ribs, pulled pork, brisket and wings. Now you’ll find supernal smoked pastrami and porchetta, dark-chocolate chili, fried chicken sandwiches and more than a dozen tacos that bestow international twists (Mexican, Korean, Greek, Italian) to the smoked meats. This location is takeout only. More info: 516-400-7102, smok-haus.com
Mito Modern Japanese Cuisine, Lake Grove
476 Smith Haven Mall
Mito is a Queens-based Asian fusion concept that's got some savvy marketing chops, going for a highbrow Japanese experience you might see on social media. Its first Long Island location recently opened in the Smith Haven Mall spot that used to be P.F. Chang's. Most of the one-page menu belongs to sushi, but patrons aren't given the usual paper sheet and pencil to order. Instead, choose from a small selection of maki rolls, sushi and sashimi combo plates and elaborate rolls. The Joker roll ($18) has high-quality tuna and salmon, with fresh sushi rice and a pleasing sweet chile sauce that ties it all together. The selections got downright omakase level when the server recommended a toro fatty tuna not on the menu. The three nigiri arrived topped with tiny crowns of gold leaf for the ultimate refinement, one piece faintly torched so that the flesh had just started to cook.
More info: 631-258-8778, themito.com
Angelo’s of Little Italy, Amityville
Manhattan’s Little Italy is now a touristy shadow of its former self, but even in its heyday, Angelo’s of Mulberry St. was a neighborhood standout, offering excellent, authentic Neapolitan fare in a lively dining room that welcomed luminaries from Pres. Reagan to Kobe Bryant. Tina Aprea’s father ran Angelo’s for almost 50 years until his death in 2017, after which the restaurant fell victim to a devastating fire and was finally done in by COVID. “But the food was too good to waste,” said Aprea, whose Amityville Angelo’s opened last month. “So I took my two chefs who worked with my dad for 30 years and brought them out here.” The menu has expanded but still includes Mulberry St.’s legendary dishes: the spiedini di mozzarella alla Romano, a heavenly mélange of bread and melted cheese in a divine pool of lemon wine sauce; a brightly flavorful octopus salad with garlic, celery and lemon; on-the-money linguine with clams; and an enormous veal chop stuffed prosciutto and mozzarella. (“If you eat this, you need a three-hour nap,” according to Aprea.) New items include arancini stuffed with mozzarella and a hint of Gorgonzola, and spaghetti with blue crab sauce. Tradition returns with the dessert menu, highlighted by a trio of profiteroles filled with vanilla cream and rolled in chocolate sauce. More info: 631-464-4590