Tuna nachos at Stone Street Wood Fired Grill in Garden...

Tuna nachos at Stone Street Wood Fired Grill in Garden City. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

From wood-fired pizza to inventive tacos to regional Indian specialities, Long Island's newest crop of restaurants are worth seeking out for their fresh twists on dining out. 

Stone Street Wood Fired Grill

630 Stewart Ave., Garden City

Art Gustafson is one of Nassau County’s most prolific restaurateurs, presiding over Chadwick’s American Chop House and Salsa Mexicana in Rockville Centre and Primehouse Steak & Sushi in Garden City. When he took over the 5,700-square-foot space on Stewart Avenue that used to be Hurricane Grill & Wings, he needed a concept that would fill the nearly 200-seat dining room and hold the attention of his chef, John Brill, his “culinary soulmate.” The resulting menu relies heavily on an industrial rotisserie from which issue rib roasts (sliced to order) and whole chickens that are either served simply or slathered with Korean barbecue sauce and finished on the wood-fired grill. From the grill: skirt steak with chimichurri, cedar-planked salmon with agave glaze, shrimp tacos, a 14-ounce cowboy pork chop with roasted peach jam. There’s also a burger boasting two griddled patties stacked with cheese and bacon on a sesame bun plus peanut-butter-chipotle spareribs, tuna nachos and a salad of fried calamari with cabbage, orange segments and wonton chips. The soaring dining room marries industrial chic with Hard Rock Cafe, and prices are gentle, with only the steaks topping $30. More info: 516-280-9414, stonestreetgrill.com

The Stone Street Stack burger at Stone Street Wood Fired...

The Stone Street Stack burger at Stone Street Wood Fired Grill in Garden City. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Uncle Frank’s Pizza

3274 Railroad Ave., Wantagh

Chris Perrotta longed for a place that he could go to after he finished work at Blackbird Kitchen & Cocktails, the Wantagh restaurant he and Frank Ubriaco opened in 2016, which has since established itself as one of Long Island’s very best. “Nothing fancy,” said the chef, “just a place nearby to have a good pizza and throw back a few beers.” Now the partners have opened that place: Uncle Frank’s Pizza & Cocktails has longer hours and is only a mile away from Blackbird, taking over (and spiffing up) the free-standing building that, until last year, was Corry’s Ale House. The vibe here is easygoing and family-friendly. So is the fare; mostly wood-oven pizza with a few starters, sides and pastas. The signature “Uncle Frank” pie is a cheesy ode to mozzarella. Also on offer are the Queen Marg (a classic Margherita), sausage with Calabrian chili and shaved red onion, cacio e pepe (three cheeses and lots of black pepper) and mushroom (with maitakes, shallots, Parmesan and fresh mozzarella). Before, during or after pizza, you can enjoy meatballs with fresh ricotta, wood-oven roasted littleneck clams or fried artichokes with shredded romaine hearts in a puddle of Caesar dressing. Instead of pizza you might order rigatoni with braised pork, or torchietti with rock shrimp and garlic and lemon. Pizzas and pastas top out at $26; starters and sides are all under $20. More info; 516-308-3044, unclefranksli.com

Kyuramen x TBAAR

988 Franklin Ave., Garden City

A rapidly expanding Queens chain of sleekly designed ramen shops gets its first Long Island location. Private wood-paneled tatami rooms take up most of the space. Browse the picture menu and push a button on the wall to summon your server, who brings delicate bowls with snappy noodles and 18-hour broth in unique styles like Japanese curry ramen and Kyushu spicy tonkotsu. Followers of omurice, a Japanese Instagram sensation, will find an excellent version here. A server splits the omelet bundle at the table, letting the runny egg pool out over the fried rice before they top the whole thing with copious amounts of savory demi glace. The Garden City location also has a bubble tea bar at the front so make sure to order an intricately layered matcha crepe cake, cutting through the creamy layers with whimsy and delight. More info: 516-385-8887, kyuramen.com

The State Room in Patchogue

67 W. Main St., Patchogue

For Francis Derby, there really is no place like home. The chef, who ran vaunted kitchens in Manhattan, Los Angeles and Miami, is back living in Bellport, his hometown, and cooking less than five miles away in Patchogue. A jewel box of a cocktail bar with small plates, the State Room is just the first concept to open in the historic building that, from 1996 until last year, was the BrickHouse Brewery. Many State Room meals begin with parker house rolls that come with house-churned butter and housemade Cara Cara orange marmalade. Other starters include beef tartare on crumpets napped with Bearnaise sauce, and duck wings with orange-chili glaze and sesame yogurt. There are pastas such as linguine with local clams and fennel confit, and small-scale mains such as chicken Milanese with miso-apple sauce, and skirt steak au poivre with crispy sunchokes. Starters are under $20; most mains under $30. Derby favors local produce and has established relationships with Hamlet Organic Garden and Early Girl farms, both of Brookhaven Hamlet. Partner Bert Wiegand, who formerly ran the bar program at Tullulah's in Bay Shore, is beverage director here; his 10 signature cocktails include The Proper Pour with gin, anisette, Grand Marnier and Angostura bitters. More info: 631-447-2337, thestateroomli.com.

Parker House rolls with Cara Cara orange marmalade and sea-salt...

Parker House rolls with Cara Cara orange marmalade and sea-salt butter at The State Room in Patchogue. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

La Glorieta de Martin

377 Oak St., Copiague

Hicela Artolas’s description of pollos con tajadas as “chicken with green bananas” doesn't fully prepare a diner for the towering dish of fried chicken, shredded cabbage, pickled onions and fried banana slices served at her new Honduran restaurant, La Glorieta de Martin in Copiague. The beloved street food ($16.95) is just one of the Honduran specialties served at this new restaurant along with sopa de caracol (conch soup made with coconut milk) and baleadas (homemade flour tortillas that are folded over combinations of meat, cheeses and vegetables, $5 to $9). The kitchen also has a charcoal grill from which issues the parillada de carnes ($60), grilled steak for two accompanied by rice, beans, salad, tostones and pickled vegetables. You’ll find most Latin American greatest hits here — tacos, quesadillas, nachos — and, since Hicela’s husband and partner, Martin, hails from El Salvador, excellent pupusas. Plus chicken wings, pasta, chicken Parm and Marsala and other local favorites — and a full bar. More info: 631-608-1172, laglorietademartin.com

La Perla

65 E. Main St., Riverhead

With its lively bachata soundtrack, this Salvadoran bar has quickly become the hot spot of downtown Riverhead. Bartender Gabriela Montoya has crafted a menu of Latin classics like tacos, pupusas and seafood plates with a little Italian pasta mixed in. Honduran baleadas ($10) are a highlight, stuffed with scrambled eggs, refried beans, avocado and crema that spills out the sides of the fluffy flour tortilla. To drink, order a michelada with Modelo beer. The Mexican cocktail is spiked with hot sauce and rimmed with Tajín powder for a spicy savory kick. More info: 631-381-0422.

Dario's Pizza 

239 Nassau Blvd., West Hempstead

Dario’s treads a path similar to those forged by other Long Island pizzerias — King Umberto, Taglio, Mozzafiato, Dough & Co. — that are upgrading the classic New York pie and serving it alongside other Italian flatbreads such as the Roman pizza al taglio (a pan pie sold by the slice). But chef Dario Carosi comes at it from a singular direction: He is a trained pastry chef who emigrated from Italy in 2016 and has spent his short tenure in New York working at a series of bakeries and, most recently, at the cult Brooklyn pizzeria L’Industrie. “When people walk in here,” he said, “they don’t see what they are used to. No garlic knots, no calzone, no penne alla vodka on the pizza. I am explaining everything to everyone.” What customers do see are round, crisp-crusted New York pies and lofty rectangular Roman pies, both of whose toppings might be as simple as the “Italiana” (tomatoes and stracciatella), as classic as the “Crostino” (mozzarella, potato, cooked ham and rosemary oil) or as inventive as the “Rossa & Verde" (stripes of roasted-pepper cream and cilantro cream with mozzarella and pickled onion). Pies range from $20 to $29; slices start at $3.50. Carosi makes his own rolls for inspired sandwiches and also has a thing for frying: He makes a mean supplì, the Roman rice ball, and other dishes have a way of wandering over to his fryer — such as little blocks of eggplant Parmesan or, a recent special, deep-fried orbs of rigatoni alla carbonara. More info: 516-279-4390, dariospizzali.com

A selection of Roman-style pies at Dario's Pizza in West...

A selection of Roman-style pies at Dario's Pizza in West Hempstead. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Bobby Q's in Freeport

365 West Sunrise Hwy., Freeport

In and around Freeport, Bobby Ford became known as Bobby Q back in 2017 when he opened Bobby Q’s, a local staple for mostly takeout barbecue and soul food. But with its spacious, bi-level dining room (and much larger kitchen), Bobby Q’s … Jus Like Mama’s is, he said, “the next phase in our evolution, offering more of a restaurant experience.” Barbecue still has pride of place: brisket is rubbed with whole mustard seeds, juniper berries and peppercorns; meaty ribs are glazed with a sweet-tangy sauce; rib-eyes, prime rib, short ribs and “big ol’” turkey legs are also expertly smoked. Soul-food classics include fried, barbecued and jerk chicken; smothered pork chops; shrimp po-boys, mac-and-cheese made with nine (!) cheeses: collard greens, candied yams, fried okra and a fried whiting that, Ford said, is indeed just like mama’s: shards of briny goodness that are dredged in corn flour and fried to a golden brown, just the way his South Carolina-born mother, Elizabeth “Betty” Ford,” taught him. The menu also features some items that Mrs. Ford probably wouldn’t recognize, like the Wagyu burger topped with lobster or the charcuterie platter. Actually, “charcuterie platter” is her son’s cheeky way of describing his sampler “for barbecue-curious people.” More info: 516-460-8056, bbqjuslikemamas.com

El Gauchito #3

12 N. Park Ave., Rockville Centre

The first Long Island location of the popular Queens steakhouse, El Gauchito #3 brings a sweeping menu of Argentine classics to Rockville Centre. The restaurant sources from its own butcher shop, an Elmhurst staple since 1979. And serves hard-to-find meats like black sausage, kidneys and sweet breads. Adventurous eaters would be well served by ordering an antipasto El Gauchito platter of various cured meats like pickled pigs feet. And then moving on to the delights of the parrillada, a style of barbecue where slow-cooked meats are piled onto a tableside grill and eaten with bread and herby chimichurri sauce. More info: 516-442-0517, elgauchitonyc.com


170A Gardiners Ave., Levittown

Ginza, a top sushi destination until it shuttered its Massapequa location in 2020, has reopened in Levittown. The new location is smaller and less glitzy, but no less lovely: the high-ceilinged room is all bleached wood, recessed lighting and neutral upholstery. Of course, the focal point remains the sushi bar where chef-owner Patrick Yam and his team strut their stuff. Yam still gets some fish flown in from Tokyo, and you might encounter madai, baby yellowtail, fatty tuna, real king crab (not kani) and sea urchin from California or Japan (or both). Omakase ($68 to $88) is highly recommended, but sushi is also available a la carte or in full entrees ($27 to $30); rolls range from standard California and yellowtail-scallion to the “mango heaven” (salmon, avocado, mango, wasabi caviar and spicy mango sauce) and the “surf & turf” with lobster, mango, crunch, filet mignon and balsamic reduction. The non-sushi menu comprises a familiar lineup of starters hot (shumai and gyoza, tempura) and cold (tuna tataki, spicy-crunchy kani salad) along with some outliers like lobster bisque and truffled chu-toro sashimi. Kitchen entrees include teriyaki, tempura and stir-fried udon or soba noodles. A range of lunch specials (from the sushi bar and the kitchen) top out at $18. More info: 516-882-9688, ginzany.com

Chirashi made with the day's special fish at Ginza in...

Chirashi made with the day's special fish at Ginza in Levittown. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Lezzet Mediterranean Grill

341 Terry Rd., Smithtown

The setting — a former Chinese takeout in a nondescript strip mall — is modest in the extreme, but Lezzet is turning out exemplary versions of two iconic Turkish flatbreads. Lahmacun and pide can both be compared to pizza: Round lahmacun ($6), about a foot in diameter, is thin-crusted and topped sparingly with minced, seasoned lamb. Pide ($18 to $25) are shaped like a long, narrow boat and their thicker crusts are stuffed with various combinations of meats, cheeses and vegetables — from ground lamb and beef, to pastirma (Turkish pastrami) and sucuk (spicy sausage) to mozzarella, feta, spinach and potatoes. Think of it as an open-faced Turkish calzone. Lezzet also offers a concise lineup of grilled dishes: beef-lamb and chicken doner kebabs (gyro) as well as skewers bearing chicken, Adana kebab (spiced ground lamb) and kofte (meatballs). There are also a handful of hot and cold starters and salads, desserts and imported Turkish juices and sodas. More info: 631-406-7030


37 W. John St., Hicksville

Blessed though Long Island is with fine restaurants celebrating several of India’s food-fascinating regions, few are dedicated to one of the most food-fascinating of all — Hyderabad. There's dum ka murgh ($15.99), in which marinated chicken is slow-cooked in a nutty, yogurty slurry and arrives in a gravy so heavenly, you’ll find yourself ordering naan after naan (in various types, $2-$3.49) to mop it up, and then still more naan for a clean up on aisle haleem, a wheat-rich stew here served with lamb ($21.99). And don't skip the pair of unique desserts, including qubani ka meetha ($9), in which dried apricots are stewed, making for a sweet and tarty compote perfectly balanced with drizzles of cream. More info: 631-229-3646, jazeerahicksville.com

Karahi Adda

467 Old Country Rd., Westbury

Rather unusually for a desi restaurant, this 44-seat Westbury establishment dedicated to Pakistani fare has a focused and disciplined menu, a shortlist of dishes that never disappoints. And while matchless malai boti ($13.99) is a standout starter, the restaurant is very properly named for the karahi, a wok-like pan used all over the Indian subcontinent. Owner Imran Moeen himself presides over a fleet of them in his kitchen, stirring up fine versions of chicken keema ($23.99) and biryani ($29.99), and an even finer baby goat karahi ($34.99), before setting each in a heat-tolerant basket and directing his servers to deposit them tableside with a large spoon. More info: 516-303-9399

Chicken biryani served in a karahi at Karahi Adda in...

Chicken biryani served in a karahi at Karahi Adda in Westbury. Credit: Newsday/Scott Vogel

Flora’s Pizza Café

637 Jericho Tpke., Syosset

Ervis Xhelaj, once the general manager of at multiple Felice locations, and his wife, Gabriella, have opened this cozy Italian spot. Though terrific counter slices ($3.50 and up) entice, Flora’s is about the service and the composed dishes. Start with arancini, fried artichokes or meatballs, and then move onto one of the many fresh made pastas ($19 and up) like a pillow-soft gnocchi with organic pesto or creamy cacio e pepe. Our pizza suggestion is the colorful red, pink and pesto sauced La Colorata, and if you’re still hungry, entrees include crispy chicken Milanese ($25), grilled salmon ($29) and a burger. House Italian reds and whites, plus a French rosé, as well as beer and light cocktails like Negronis and Aperol spritzes pair nicely. More info: 516-490-4290, floraspizzacafe.com

Gimme Burger

39 E. Main St., Oyster Bay

Jesse Schenker, the chef behind fine dining establishments 2 Spring and Four, has opened this low-key, neighborhood burger joint, where an ample front lawn seems poised for warm weather hangouts. Inside, the vibe is throwback '70s, the menu is tight, there’s a vintage Miss Pac-Man machine, and all prices are affordable (under $10). With only five sandwiches to choose from — a hamburger, a cheeseburger, a crispy chicken sandwich, a grilled cheese, and a veggie burger — fries, shakes, soda, wine from The Pinot Project and cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon round out the menu. The burgers, which can be ordered as singles ($6.95) or doubles ($8.75), are a plump 4-ounce custom blend of chuck, brisket, and short rib and ground in-house daily. Add cheese or don’t, the result is the same — mighty fine burgers. More info: gimmeburger.com

Tulum Tacos & Tequila

230 Jericho Tpke., Mineola

This 85-seat Mexican charmer is shot through with splashes of green, blue, yellow and orange, along with a host of eye-catching elements, and the fare is as attractive and unique as the décor: from a jicama crudo ($16) dressed with paper-thin shavings of grapefruit, navel orange, little circles of serrano chilies and edible pansy flowers that’s almost too pretty to eat, to a tongue-twirling burrata served in a moat of poblano pesto and topped with pomegranate seeds ($14), to a wonderful chayote milanesa ($16) in which squash pieces are dredged in a buttermilk slurry, quick-fried and finished with avocado and lemon crema. More info: 516-246-9499, tulumta.co

Drinks at Tulum Tacos & Tequila, a Mexican restaurant in Mineola.

Drinks at Tulum Tacos & Tequila, a Mexican restaurant in Mineola. Credit: Tulum Tacos & Tequila

Manolo's Churrasqueira 

2518 Merrick Rd., Bellmore

With its unassuming strip mall setting, Manolo's is a casual option for Portuguese and Brazilian barbecue. Owners Julia Arevalo and Jose Manuel Nuñez converted the former Everest Himalayan restaurant, brightening up the space but keeping the large Nepalese mountain town portrait that dominates the wall. Their menu is equal parts seafood and meat dishes, like grilled octopus and salt cod as well as Portuguese paelha with an array of shellfish. The Manolo's Grill Platter ($43) is a good bet as it comes with an array of cuts like grilled skirt steak and spare ribs with an elaborate spread of side dishes that include rice, black beans and fried banana. More info: 516-804-5656. 

The Pizzeria

177 S. Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst

The fifth location of the modern pizzeria chain opened in the heart of Lindenhurst Village. Like its Bay Shore flagship, patrons can take a seat at the bar counter (beer, wine and cocktails), grab a slice to-go or settle in for table service. Specialty pies range from twists on tradition such as The Lindy (fresh mozzarella, red sauce and Parmesan cheese, $27.95) to more out-there concoctions topped with Thai chili sauce and chicken. There's a small roster of pastas, salads and heros. More info: 631-876-2777, thepizzeriany.com

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