Not even Hurricane Sandy could stop Rachel?s Waterside Grill from treating its guests to feasts of fresh seafood. One year after the devastating storm, the completely refurbished cafe dishes up sandwiches, salads, and hearty brunches and breakfasts made with locally acquired ingredients, earning praise from regulars and awards from regional chambers of commerce.
The waterfront eatery?voted Best Seafood on Long Island in the Long Island Press's Best of LI in 2011, 2012, and 2013?hooks up its customers with delicious, fresh-from-the-sea catches, like a dating service for mermen. Cooks simmer these seafoods in housemade sauces and speckle them atop veggie-laden plates. An indoor seating area treats guests to a painted seascape, while the expansive, heated seaside deck regales al fresco diners with the real thing.
A resurrection of Al B. White’s 1939’s vaudeville landmark, the “new” Retro Lounge serves up a menu courtesy of executive chef Nilka Hendricks, best known for her work on season seven of Fox’s Hell’s Kitchen. Chef Hendricks' diverse array of palette-pleasing dinner dishes ranges from the grilled rib-eye steak rubbed with jamaican jerk seasoning ($23) to the zesty shrimp and crab enchiladas with saffron rice and a lobster bisque sour cream sauce ($14). At lunch, guests can build their own sandwiches from more than 50 different fillings culled from beasts of the land, sea, air, and soil ($4.25–$5.25), or gobble up a slew of salads ($6–$7.50) or gourmet paninis such as the Brooklyn Avenue, with veggies slathered in goat cheese, olive tapenade, and balsamic-honey ($6.75).
Since 1988, diners have been struggling to decide whether Nautilus Cafe’s artfully plated dishes or its waterfront views are more pleasing to the eye. Today, Chef Brian Crofton and Chef de Cuisine Edwin Segovia continue the restaurant’s tradition of serving both classic preparations of prime steaks and maine lobsters, and their innovative twists garnered an OpenTable Diner’s Choice win for seafood in 2011. In the kitchen, they swathe tilapia in a macadamia crust and top it with champagne beurre blanc and mango salsa, and they roast long island duckling before serving it with a port-wine raspberry sauce. The chefs host two-for-one Lobsterfest every Monday and Steak Night every Wednesday, where diners pair boneless prime rib or a veal porterhouse chop with Brooklyn beer or a Grey Goose martini. If you look quickly at the dining room, you might be fooled into thinking you’re on a docked ship. Large, square windows tilt slightly to the outside of the restaurant, where Woodcleft Canal’s boats are docked and on display, and wooden booths call to mind a captain’s salon without the usual Popeye calendar. Wooden beams travel the length of the ceiling to the bar, where glasses swell with wines from California, France, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, and Germany.
Sleek design elements rule the dining room at Sazon Domincano, fostering a casual, contemporary atmosphere with glossy panes of black and white. This emphasis on artistry and comfort extend to the Latin American menu, as well. Chefs craft each dish with care and an artful eye, whether they're assembling Cuban sandwiches, curing a medley of seafood in citrus juices for the ceviche, or speckling stews with bright bell peppers. They keep their primary focus on Caribbean fare, but also draw influences from South America, Central America, and Spain, making everything from empanadas to paella. They take a similarly eclectic approach to the dessert menu, concluding meals with the likes of Spanish flan, three leches, and strawberry milkshakes.
The savory aroma of grilled chicken lingers in the air of Austin Grilled Chicken as chefs marinate birds in juices, herbs, and spices for 48 hours before tossing them on the grill. They cobble together local ingredients into poultry-based dishes such as chicken pot pies and grilled-chicken salads, and sides such as coleslaw, potato salad, and mashed potatoes, which are all made from scratch daily. Diners can sup at an abundance of tabletops scattered about the vibrant pink-and-yellow, casual eatery, or opt for takeout service to feast within the comforts of home or a kiddie pool filled with dipping sauce.