Upon entering the doors of Simple Smoothie Cafe, visitors are greeted by the sounds of lively chatter and whirring blenders. Though they regularly play host to real fruits, fresh juices, and tart yogurts, these blenders never see artificial syrups or added sugars. Blueberry, pineapple, and banana smoothies pair nicely with paninis that burst with homemade chicken salad, smoked turkey, and mozzarella cheese. In addition to the regular menu, a selection of made-from-scratch soups rotates with the speed of a slow-motion roulette wheel to showcase a new special daily.
Peppercorn Cafe is nothing if not cozy. At a wrap-around bar made of unpolished granite and waxed cherry wood, bartenders pour draft beer or cocktails as guests converse and watch football. Just around the corner from the lounge, diners gather around tables draped in white linen that brightens under torrents of natural light by day and softens under the wall sconces by night.
The homey family restaurant is the joint venture of two Long Islanders, and the menu reflects it. Executive Chef Dave Moritz sticks to the founders' North Atlantic roots with a menu filled with unconventional takes on New York seafood favorites. Pot pies, for example, come stuffed with lobster, and the crab cakes are served on cranberry scallion couscous—a break from the traditional method of serving them inside a grizzled sea captain's pipe. Little Neck clams mingle with chorizo on the appetizer menu, creating a segue into the turf portion of the menu, which includes braised beef short ribs and New York strip steak with crumbled gorgonzola.
Since Cafe Mambo's original location is in Paia, a little surfer town near Maui, Hawaii, it makes sense that their menu of sandwiches, salads, and crepes features a Hawaiian flair. The chefs dress up their sweet and savory crepes with ingredients such as fresh pineapple and ham and build Big Kahuna sandwiches with turkey, ham, gruyere, and dijonaise.
A coastal grill from the owners of Oar Steak and Seafood, Latitude 121 takes advantage of its location not far from Long Island Sound with a diverse seafood menu. In a review, the New York Times highly recommended the lobster pot pie and Chilean sea bass, but guests can also opt to go raw with a bevy of fresh clams, oysters, and tuna tartare. Just as the ocean's fish live peacefully alongside mermaids' pet turtles, Latitude 121's menu has more than just seafood. Filet mignon and angus beef burgers highlight the turf options, and desserts include scoops of Gifford's signature ice cream.
Founded by cousins Ruth and Cindy, Water Mill Cupcake Company greets customers with friendly smiles and a menu full of handmade treats. Each day, fresh eggs leap out of their shells into bowls brimming with organic sugar, unbleached flour, and butter straight from cows made of rainbows. Cylinder connoisseurs can acquire a quartet of cupcakes ($3 each), or experiment with more flavors by devouring the mini variety ($2 each). The devil’s food cupcake cuts a fiendish figure, dressed to the nines in gourmet chocolate and a cap of Madagascar–vanilla icing. Red velvet cupcakes laden with cocoa buttermilk give tasters the red carpet treatment, and a host of handmade frostings await spellbound taste buds, ranging from seasonal strawberry to vanilla maple syrup.