For more than seven decades, the chefs at Maria's Restaurant have sated Sheepshead Bay residents with traditional Italian dishes and casual ambiance. Their antipastos creations, both hot and cold, pave the way for pasta of many shapes and periodic weights––from penne alla vodka to tortellini carbonara––as well as authentic preparations of seafood, chicken, and veal. Broiled steaks and chops sizzle on the grill, and conversations simmer in the warm, soft light of the dining room.
At South Fin Grill, the ocean breeze mingles with a menu of upscale seafood and steakhouse dishes praised by New York magazine. Amid what critic Ethan Wolff describes as a "priceless" ocean view, servers roll out lobster, crab, swordfish, and salmon incarnated as pasta, soup, and sushi dishes. The "turf" portion of the menu showcases grilled new york sirloin, filet mignon, and barbecued pork, but the focus once again turns seaside at a raw bar that features clams and oysters kept fresh by pearl-shaped breath mints.
Beams of blue and yellow lighting hover above the interior dining tables, each blanketed with a white tablecloth and centered with a flickering candle. Outside, the ocean deck's sea-blue umbrellas shelter views of the boardwalk, ocean, and seagull beach volleyball tourneys. The restaurant bolsters its elegantly plated cuisine with occasional entertainment acts, which have included DJs.
Named for a type of plane tree with a broad, sprawling crown, Chinar on the Island shelters diners in a space designed to look like a breezy Mediterranean courtyard. Sandstone archways and clusters of palms surround diners as they tuck into appetizers, such as fresh mussels and saffron shrimp, or point out which of the clouds painted on the ceiling are shaped most like fried calamari.
For the main meal, shareable kebab plates skewer grilled meats and veggies, and pilaf dishes steam tender rice with spices and vegetables in a tangine, or earthenware pot. Hearty traditional dishes, such as roast quail or lamb slow-cooked on the bone, can fill bellies or weigh down brass display vessels commandeered for impromptu rounds of shot put.
Specializing in authentic Greek cuisine, Agnanti proffers the traditional tastes of Astoria’s rich Hellenes community with tender seafood, piquant appetizers, and bold entrees that incorporate a flourish of Turkish influence. Satisfy herbivores with fasolia plaki, oven-baked lima beans with vegetables and herbs ($6), or please pescatarians with baccalao skordalia, fried codfish with garlic mashed potatoes ($9). Meaty specialties include pastroumali, thinly sliced pieces of dried, pressed beef combined with cheese and wrapped in a flaky phyllo pastry onesie ($9), and yogurtlu kebab, savory patties of ground meat served on pita bread with yogurt and tomato sauce ($11).
Despite our shared history and ocean coasts, there are a lot of English foods that sound more foreign to American ears than even the traditional dishes of India, Mexico, and Japan. But at ChipShop, guests can finally taste English favorites such as bangers and mash, treacle pudding, and steak-and-kidney pie with a side of chips. The chefs separate their menu into three broad categories—different styles of fish ‘n’ chips, varieties of shepherd’s pies, and puddings—with each dish showing off regional flavors, such as the Welsh rarebits or Scotch egg salads. Guests can eat their fill in the English-themed pub, or take the food to go to experience the culture of both New York and England at once without convincing the Statue of Liberty to accompany you to London.
Over a plate of fresh Maine lobster that they brought back to the city themselves, husband-and-wife duo Ralph Gorham and Susan Povich wondered aloud, “Why doesn’t someone in New York start a fresh-seafood business?” Their destiny as restaurateurs was realized the moment those words were uttered: they opened Red Hook Lobster Pound a mere six months later. Gorham began traveling to Maine every weekend, scoping out catches and making deals with fisherman, choosing only those that partook in environmentally sustainable practices. Meanwhile, Povich experimented with recipes in order to add to an already lengthy repertoire of lobster-based recipes she learned while growing up in the Northeast. Word of mouth helped spark interest in their eatery, and before long, the demand compelled them to expand their storefront to include a picnic-style dining room. They’ve even added a food truck––nicknamed "Big Red"––that brings lobster-based dishes to diners across the city.
According to The New York Times, success has had little effect on Red Hook Lobster Pound’s menu: “It tastes as fresh as can be, which matters when you’re dealing with a trend that’s growing so fast.” Their lobster rolls—served on split-top buns and garnished with just enough homemade mayo—have been lauded by Zagat, Bloomberg News, and Gourmet.com. Other popular dishes include lobster bisque, lobster mac-n-cheese, and a lobster dinner, served with homemade coleslaw, potato salad, and fresh, lake-caught corn.