Taught to cook by his mother, Raymunda (who can often be found manning the stove), executive chef Roberto Herrera transforms ingredients from countries such as Honduras, Colombia, and his native El Salvador into the lively, authentic dishes of La Casa Latina’s dinner menu. As nighttime gets underway, pupusas—handmade corn tortillas stuffed with cheese, beans, or pork—whet appetites in preparation for main courses. A favorite on the menu, the shell steak stars in the Honduran platter alongside a fried egg, beans, plantains, and avocado. Such cuisine has even attracted the praise of the New York Times, and since then, the restaurant has expanded to include a full bar, three 55-inch televisions, and an extensive tapas menu.
Imbued with the colors of a sunset, a mirrored ribbon of tile skirts along the walls, reflecting smiles and alternate realities. In the kitchen, Herrera wields 20 years of culinary experience while dazzling guests in La Casa Latina's dining room and serving meals to seniors via the social-service agency Services Now for Adult Persons, Inc.
Trained at the La Varenne culinary school in Paris, Galleria Ristorante’s owner and executive chef, James Mollitor, whips up platefuls of authentic Italian fare served atop snow-white linens in an elegant dining room replete with dark wood furniture. Entice palates with a complimentary amuse bouche to prep for the culinary voyage ahead. Landlubbing tummies sprout sea legs with the suprema ai frutti di mare’s assortment of clams, fresh fish, calamari, shrimp, and diving-bell-clad mussels adrift in an ocean of linguine ($34.50). The pollo quattro funghi ($21.50) gilds chicken in a sauce composed of shiitake, porcini, oyster, and butter mushrooms, and the 14-ounce serving of broiled filet mignon ($34) arrives perfectly prepared to each guest’s desires, be it well done, rare, or dipped in molten gold. On Friday and Saturday nights, a dexterous pianist manually extracts tunes from a baby grand piano as patrons serenade sweet teeth with a dulcet treat, such as a ricotta cheesecake ($7) washed down with sips of a complimentary postprandial digestif.
Indecisive appetites will be sated by the selection of breakfast, burgers, pasta, and more at Post Ave Cafe. Like putting a grocery-store conveyor belt in a pair of tights and sending it on a world-saving mission, the overstuffed hot heroes—including the potato and egg ($7.25) or the shrimp parmigiana ($8.95)—burst with a lineup of ingredients. The Greek burger sandwiches hunger with a 6-ounce beef patty topped by feta cheese and tomatoes on an English muffin with Greek salad, coleslaw, and pickles ($8.95). The pasta-with-seafood combination hooks a meal-worthy menagerie of mussels, clams, and shrimp splashed in a garlic-and-white-wine sauce, just like bringing seasoning to the local aquarium ($16.95). The meat averse can cut their teeth on a veggie whole-wheat wrap, stuffed with grilled broccoli, spinach, onions, mushrooms, and pesto sauce before leafing through a tossed salad ($8.95), and breakfast visitors are treated to Uncle Vinny's favorite omelette, an egg amalgamation of sausage, bacon, and American cheese flanked by a short stack of pancakes ($8.95).
Elegance and comfort merge at Mio Posto, where white-linen-covered tables stand beneath a wall-mounted flat-screen TV. Here, the chefs whip up Italian specialties served family style, encouraging groups to share the heaping portions, or do what families do, and hoard them until it's time to read the will. The menu teems with traditional Italian entrees made from both housemade and imported pastas and sauces, including chicken marsala, veal sorrentino, and eggplant parmagiana. While dining, guests unwind to backdrop of live music on Wednesday–Fridays at both Hicksville and Oceanside locations.
Frank's Steaks has all the respectable hallmarks of an old-school steak house: white table cloths, neatly folded napkins, and dim lighting setting the mood. But then there are the crayons. They aren't there to keep kids busy—they're there so inspired diners of all ages can scrawl art onto the butcher paper atop each table. The most compelling works are framed and hung on the walls of the establishment, a fitting goal for diners to strive for when waiting for their mouthwatering steaks to arrive.
The signature Romanian skirt steak is certainly worth putting a crayon down for—the tender, juicy cut comes dripping in a marinade of garlic and duck sauce. A 42-ounce porterhouse, meanwhile, easily satisfies two diners or two medium-sized tanks of piranhas. Desserts also come in generous proportions, featuring smooth sorbets, triple-layer chocolate cake, and ice-cream pies.
The chefs at Ayhan’s Trodos Mediterranean Restaurant lace a soupçon of contemporary flair into an Eastern Mediterranean menu of traditional dishes from Turkey, Greece, Israel, and Cyprus. Diners can warm fingers on a gooey mozzarella and feta saganaki melt ($9), or embrace autumn’s arrival by vaulting into a raked pile of rice-stuffed grape leaves ($7). A lamb-kebab platter ($19) conducts skewer symphonies, drumming up medallions of char-grilled lamb alongside a chorus of hot basmati rice. Fix fangs and fish hooks into succulent cuts of Greece-born branzini ($26) or strap on snorkels when submerging into the Mediterranean-seafood feast’s ($25) fragrant lochs of lemon-garlic-butter sauce, which buoy a tender mélange of salmon, shrimp, and sea scallops.
Cozymels' lengthy menu beaches mouths on the coast of Old Mexico with authentic flavors from the non-central locales of America's savory southern neighbor. Get acclimated to the restaurant's food ocean by starting with a traditional sampler—chicken nachos, spinach-mushroom quesadillas, and crispy chicken flautas with guacamole, jalepeños, pico de gallo, and sour cream ($12). An entree of enchiladas los cabos prolongs your taste buds' beach party with two enchiladas stuffed with sautéed shrimp, lump crab, and cheese, then topped with poblano cream ($14). Otherwise, keep it peninsular with the Yucatán especial (shrimp and scallops sautéed with spinach, red onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and poblano chilis, topped with creamy Cancun sauce and served over Yucatán rice; $16) or venture into the spicy heart of flavor country with homestyle carne asada, a 10-ounce grilled skirt steak topped with spicy rajas mix, cheese, spicy gaujillo chili sauce, and served with Yucatán rice, refritos, and Mexican potatoes ($17). If your appetite is still struggling against the waves of savory flavors at the end of your meal, finish it off by running it over with a Cozy Cadillac margarita (Cazadores Silver, Cointreau, sweet and sour, and fresh lime; $11).