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.
There’s love in Fanny Cakes: love for baking, love for surprising the tongue, and love for family. As a young girl, chef Kristyn spent long days baking alongside her nana, Fanny. Those hours spent in flour and those moments waiting by the oven planted seeds in Kristyn that sprouted into a passion for baking and, eventually, the start of Fanny Cakes—named in honor of the woman who inspired her. Kristyn now relies on formal culinary training as well as the lessons learned from her nana while she crafts personalized treats for birthday parties, wedding receptions, and everything in between. She pays further homage to her nana as she works by using the sorts of ingredients Fanny loved—sweet creamery butter, belgian chocolate, and natural citrus zests—but finds inventive and eye-catching ways to showcase their flavors.
The fondant-draped tiers of Kristyn's full-size cakes conceal flavorful fillings such as lime curd or coconut custard. Cupcakes also feature inspired combinations, such as strawberry daiquiri with rum-spiked buttercream and snickerdoodle with a dusting of graham crackers and cinnamon sugar. Even with all of these flavors speaking for themselves, Kristyn still commits to presentation, designing cakes shaped like everything from a Gulfstream jet to an electric guitar. She also expands her menu beyond traditional bakery offerings by creating treats such as grown-up cake shots with doses of liqueur and cupcake push pops in plastic cylinders. She even shares her techniques with the public by leading classes that teach students how to decorate cupcakes without covering them in old two-cent stamps.