Adding the right seasonings can make or break a meal, and no one knows that better than Jeff Bacchas. So when the native of Negril, Jamaica, opened his Long Island eatery, he named it Spices Negril Restaurant & Lounge. The menu is a tribute to the power of a little creative spicing. The popular jerk chicken wings are marinated and saut?ed in a blend of more than seven herbs and spices, and a goat dish gets its kick from being slow-cooked in a spicy curry sauce. Even the "rasta pasta"?penne with peppers, onion, and garlic?comes topped with blackened seasoning. Diners can balance their meals with a sweet island cocktail, such as the Peach Schnapps?based Jolly Jamaican.
Of course, the other way the restaurant spices up its meals is with live entertainment. The lounge hosts calypso and reggae performers throughout the week, including DJs and the reggae band Inner Roots.
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.