Category Archives: Long Island

Flo’s Luncheonette

This little neighborhood roadside joint has always been a local fan favorite on Long Island.

The best thing I had here is Flo’s Puppy Dog, which is a split griddled hot dog with bacon and cheese sauce.

The waffle fries and regular fries are both pretty good as well, and if you get one of their lobster rolls, it comes with fries for $21.

Flo’s Burger is served on Martin’s potato bread with Canadian bacon and American cheese. LTOP come on the side.

Really tasty but it can get messy.

But the sleeper here is the Big EZ wrap, with shrimp, lettuce and avocado. Absolutely delicious and refreshing.

This place is a must try, especially in the nice weather. They even have ice cream on one side and a full service bar on the other.

FLO’S LUNCHEONETTE
302 Middle Rd
Blue Point, NY 11715

Cliff’s Rendezvous

I used to hit this place way back, about 20 years ago or more. It’s out in Riverhead, Long Island.

This place is known for their special marinade, which they apply to both their steaks and burgers upon request. I always liked the flavor they got with it – definitely some soy and worcestershire happening. The sugars in it make for a really charred crust.

And a delicious puddle of juices at the bottom.

I really like it. For $15 (lunch portion, about 12-14oz), you can’t go wrong. What would be a 7/10 gets bumped to an 8/10 due to the value here.

The patty melt is a pass, however. Unless you switch it up from Swiss to something like American. The cheese was just too overboard.

I loved the 5-olive martini though.

Next time you’re out this way, give Cliff’s a shot.

CLIFF’S RENDEZVOUS
313 E Main St
Riverhead, NY 11901

Hoi Ming

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.

HOI MING
469 Main St
West Sayville, NY 11796

Da Noi

My wife and I met some friends for dinner at Da Noi in Islip. Here’s a rundown of what we had.

First, the octopus:

A nice large single tentacle. I’ve had better, but this definitely did the job, and overall is great for Long Island.

Next, prawn with polenta:

A nice head-on fucker. And the polenta was creamy, cheesy and delicious.

Now some pasta dishes. First, gnocchi:

These were heavy, but tasty.

Next, cavatelli.

This came with a pork rags that was really robust.

Then there was pappardelle with meatballs.

Meatballs are always a tough sell on me, and these veal balls did not meet my standards. But the pasta was awesome, as was the sauce.

Now for the meats: first, the porterhouse.

This was nicely grilled but came in at a 6/10 for me, which isn’t terrible for Long Island.

The bone in tenderloin was the better steak, at 8/10.

My buddy ordered his medium, so that’s why there’s less pink in this shot:

My wife’s rabbit dish was very tasty. A bit salty in parts, but over all really nicely cooked. I love seeing this on a menu.

These bison medallions were tenderloin cut, and came out as an app. Nice portion size. These were really tasty. 7/10.

I ended with a perfect creme brûlée.

This is a good restaurant, especially for LI. Go give it a shot. Ask for the bone in tenderloin and get some of those tasty pasta dishes.

DA NOI
301 Main St
Islip, NY 11751

Mannino’s

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.

MANNINO’S
1575 New York 27A (Montauk Highway)
Oakdale, NY 11769

Zum Schneider

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.

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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:

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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:

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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).

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I saw these fuckers roasting outside, so I had to try one:

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It was a simple preparation. Just some seasonings plus char. I liked it.

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My buddy had some roast chicken and a potato dumpling in gravy.

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And of course we tried some brats and pretzels. The brats were on stale shitty bread but they were at least grilled nicely.

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MONTAUK LOCATION UPDATE – JULY 2016

The Montauk location is every bit as awesome as the NYC location, only it is steps from the beach.

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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:

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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.

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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.

ZUM SCHNEIDER’S
107 Ave. C
New York, NY 10009

ZUM SCHNEIDER’S MONTAUK
4 S Elmwood Ave
Montauk, NY 11954

Harvest

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.

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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.

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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.

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We tried some skirt steak too, which came on a bed of nicely dressed mixed greens.

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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.

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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.

Lamb Ribs:

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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.

Garlic Fries:

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Great herb and garlic flavor, crispy shoestring fast food style, which is just my cup of tea.

Seafood Bruscetta:

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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.

Skirt Steak:

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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.

Porterhouse:

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filet side:

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strip side:

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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:

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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:

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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:

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This thing is massive, even for two. Although I didn’t taste it, I am told it is amazing.

Cream Puffs:

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Huge cream puffs are filled with ice cream and topped with whipped cream and chocolate. Simple and delicious.

Honorable Mention: Appetite Killing Table Bread.

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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

Off the Block

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.

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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.

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OTB steaks

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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.

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OTB menu

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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…

OFF THE BLOCK
501 Montauk Hwy
Sayville, NY 11782

The Villager

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.

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I ordered the breakfast burger, which was topped with American cheese, bacon and a fried egg, served on a toasted English muffin.

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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.

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I will definitely be back here, and next time I will order properly at medium rare for my burger.

THE VILLAGER
262 Deer Park Ave
Babylon, NY 11702

Fire Island Shave Ice

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:

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Look at the size of this medium!

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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