Hoi Ming has been feeding Long Islanders in the Oakdale/Sayville area since the 1960’s as far as I can tell.
The earliest notation I could find online about this place was something about it opening in 1971, but my folks seem to remember it being there in the 60’s. In any case it’s borderline ancient. There’s even a New York Times review of the place from 1976. Click the image below to view the article.
Not much has changed inside the place from what I remember back when I was there in the 80’s. Wood paneled walls. Lots of red. And an awesomely dim and cavernous tiki bar of sorts.
My whole family came here again recently to celebrate my parents’ anniversary. Basically, we just ordered a bunch of apps, but I was surprised that everything was actually pretty good.
Here’s the famous pupu platter – nothing has changed about this from my childhood memory of it.
Inside the foil was minced and spiced chicken.
The boneless spare ribs are generously portioned and delicious. My nephew calls them “red chicken,” not to be confused with the actual chicken that’s red in the pupu platter tinfoil.
And the shrimp toast is tasty as well. Pardon the blurry photo. My dad grabbed the plate and asked if I needed him to hold it for me.
I didn’t shoot anything else, but the menu is pretty standard. This place keeps its prices fair and provides a level of certainty and consistency for the locals who frequent the establishment. I guess that’s why it’s been there for 50 years.
Mannino’s is a local Italian joint near my parents’ house on Long Island. It’s gotten a lot of buzz in the last few years, and the food is pretty great. I’ve been there several times, but this time I decided to document the meal.
We started with octopus salad:
Stuffed and fried zucchini blossoms:
And an order of fried calamari:
The fried calamari was a bit on the small side in terms of portion size, but if you’re taking it down all by yourself, then it’s probably just the right amount. The squid was fried to a nice crisp, but still tender on the inside.
The zucchini blossoms were stuffed with ricotta and were a little more dense than I expected, but still tasty nonetheless. I wished there was four in the order, since we had a table of four. We made it work, however.
The octopus salad was good. The squid was tender, and the acid from the citrus cut nicely across the dish.
For my entree, I had pork parmesan. I’ve been dying to dig into some of the incredible looking bone-in chicken parm dishes I’ve been seeing lately in NYC, so this pork version was the perfect way to get my fix.
The meat was incredibly tender, pounded flat and fried up to a crisp. Good cheese coverage and melt, and the sauce was delicious. Great dish.
My wife had the beef braciola. This is beef that’s pounded flat and rolled up with cheeses, pine nuts, cured meats and raisins. Really nicely executed.
Get over to Mannino’s if you live in the area and haven’t been there yet. And keep an eye out for their tomahawk steak for two; they have it on special some nights.
1575 New York 27A (Montauk Highway)
Oakdale, NY 11769
One of the most fun bar scenes you will ever experience in Manhattan is Zum Schneider for Oktoberfest. Yeah, yeah, yeah (or, should I say, Ja Ja Ja) I know it gets mobbed in there, and you have to stand on line to get in, but it is SO worth it. The beers are excellent, the food is tasty, and the company is fantastic, always.
This year they are offering the festivities under a huge tent on the Hudson River (at 23rd Street), so we will see how that pans out.
If panned out wonderfully, from the little that I can remember. Check out some pics – it was even a good time in the rain:
A short video of the Ja Ja Ja’s into tune:
Another year in the bag, as a return to the big tent on a very similar weather day brought even more fun:
This time I sampled a lot more of the food, like this nice meat and cheese plate. The blue cheese was good and funky, and the meats were nicely cured (there was even some head cheese).
I saw these fuckers roasting outside, so I had to try one:
It was a simple preparation. Just some seasonings plus char. I liked it.
My buddy had some roast chicken and a potato dumpling in gravy.
And of course we tried some brats and pretzels. The brats were on stale shitty bread but they were at least grilled nicely.
MONTAUK LOCATION UPDATE – JULY 2016
The Montauk location is every bit as awesome as the NYC location, only it is steps from the beach.
We really just came in for a drink before dinner across the street at Harvest, but I couldn’t resist this hax’n pork shank:
So I ordered it as an appetizer of sorts. It was excellent. While not salted enough by itself, when eaten in conjunction with the pickled red and white cabbage, it was perfectly balanced. The cabbage cut the fat nicely too.
The potato dumpling and stuffing balls that came with it were skippable, but the beer braise liquid was amazing. Perhaps just a few slices of nice sourdough bread would have been better.
107 Ave. C
New York, NY 10009
ZUM SCHNEIDER’S MONTAUK
4 S Elmwood Ave
Montauk, NY 11954
This is a throwback review that I’ve been meaning to write for a while. I haven’t been here in a few years, but the meat products are fantastic and worthy of my blog. Now that summer is here again, I figured it was a good time to post it.
Harvest is located out in Montauk, and has a great outdoor dining area that overlooks a picturesque lake with a dock.
First, I’ll talk about the lamb ribs. This is probably one of the few places you’ll ever see them offered. They are grilled up to a nice charcoal black and served with a delicious sauce. These things were the star of the show when I ate here. I think we even got a second order because they were so good, and the orders are very large to begin with.
Next, we had a porterhouse. The meat was thick and tasty, and served with a fresh peppercorn sauce and rosemary. Absolutely awesome, especially with the roasted onions that come with it.
We tried some skirt steak too, which came on a bed of nicely dressed mixed greens.
This place is awesome because is has a really big meat selection for a non-steakhouse. I definitely recommend giving it a shot if you’re out in Montauk this summer. Be sure to try the garlic and herb fries too.
UPDATE JULY 2016
Okay so I came back to re-test the waters on all these delicious family style items. As I recalled, I am still extremely impressed with this place.
The flatter, less meaty ones are actually better, because the bark to meat ratio offers some really amazing texture and flavor. All around great though.
Great herb and garlic flavor, crispy shoestring fast food style, which is just my cup of tea.
Don’t let the name fool you. This is a heaping bowl of shellfish (clams, mussels, shrimp and scallops) served in a delicious wine and garlic broth with grilled country bread. Amazing.
Perfectly medium rare, this is 16oz of greatness. While the meat itself is not very salted, it comes with a spicy butter that is meant to be spread across each slice. 9/10.
Both the filet and strip sides of this baby were cooked to a perfect medium rare. The fresh green peppercorns add a great pop of spice and herbaceous flavor to this masterpiece. 9/10.
Lobster and Truffle Fettuccine with Vodka Sauce:
Although the truffles were not particularly flavorful, and they were a bit shy with the lobster for a $52 entree, the pasta itself was cooked very nicely and the sauce was delicious.
Frozen Key Lime Pie:
Tart, sweet and slightly bitter, this delivers everything you expect from a good key lime pie, but in a sorbet or ice cream forma. It even has the graham cracker crust underneath. Very nice.
Ice Cream Sandwich:
This thing is massive, even for two. Although I didn’t taste it, I am told it is amazing.
Huge cream puffs are filled with ice cream and topped with whipped cream and chocolate. Simple and delicious.
Honorable Mention: Appetite Killing Table Bread.
Careful! This stuff will get you full. It is so delicious, and comes with olive oil and grated cheese.
THE HARVEST ON FORT POND
11 S. Emery St.
Montauk, NY 11954
My friends and family on Long Island have been telling me about this new joint in Sayville that serves some killer sandwiches and is set up like a gourmet butcher shop or deli. This past weekend I finally got to try it out.
When you step in, you’re inside a nice little butcher shop. They sell prepared foods, and cuts of meat like you’d find at a deli, but they also have a nice dry-aging room right there on site.
There’s a cool bar area near the flat top grill for an old fashioned diner experience, and the menu is pretty simple but fantastic.
We did take-out (me, my brother and our wives), but here’s what I thought of everything we tried:
Chili Espresso Wings: I really liked these a lot. While I was hoping for a bit more heat on these, I really enjoyed the flavor combo, and they were nicely crisped. You don’t normally see fun and interesting wing flavors like this. I’d definitely get these again.
Duck Buns: These come in an order of three, and are nice and tasty. The duck is simultaneously crispy and tender, just as it should be. While pricey, at $12, you don’t often see these on the island.
Filet Tips in Gravy: These were tasty meat morsels. They were fun to pop and snack on, and the gravy was great with the fries. I’d pass on a future visit, perhaps opting for the riblets instead.
16 Hour Brisket Sandwich: The meat was so tender on this fucker. It was topped with melted provolone, pickles and pickled red cabbage for a good southern flavor profile. It was delicious, but I think the provolone wasn’t the best match for the other flavors. Maybe a brie or a cheddar would work better? Something more southern.
Porchetta Sandwich: This was clearly the big winner of the day in terms of brute flavor and awesomeness. The pork was caramelized and crisp on the outside, but soft and tender inside. The tomato and sautéed spinach toppings added juiciness and a nice hit of fresh green to balance that savory pork meat. I want more!
Chicken Sandwich: While I didn’t get to try this, it most certainly looked amazing. A simple grilled chicken with lettuce, tomato and cheese. Check out the cheese strings!
I’ll definitely be back here again the next time I’m home. One other menu item was really screaming for my attention that I didn’t get to try: the Pastrueben. Pastrami + Rueben. I’ll just let that brew in your minds until next time…
The Villager is a bar out in Babylon, near the train station. After a group of us spent the day drinking out at the wineries on Long Island’s north fork, we came here to get some grub. I have to say: I was pretty surprised at how good the food was. I was not expecting much. Shame on me for assuming shit.
The group started with an order of gouda fries. They were waffle style – nice and crisp – and covered with melted gouda, crumbled bacon and scallions.
I ordered the breakfast burger, which was topped with American cheese, bacon and a fried egg, served on a toasted English muffin.
Since I wasn’t sure what kind of place this was before ordering, I went with medium on the cook. I was kicking myself once I tasted the quality of the meat. I should have gone medium rare. It was still fucking fantastic though, and it came with a side of tater tots.
My wife ordered the duck burger, which was topped with gruyere and applewood smoked bacon. She, too, ordered it medium. The burger was cooked perfectly and had a hearty flavor to it, but, as a result of the medium poultry, was a bit on the dry side.
I will definitely be back here, and next time I will order properly at medium rare for my burger.
After our trip to Hawaii, my wife and I were in dire need of a shave ice fix. Luckily we got wind of a joint out in Babylon, near where we used to live. We were out there for the weekend anyway, since I was running in the inaugural Suffolk County Marathon. This was the perfect way to cut my nerves the day before the race. Check out the flavors:
Look at the size of this medium!
Overall it was a pretty legit experience. The ice seemed correct to me, but my wife thought that maybe they weren’t using distilled water (she said the ice was harder or chunkier than in Hawaii). The flavors were right on though. Very similar to what we tasted over there in the islands. The prices were the same too.
FIRE ISLAND SHAVE ICE
450 Fire Island Ave.
Babylon, NY 11702
First I’d like to thank Jeff and Elizabeth for the gift card, which totally overcompensated me for the time I spent taking and editing photos of their son Jack. Tellers, formerly a bank, is a unique steakhouse in Islip, Long Island, well known for its quality and ambiance. This marks my second trip to the restaurant. I ate like a ravenous beast this time ’round, and I may fall into a deep food coma at any moment. Must type fast. See below. Third visit remarks in italics.
Tellers is good. I feel like it can be great, however. Although cooked properly in terms of doneness, I think the meat was slightly under seasoned, and the steak was not allowed to rest long enough before serving; the large pool of juices in the plate ruined some of the crisp textural components you like with a steak. For the size steak I had, I can see, however, that it would be difficult to ensure even flavoring throughout the thickness of the meat. The first time I went, I got the delmonico, which is the smaller, boneless ribeye that was included in the restaurant week prix fix (see price section below). The second time I went, I got the dry-aged 39oz bone-in ribeye; a much thicker cut (all bow to my manliness). It had some gristle, but the intra-muscular fat was good quality. I’d definitely eat here again, but this is certainly not the best steak in terms of flavor. I’ve seen average places with average quality cuts of beef do more with less. On a third trip I had the strip steak (16oz, boneless). It was still a bit under seasoned, but the crust was MUCH better, and there was pretty much NO bleed out. I ordered medium rare. it came back a bit over and slightly uneven, but still very tasty, so I didn’t mind so much.
Choice of Cuts & Quality Available: 9
Tellers offers several different cuts and several versions of each cut. There are two sized filets, as well as a Wellington preparation, a bacon wrapped filet, and a bone-in filet. They offer a boneless delmonico ribeye, as well as 21 day dry-aged NY strips (boneless), ribeyes (bone-in) and porterhouses for one or two. Additionally, they have skirt steak and other meats like lamb. On special the second time I went was a Wagyu porterhouse for two. This covers the essential four cuts, and then offers some variation and choice. Nicely done, Tellers, although I got a good look at the porterhouse steak for one, and, to be honest, it looked more like a T-bone since the filet side was quite skimpy. CAREFUL! A carnivore connoisseur like me may have sent that shit back.
Portion Size & Plating: 9
Portion sizes ranged from average to large here. The filets are 8oz (average for smaller cuts), 14oz (larger than average for regular cuts), and 14oz for the bone-in (average, given the weight of the bone included). The delmonico is about 20oz, the strip is about 16oz, and the ribeye… wait for it… is fucking 39oz. Yeah that’s right… And I ate all of that mother fucker. Suck it, you peons.
The first time I went to Tellers they were offering a $50 three course prix fix dinner that included wine pairings with each course; AMAZING DEAL. That was during Long Islands’s restaurant week, but Tellers regularly offers a $45 three course prix fix every Sunday and for early dining during the week (no wine included). These are seriously great deals, since it includes the boneless delmonico (if you choose the steak item). On my second trip, I had a $200 gift card in my pocket thanks to Jeff and Elizabeth. Weighing the option to use it twice on two prix fix dinners versus going all out on the regular menu, I ultimately decided to go all out to get the full experience that Tellers has to offer (since last time I did a prix fix). Our bill came to $185 (scallop app, dozen oysters, creamed spinach, 39oz ribeye, seared tuna, trio of pies, martini, and espresso), so the gift card covered everything, and then we added an additional $15 or so on the table above the $200, for a grand total of $215. As you can see, regular menu prices are a bit steep as compared to the prix fix deals for the increase in quality and portion size (I’d say flavor is about the same between prix fix items and regular menu items). If/when I go back, I will likely stick to the prix fix, since I know now that it offers the most bang for the buck. Take advantage of this expert knowledge, assholes. HEED! Below is the bill for the third visit:
Tellers has a very nice bar and lounge off of the main dining room which you can access from the rear parking lot to bypass the main entryway. The full menu is available here, which is great if you ever try to go and the dining room is all booked up. Teller’s has an extensive wine list, and they make a good martini to boot (though mine was a little warm when it was first served to me). It is a cool place to hang out even if you aren’t eating. The bar itself is nice, and there is a great selection of booze, especially after dinner-type swanky drinks (several types of armagnac, grappa, single malt scotches, madiera, ports, and brandy).
Specials and Other Meats: 8
Slim on alternative meats, Tellers offers just the lamb and roasted chicken. No shame in that; the red meat is the reason why you go here. As mentioned earlier, they offered a Wagyu porterhouse for two, which gets good marks in my book as far as specials are concerned. The Wagyu was the only item off menu offered as a special, however.
Apps, Sides & Desserts: 9
The duck fat french fries are delicious, and they came FREE as we awaited our appetizers. They’re served with a really nice homemade ketchup and mustard/mayo dipping sauce on the side. Perfectly seasoned and crispy. I ordered a bakers dozen oysters. For a moment I was torn between those and little necks, but I went with the oysters. In hindsight I should have gotten a half-dozen of each to try them all out, but I was extremely pleased with the oysters. Cold, clean, fresh, creamy, smooth, and well-shucked. They shucked the shit out of those things. My wife ordered a seared scallops & mushrooms appetizer; perfectly cooked and buttery sweet. Tellers also offers a “trainwreck” potato dish, which is essentially baked potatos scooped out into a cassarole dish and cooked with several types of fine cheeses, bacon and peppers. That will fill you right up. Speaking of filling, the creamed spinach is huge; it can easily feed four people. It is not super creamy (I don’t like it overly creamy), and it is your basic quality creamed spinach; it gets the job done. For dessert, we had a trio of pies in a jar, which was fun and interesting, though extremely HOT. They were very sweet as well, and could have benefitted from a scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside to cut both the heat and the sweet. Luckily I didn’t burn my mouth this time like I did at Dylan Prime though. On our first visit here, we ordered the calamari, which were nicely breaded and crispy, but lacked seasoning/salt. The fries were also free then as well, and before dessert they brought us a small plate of home made cookies (they didn’t do that on our second visit). On the third visit, we tried the peppered bacon, the crab cakes, the brussels sprouts, and the hazelnut cheesecake. The bacon was thick – almost an inch. It was cooked in a braised fashion, soft and tender, and covered with a horseradishy BBQ type sauce. The crab cakes were a bit on the small side for the price ($17) but they were juicy, lumpy, and crispy without being too bready – and served with a yummy hollandaise sauce. The brussels sprouts were nothing to write home about. I make much better sprouts at home. I like a little crisp to mine, and there was no crisp on these. Also not enough pancetta. The hazelnut cheesecake was rich and tasty, and had a tangy smear of nutty chocolate poo beside it. See pics below:
Seafood Selection: 9
There is a great selection of seafood at Tellers. Crispy skin salmon, swordfish steak, seared tuna, lobster, stuffed flounder with crab, fresh clams and oysters, sashimi, scallops, seafood towers, and shrimp tossed with assorted seafood in pasta. If you can’t take the meat, no need to start bitchin’ – order up some seafood. They do it well here. We really enjoyed the oysters and scallop appetizers, and my wife was happy with her seared tuna. FYI – my wife is not an asshole pussy (asspussy) because she ordered fish at a steakhouse. She recently had her Charles-De-Gallbladder removed and red meats are just not sitting well with her at the moment. On the third visit my wife had the millenium lobster (2lb). It was served with very nice, creamy, super-whipped mashed potatoes. The lobster was de-shelled already when it came to the table, and topped with a spicy butter sauce. See below for the nice presentation:
The service here is impeccable. First, you are greeted with a lovely potato foccacia bread. It is FANTASTIC; buttery, sweet and savory, almost like a corn bread. Our attentive waiter explained and described everything to us; from how things were prepared to what they were cooked with. And I mean everything, including the foccacia, fries, steaks, apetizers – these guys really take pride in what they do, they learn the menu, and they understand the culinary arts (especially meat). The waiters all wear a formal shirt and tie, but there are women as well as men in the waitstaff. Big points on service for Tellers. We never waited on water, the check came promptly, and everything was done at a good, comfortable pace. Tellers will also go out of their way to bring something speial to the table if they know it is your birthday or anniversary. On the third trip we noticed that they no longer bring free french fries and the fresh baked pan bread to the table. That kinda sucks, since those items were almost the best part of the meal. However, we did have a great waiter named Billy, who was helpful, knowledgeable, and genuine. Top notch.
Tellers used to be an old bank, hence the name. The main dining room sports a triple high ceiling with beautiful architecture and long, tall, elegant windows that seem to have been preserved with as much historical accuracy as possible. Seating is also available in the bar/lounge area. The old bank vault, which still has the gate and huge vault door attached, now houses a wine cellar. Bins of wine also adorn the main lobby. Very classy. It is a beautiful restaurant. There is no music in the main dining room, but you can hear it slightly, coming from the bar area. Tables are ALMOST too close, but not uncomfortable. Tellers is not a huge restaurant so they have to do what they can. The corner booths are roomy and spacious, however. Bathrooms are large and clean, and have nice thick disposable paper towels. Once in a while during the meal you might feel a slight breeze gently carry through the dining room since it has a high ceiling and there are large doors near the entryway that let the wind in when both sets of doors are opened at the same time. Two large, fake trees sit in decorative cauldrons in the dining room, giving the room an outdoors feel, especially when you look out the windows to see the uplighting on the real trees outside on the well manicured grounds. Tellers is a very pleasing and unique place to eat.
Just as a post-script, I thought I was eating a lot until I saw the couple at a neighboring table order the trainwreck potato dish, creamed spinach, and the lobster mac & cheese – all this along with their free fries, foccacia bread, porterhouse for one and seared tuna (HOLY FUCKING STARCH BATMAN). I wonder if they finished it all. That is pretty badass if they did.
I came back here for a meal after running in the inaugural Suffolk County Marathon. I burned about 3400 calories in that, my first marathon, so I was ready to pack on some fat. This joint offers a $45 price fix Sunday meal that includes some great shit. For example, my massive slab bacon app as a starter:
Mine was perfect! My mom’s, hover, was very fatty and not as pleasant.
For the main course I had an 18oz delmonico (boneless) rib eye. Mine was cooked somewhere in the range of medium rare to medium (I ordered medium rare). My dad’s was unfortunately overcooked to medium well (he, too, ordered medium rare).
Dessert comes with the meal as well, but before that I should mention the duck fat french fries and burnt broccoli that we shared among the table:
Both had great crisp texture. The fries didn’t taste heavily of duck fat, but they were pretty much perfect french fries. The broccoli was super tasty. They are steamed and then flash fried for that crisp.
For dessert I needed something light. My body was not agreeing with this additional pounding I was putting it through after the race. I went with a trio of sorbets.
I was amazed to see a cigar menu on the dessert menu. Odd, considering that smoking is not allowed in the establishment. However the restaurant has some nice outdoor lounge seating. So on a nice night you can puff away out there:
As for drinks: I recommend the St. Germain and candied hibiscus martini. Really awesome, and you can eat the flower. Yes – this was my wife’s drink… Do I look like a fucking pussy to you?
This new joint on Long Island serves up some pretty damn good grub. And it’s right near my brother’s house, so now there’s a sweet go-to spot for when I visit.
I had the classic bacon cheeseburger with added jalepenos. This was awesome. My only real gripe is that I wish they used fresh jalapeños instead of pickled pre-sliced ones. No matter though, because it was still jerkworthy:
I had half of my wife’s gorgonzola burger too. This was great as well, and the cheese did not overwhelm the meat:
The cool thing is that, like Charly’s, the burgers are packed in clamshells rather than wrapped up in paper. The rigid packaging material prevents burgers from getting all fucked up in the bag if you buy it to go.
The fries and onion rings were solid too. I liked the onion rings better than the fries, but I attribute that to the fact that they held up better in the bag. We arrived out to LI late, so my brother picked dinner up for us. Even after sitting in the bag for a while the fried items were still pretty crispy. Nice!
JOE’S SIRLOIN BURGER GRILL
1400 Lakeland Ave
Bohemia, NY 11716