Every seat inside Canterbury's Oyster Bar & Grill gives diners the feeling they’re sitting inside a special kind of time capsule. That’s because all the surrounding walls are covered with historical photographs of Oyster Bay’s history. Because the restaurant has been around for more than 30 years, this reverence for the past turns meals into a timeless experience; diners may even eat some of the same oyster dishes that originally made the area a haven for seafood lovers. Guests will find the menu full of signature ocean treats, from raw and baked oysters done in myriad preparations to seafood towers that combine the likes of lobster, tuna sashimi, and other delicacies into shareable feasts. Filet mignon and parmesan-crusted chicken get all the same careful attention in the kitchen as the seafood, with careful presentations and bedtime stories every night.
Chef Ricardo Cardona might be from El Salvador, but that doesn’t mean his cooking sticks to tradition. At Mamajuana Café, he draws on more than 25 years of cooking to build his modern cuisine on a foundation of his homeland’s centuries-old cooking traditions. And it seems like his efforts have paid off: his Nuevo Latino dishes, which also prominently feature Dominican flavors, earned the eatery a Critics’ Pick designation from New York magazine. All that attention might be on account of the chef’s inventive flavor combinations, such as sweet plantains stuffed with salted cod, chicken-tempura sushi rolls, and Cornish game hen topped with diced chorizo and lobster. In the dining space, tufted leather banquettes run along the wall just beneath studio lighting and backlit artwork. Bright red and earth-tone curtains give the room a clublike vibe, which set the tone for when diners take to the dance floor between courses.
A close look at the truffle selection tells you that XO Restaurant • Wine & Chocolate Lounge walks the tightrope between classic tastes and reinvention. Seated near the upstairs fireplace, you can sample a set of housemade chocolate truffles in classic milk, dark, and white variants, or nibble truffles dressed up as childhood treats such as oreos and s'mores. Alongside indulgent fondues, these desserts lend sweetness to the romantic atmosphere of the lounge, where live music plays every Friday and Saturday night.
Downstairs, the scene swings to a chic, brick-lined restaurant. The same spirit of experimentation is present in the menu, though: lobster pot pie, lamb and feta burgers, and flatbreads with toppings of fig and prosciutto are just a few of the kitchen's elegantly plated New American dishes. Wines have been sorted into flavor profiles such as "full-bodied and robust," saving patrons the trouble of asking each bottle for a character reference.
The Massa family can trace its roots back to two New York pizza legends?both of whom are named Patsy. One, Patsy Grimaldi, founded the famous Grimaldi's in Brooklyn. The other, Patsy Lancieri, was responsible for Patsy's of East Harlem. Given these connections, it's no surprise that the Massas have a knack for the pizza business. They've been serving their signature pies since 1933, and today, they bake each of them inside a coal-fueled oven at temperatures upwards of 900 degrees.
Atop regular, whole-wheat, or gluten-free dough, chefs add toppings such as meatballs and arugula. They also assemble a handful of specialty pizzas, crowned with everything from caramelized onions to whole chopped clams. Items like eggplant parmesan and pepperoni chips round out the menu, complemented by wine, beer, and after-dinner cappuccinos.
At Vitae Restaurant & Wine Bar, executive chef Keith Davidson puts a contemporary spin on continental fare from filet mignon to crab-crusted sole. Davidson's appetizers in particular have an international flair?beef tenderloin medallions come with hand-stretched tandoori naan, and flash-fried calamari is glazed with sweet Thai pepper.
At Vitae's opening in 2011, a reviewer from the New York Times praised both the "tender baby back ribs," brushed with house-made black-coffee barbecue sauce, and the "elegant" ambiance, enhanced by the soft glow of recessed lighting and hanging lamps. Stored behind an onyx-amber bar and in a 1,400-bottle cellar, an extensive wine selection earned the Huntington eatery a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2014.
The menu at Frank's Pizza & Restaurant is divided into stripes of red, white, and green, emulating the Italian flag while collecting dishes from across the country. Chicken marsala arrives as an entree with a dinner salad or tops a thin-crust pizza, tossed from traditional, whole-wheat, or gluten-free dough. The kitchen also presses broccoli rabe paninis, tosses linguine with fried calamari, and nods to American cuisine with chicken fingers and a collection of domestic beers.