In 1997, Chef Hok Chin moved to New York City from Hong Kong, where he’d been in training with some of the city’s finest chefs since age 14. Though his culinary talents were already formidable, the ambitious young chef faced a hurdle he couldn’t simply spatula himself over: the English language. Undaunted, he headed back to work the humblest kitchen positions and scrabbled his way back to the top at establishments such as Tavern on the Green, The Mark Hotel, and most recently, La Caravelle. In 2010, the multinational gourmet teamed up with nightlife impresario Brian Rosenberg, and the duo’s new venture, Sugar Dining Den and Social Club, drove Joanne Starkey of the New York Times to rave, “The food is delicious—much better than it has to be—and the service is excellent.”
Something between a nightclub and a fine-dining establishment, Sugar immediately immerses its guests in a world of bright lights, pulsing beats, and an arrestingly modern architectural scheme that sets a decorative forest of tree branches beneath a looming vaulted ceiling. After a dinner of gourmet fusion cuisine, such as Pacific Rim skirt steak with green chili potatoes and hand-cut sweet potato fries with maple-chipotle barbecue sauce, the eating area transforms into a dance floor soundtracked by some of today’s most popular DJs. The cocktail list keeps the party rolling late into the night with charmingly titled offerings such as the Black and White Cookie and the Swedish Fish.
The chalkboard that wraps around the top of Vinoco's bar welcomes guests in five languages, no doubt a nod to its menu, which boasts tapas dishes and entrees representing Spanish, Italian, Greek, Pan-Asian, and Latin American flavors. The New York Times awarded the intimate eatery its top rating, raving that the selections are "head and shoulders above the usual tapas-bar clichés." Chef Carlos Roman—originally from Peru, according to the New York Times —prepares complexly flavored dishes such as rock-shrimp quesadillas with paprika, mango salsa, and monterey cheese. Taking cues from its food-bearing counterpart, the wine list culls nearly 50 varietals imported from Europe, Australia, and South America that can be purchased by the bottle, poured into glasses, or broken over an attractive guest's head to christen them as your new friend.
Prime Time Butcher still wraps cuts of fresh meat in charming paper parcels. Owned by the same family for more than 30 years, the shop ages cuts of Prime beef, from chopped sirloin to london broil, in Prime Time's dry coolers alongside USDA Choice cuts such as standing rib roast. The shop's Bliss Burger patties are conjured from a blend of ground brisket and short ribs.
Prime Time Butcher also stocks a cornucopia of prepared foods, such as beef lasagna and beef-stuffed cabbage, or classic sandwich fillings such as genoa salami and Boar's Head bologna. Customers can custom-order catering and party packages to feed hungry partiers with entrees such as chicken marsala and eggplant parmesan, sides of teriyaki rice and house-made potato chips, and platters of cookies that disguise Cookie Monster's jury summons.
The warm earth tones at Mim's set the stage for the elegant yet comfortable menus of New American bistro cuisine. Mim's has been part of Roslyn for over 15 years, and part of Syosset for over 30. Both locations are open for lunch and dinner, and feature a wide variety of starters and entrees to accommodate diners of many preferences?including gluten-free. After meals, browse the menu of housemade desserts before digging spoons into classics like bananas foster or a Mim's dessert sampler that includes a trio of signature sweets.
Within Willy Parkers, cherry-colored wood tables and chairs invite diners to sit and feast upon a menu of classic American fare that spotlights local seafood, high-end cuts of meat, and free-range chicken. In 2011, the New York Times lauded chef Eric Engvaldsen's recently revamped menu, highlighting his cooked-to-order burgers, steamed mussels, and house-crafted desserts. As diners sup on Eric's eye-catching dinner dishes or peruse the late-night bar menu, an extensive beer list calms thirsts with plentiful hops and gently whispered bedtime stories.
Seafood plays a starring role on the menu at Murphy's Lobster Grill. There's the raw bar for starters, where fresh oysters and littleneck clams await on a bed of ice, or the appetizer menu, which stokes tastebuds with crocks of velvety lobster bisque or buttermilk-battered calamari. Whole steamed lobsters, meanwhile, arrive solo or paired with grilled Angus strip, while snow crab legs are simmered in a savory garlic and oil sauce. The chefs even add seafood to classic pub grub, creating dishes like lobster mac and cheese and seafood pot pies.
Given the briny bounty of eats, it's hardly surprising that Murphys shows its aquatic pride with nautical-themed d?cor, from walls bedecked with fishing nets and oars, to stuffed fish purchased from Poseidon's rummage sale. Of course, there's more than just decorations to ogle?a number of big screen TVs are conveniently mounted above the bar for those who want to catch the game while digging into the catch of the day.