Bobby Carmosino's first memories of cooking and eating are all tied to his mother, whose love of crafting food won competitions held by Macy's and Bloomingdale's. As head chef at Solé, he channels her influences into updated recipes such as the braciola—his father's favorite dish—a pork tenderloin wrapped around mozzarella, prosciutto, and spinach. The shrimp limoncello, one of his proudest creations, blends creamy risotto with tart citrus, demonstrating the fresh flavors that earned Solé's menu an overall rating of extraordinary from Zagat. Served in a comfortable, casual room with walls the color of buttercups, diners enjoy these made-from-scratch meals alongside fish specials so popular, many customers order them sight unseen, according to general manager Dennis Durdaller.
Aromas of broiling cheeses, roasting lamb, and baking spinach pies have filled Taste of Greece's dining area for more than 35 years, during which chefs haven't altered a single authentic recipe. Inside the restaurant, servers glide under arched white doorways, delivering plates of gyros, stuffed grape leaves, and kebabs. For dessert, patrons can dig into rice pudding or arrange pieces of honey-soaked baklava into chess openings atop blue tablecloths.
For 25 years, Long Island's crew has made bagels using an old-fashioned water-kettle approach, purveying the doughy treats well beyond their breakfast boundaries. A menu of breakfast edibles urges early eaters to slather an assortment of hand-rolled, freshly baked bagels ($0.90)—in varieties including poppy, onion, cinnamon raisin, and oat bran—with their choice of up to 17 creamy toppers ($1.75+) including vegetable, chocolate chip, and roasted garlic and herb. Coffee ($1.45+/12 oz.) gives nerves the jolt that early-morning fire breathing fails to provide, and french toast lightens spirits when drizzled in streams of liquefied giggles ($5.50). Lunch options allow midday munchers to fill their food processors with dishes including the Bubbalicious ($6.79)—made with fried chicken cutlets, melted mozzarella, bacon, and spicy barbecue sauce, all piled on top of a bagel—or the more heart-heartening bagel-embedded tuna fresco salad ($6.49).
Cinelli's its menu of traditional Italian eats with an assortment of locally and organically grown ingredients. Broccoli rabe and melted fontina cheese ornament an appetizer of grilled beefsteak tomatoes ($7), piquing appetites and inspiring innovative Christmas-tree-decoration ideas. Chefs cover a plethora of 12-inch piada flatbreads with grilled chicken and fresh mozzarella ($8) or breaded and fried eggplant ($8). Black-tiger shrimp, string beans and sun-dried tomatoes tossed in garlic and oil brodetto slumber on a vegetable-infused risotto bed ($16), and 12-inch thin-crusted artisan pizzas topped with a variety of meats, cheeses, and veggies ($10+) nourish feasters in groups of two or three.
For the past two decades, Steinberg’s Kosher Bake Shop has crafted kosher bakery treats along with comforting Jewish delicacies. All sweet vittles are made on location, including babka just like Bubbe’s ($7), mouthwatering meltaways ($7.25), and New York’s famous knishes ($1.75). Indulge in an array of cheesecake flavors ($9 each), or keep it healthy between desserts by visiting the made-to-order salad bar ($6/salad). Select sugar-free goods are available, carefully prepared by raising a wooden spoon to part the batter and mix in a pinch of sucrose-free pixie dust. With a friendly staff, newly renovated store, and plentiful coffee bar, Steinberg's combines the warmth of a family kitchen with the convenience of an urban café.
When putting together his edible art, Unique Oceanside’s chef Andy Yang uses seafood-preparation methods from around the world, be it for his hot and cold tapas or for his sushi and European-style entrees. “It is hardly the only place around that mixes sushi and Japanese standards with Western dishes. … But Unique does it very well,” says Joanna Starkey in her New York Times review. Starkey particularly praises Yang’s crispy lobster dish, a pairing of Maine lobster with phyllo dough, as a small plate ideal for sharing.
Even main dishes such as duck confit and wasabi-bedecked chilean sea bass cannot escape his creative touches, which also extend to his sushi rolls. Chef Yang’s Monkey Jump roll tucks tuna in with sweet mango and fiery jalapeño and his Scottish Goat roll wraps Scottish salmon with creamy goat cheese for a flavor named after what was once the country’s biggest dance craze.