Water laps at a freshly renovated wooden deck, drowned out by the chatter of diners seated beneath umbrellas. This oceanfront setting inspires the sea-blue tablecloths and nautical theme of the dining room at Michael's Porthole, as well as the eatery's menu of locally sourced seafood. Chefs crown their lobster paella with subaqueous morsels such as shrimp, clams, and mussels, but are sure to pick out any accidentally netted triathletes. Diners can cool their palates with frozen hurricane cocktails blended at one of two bars. At the bars and in the dining room, TVs broadcast NFL games, and live musicians play on the weekends.
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.
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.
Whether you like your sushi raw and spicy or the exact opposite, Wasabi Sushi's chef has a special creation ready to make for you. The large menu of special rolls breaks it down by raw/spicy; raw/not spicy; and non-raw/not spicy—just to alleviate any confusion. For the raw/not spicy personality type, there's a Miracle roll, with salmon and avocado topped with mango, tobiko, and mango sauce. Spice seekers can go for a Toyota roll, with spicy crunch tuna and mango topped with shrimp and spicy sauce.
But there's still more to be had than the specialty sushi. The menu also includes a large selection of sashimi à la carte, hand rolls, and tempura or teriyaki dinners. For lunch, try a grownup lunch box packed with pad thai, a california roll, salad, rice, and miso soup.