My review of Greek Cove is the last one I will write as a restaurant critic for Newsday. As I retire after 25 years and thousands of tacos, burgers and maki rolls, I take time to marvel at the changes on Long Island.
Back in 1990, pasta houses were all the rage, Chinese restaurants were everywhere, sushi was just catching on and you could count Long Island’s Thai restaurants on one hand. Our sole BBQ house was a summer pop-up at an Amagansett music venue, and the term “Asian fusion” wasn’t in the local vernacular.
While Long Island’s classic houses of lo mein and egg foo young have all but vanished, we’ve seen a recent Chinese restaurant renaissance. Now, sushi is everywhere, from the few truly Japanese spots to the many Asian-fusion places that seem to be springing up daily. Strip-mall pizzerias with full-service dining rooms are bigger than ever, many offering pizza with crazy toppings. And burgers have become serious gastronomy. The trendiness of small-plate (tapas) restaurants has been overshadowed by the rise of gastropubs, where craft brews and lobster mac and cheese are served on tables made of reclaimed wood under tin ceilings.
When I started writing for Newsday, restaurant openings and closings were reported once a week in the newspaper. Now, as soon as news breaks of the launch of a Mexican spot or the closing of a steakhouse, it goes immediately onto the Feed Me blog on our site, app and other mobile devices and then out onto social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Keeping today’s food-savvy public fed has become an ongoing and multifaceted job. Taking on that task alongside Newsday’s food team will be Melissa McCart, formerly dining critic at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
As for me, I’ll be getting to know my own pots, pans and kitchen appliances — and, of course, eating out, both on and off Long Island. I wish you great eating ahead.