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New Long Island restaurants to try this fall

The Mama Burger at Mamajuana Cafe in Huntington

The Mama Burger at Mamajuana Cafe in Huntington Station is stuffed with chorizo and mozzarella cheese and topped with fried onions, fried pickles, sautéed mushrooms, tomato, mustard and sweet relish. Credit: Yvonne Albinowski

With the turn of the seasons comes a shift in how Long Islanders can dine out. And there are plenty of new restaurants to try this season, from an influx of Caribbean spots to a raw bar to fresh twist on noodles.

Beit Zaytoon (468 Hempstead Tpke, West Hempstead): If your experience of Middle Eastern food has been an endless loop of hummus, babaganoush, falafel and kebabs, Beit Zaytoon may just blow your mind. This West Hempstead newcomer has two things going for it. One, it serves the food of Lebanon, the most sophisticated in the Eastern Mediterranean. Two, it is owned by Elias Ghafary who, from 1991 until 2019 presided over Al Bustan, the first restaurant in Manhattan to serve Middle Eastern cuisine in a fine-dining setting. All your old favorites are here, and you won’t find better renditions on Long Island. They are joined by kibbe saniye, a sort of sandwich whose "bread" is a mixture of baked lamb and bulgur that is filled with morsels of sauteed lamb; kibbe laban (lamb tartare) served with scallions and fresh mint; mouloukhia, a leafy green braised with big chunks of chicken; bamia, stewed okra and lamb with tomatoes; batata harra, fried potato cubes with garlic, cilantro and chili. There is much more, all served in a sparkling dining room decorated with prints and paintings of the Lebanese countryside. BYOB. More info: 516-483-3941, beitzaytoon.com

P.J. Harbour Club (154 W. Broadway, Port Jefferson): Port Jefferson’s loveliest view may well be from the second-floor dining room of the village’s newest restaurant, P.J. Harbour Club. Have a seat in the plush dining room and you can take in the whole harbor and the hills of Belle Terre beyond it. Chef-partner Joe Guerra’s menu is eclectic, ranging from New American (raw tuna ribbons with avocado and yuzu-miso vinaigrette) to Italian (baked clams, pasta, cioppino) to continental (onion soup, Caesar salad). You can also see the influence of his own Portuguese heritage in the bolinhos della casa (shrimp-cod croquettes) and a starter of pork belly with clams. Entrees include four steakhouse selections, including broiled porterhouse with potato pavé for two, four or six people and an herbed veal chop with Belgian endive and pancetta cream sauce. More info: 631-309-5800, pjharbourclub.com

Mamajuana Café (555 E. Jericho Tpke., Huntington Station): We've always had first-rate Dominican food in our midst, but 2021 may be the year it hit new octaves on Long Island. At Mamajuana Café, an offshoot of an Inwood restaurant, the kitchen imbues Caribbean and Latin dishes with pan-Asian and Mediterranean touches, such as grilled octopus with red chimichurri sauce (a starter) or rigatoni with mushroom cream sauce, mofongo and puerquito al horno, pork shoulder that's slow-roasted with garlic and herbs. The fusion reaches a crescendo with "sushi Latino" (think chicken tempura, bacon, cream cheese and sweet plantains in a roll with Sriracha-sesame aioli). Feast inside in the cavernous, handsome dining room with exposed its steel rafters and blood-red backlighting, or take the rum cocktails outside to the palm-lined gazebo. More info: 631-923-3686, mamajuanacafe-huntington.com

1653 Pizza Co. (80 Gerard St., Huntington): A collaboration between chef Michael Vigliotti, one of LI’s leading pizzaioli, and the team behind Huntington’s cocktail-centric sports bar, The Rust & Gold, the swanky-casual 1653 Pizza Co. is, despite its name, a contemporary Italian restaurant. Vigliotti’s inventive menu includes charred octopus with pea purée and guanciale, pesto lasagna, tonnarelli carbonara, monkfish piccata and a butter-seared rib-eye. But you’ll need a pizza, too, perhaps the bianca (with mozzarella, pecorino, Fontina, scamorza and stracciatella), the wild mushroom (mozzarella, scamorza, maitake, king trumpet, pioppino, truffle paste and porcini dust) or the clam pie (an unorthodox triumph of little necks, lemon zest and pickled banana peppers). The liquid portion of 1653’s roster — imaginative cocktails and an all-Italian wine list — is the domain of The Rust & Gold’s Frank Antonetti. More info: 631-824-6070

Villa Lobos Tapas Bar (499 S Main St., Freeport): Those seeking a true Spanish tapas experience — not to mention a proper, cooked-to-order paella — will have an easier time now that Larry and Jackie Villalobos have planted their flag in Freeport. The couple operate two casual Venezuelan spots in Manhattan and Queens, but both trace their roots to Spain and it has long been Larry’s dream to honor that heritage with a restaurant. Tapas here include shrimp in garlic sauce, pan con tomate (the Spanish version of bruschetta), Galician-style grilled octopus and tortilla Española, the great potato-filled Spanish omelet. Paella comes with seafood or meat. There’s an all-Spanish wine list as well as fine Spanish sherry and vermouth. Dine at the bar, in the cozy dining room or outside on the patio, which overlooks a marina. More info: 516-608-6042, villalobostapas.com

Puerto Plata Seafood on the Water (42 Woodcleft Ave., Freeport): Puerto Plata is a coastal city in the Dominican Republic renowned for its beaches and natural beauty. Now Rudy Liriano and his partners are bringing that vibe to Freeport’s Nautical Mile with this chic, Latin-inflected seafood restaurant. The menu is dominated by steamed seafood trays that are designed to be shared by groups — each one serves 5five to 6six people — and range from a salmon-only tray to the King’s Feast of snow crab and king crab, lobster tails and jumbo lobster tails and shrimp. All trays also include potatoes and vegetables. (Trays, and their prices, are appropriately downsized for singer diners or couples.) Among the starters you’ll find "sopa revive muertos," a seafood soup to revive the dead, and "La Doña del Sazon’s famous ceviche." More info: 516-665-3025

eShin Noodle Bar (1113 Rte. 25A, Stony Brook): Dozens of decisions go into a single bowl of ramen, and chef Kai Wang makes very good ones— based, in part, on his years working in the kitchens of Michelin-starred New York City noodle spots. The usual suspects are here: tonkotsu ramen, chicken dashi ramen, even a "dry" vegetarian ramen based on tomato dashi broth. But there's also housemade tofu (served cold, only in summer), open-faced, crispy toro buns, and a yellowtail crudo drizzled with brown butter-vinegar. The menu will change seasonally, but the spare, elegant interior, with an open kitchen, counter and wooden booths, will not. More info: 631-675-6333, eshinrestaurants.com

Prime 39 (39 Atlantic Ave., Lynbrook): This hip, happening "resto-lounge" is something new for sleepy Lynbrook. The décor has the subdued bling of a chic club, with brick walls hung with vaguely art-deco paintings, backlit bar and custom-made crystal chandeliers hanging from a wood-raftered ceiling. But the soulful, global menu demands attention too: crispy shrimp with Cheddar polenta and Cajun Hollandaise, collard-green salad with cornbread croutons and pickled raisins, Southern fried chicken with jalapeño drizzle and dry-aged steaks (which can be "upgraded" with a fried or broiled lobster tail). In the wee hours, revelers can accompany their bottles with bar snacks such as lamb-chop lollipops or truffled fries. More info: 516-837-3939, prime39.com

Standard Rec (49 E. Main St., Patchogue): How did you spend lockdown? Standard Rec co-owner Brad Wilson scoured eBay et al for '70s and '80s memorabilia to create this striking, retro-themed spot that blends arcade games, vintage vibes and street food. It replaced Public House 49 earlier this year. Chef Michael Meehan's menu draws broadly from across the world — think arepas, birria ramen, Cubano-style hot dogs, tuna poke and mac-and-cheese with pimento cheese sauce. Cocktails run an unusual but always polished gamut. More info: 631-730-8100

Schultzy's (265 Bayville Ave., Bayville): When Jimmy Schultz decided to open a seafood café not far from the waters of Glen Cove and Oyster Bay, both of which he’s been fishing for over 30 years, it was impossible not to take notice. "If I’m not catching the shellfish myself, I’m getting them right off the boat, every day," said Schultz, who rakes local beds for mollusks when he’s not at the restaurant, which affords diners access to such fare as Pine Island oysters. And what Schultz doesn’t catch himself is still reliably sourced. The scallops arrive fresh off a Massachusetts dayboat, and the lobsters on a similar daily schedule. More info: 516-588-6240, longislandrawbar.com

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