It's time to eat here now.
In a year of small plates, big brews, high risks, low prices, and enough openings and closings to make so many meals out seem like yesterday's news, we're ready to reveal the class of 2014: Long Island's 100 essential restaurants.
This series follows the Top 100 Restaurants feature of 2013. There have been changes, revelations, and shockers since then, as Newsday's food department updated and revised the list of recommendations from staffers Joan Reminick, Peter M. Gianotti and Erica Marcus. Restaurants were revisited and reassessed; categories, reviewed.
Three new categories have been added: Latin restaurants, barbecue houses and gastropubs. They reflect the boomlet in all three areas. Accordingly, three of the more general and less-popular categories have been dropped: Mediterranean, Asian-fusion, and international.
More than 30 restaurants have been dropped from last year's 100 either because they closed, have new chefs or dropped in quality.
Based on your responses during the last 12 months, the most popular listings concerned Italian restaurants and steakhouses.
Seafood, "cheap eats," and sushi followed in reader response. And these compilations also mirror the ups and downs in dining experiences since last August.
Four restaurants have joined the seafood listing. They include one that had been categorized under the Mediterranean label and one new one: the Greek-oriented restaurants Limani and Kyma, both in Roslyn; H20 Seafood & Sushi in Smithtown; and Bigelow's in Rockville Centre.
The roster of inexpensive favorites boasts two newcomers: Morning Rose in Bellmore and Cook's Scratch Kitchen & Bakery in Northport. The number of restaurants offering sushi has expanded since the last slate was organized. Be-Ju Sashimi & Sake Bar, the restaurant-within-a-restaurant at Jewel in Melville; Nagashima in Jericho; and Koiso in Carle Place are new to the sushi lineup.
New American restaurants, which have outpaced traditional American kitchens in their growth and range, continue to thrive. Two are new to the current roll: Lola in Great Neck, which came over from the now-gone international category; and The North Fork Table & Inn in Southold, where the kitchen hierarchy has been refigured.
The Asian category has absorbed Monsoon Asian Kitchen & Lounge in Babylon from the discontinued Asian-fusion section; and put on Pho Maxia in Westbury.
Join us at the table and Eat Here Now.