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.
For four decades, Benkert’s Classic Delicatessen has been loading patrons with ample portions from a menu of breakfast eats, salads, sandwiches, and hot-lunch dishes. Customers can jump start their day with two eggs any style ($2.50) while gulping complimentary coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and surfing the free WiFi on a free wireless surfboard. For midday breaks, specialty salad sandwiches cover beds of bread in quilts of egg ($4.25) and shrimp ($6.25) salad. Gourmet wraps and sandwiches ($6.95) include the Fat Tony, packed with six cold cuts, mozzarella, peppers, greens, and vinaigrette, and protected by a hero bun toasted for its noble deeds. Hot sandwiches such as the barbecue chicken ($5.75) are hearty enough to scare away the most intimidating hunger hauntings. Accessorize entrees with sides of mac 'n' cheese ($4.99/lb.) or mozzarella sticks ($3.99), and cross the finish line with a sweet slice of pound cake ($1.95).
At each Tropical Smoothie Cafe location, healthy choices abound with drinks consisting of fresh fruit and snacks loaded with veggies and premium meats and cheeses. The café’s colorful repertoire of smoothies runs the gamut from creamy, dessert-based indulgent creations to light and refreshing low-fat fruit options or frosty drinks boosted with supplements. Strawberries, bananas, and peaches mingle with exotic açaí and goji berries to form mouthwatering concoctions designed to deliver health-boosting antioxidants, essential nutrients and laser-vision-inducing vitamins. Drinks pair with ciabatta and griddled flatbread during breakfast and lunch, as well as with made-to-order salads and a host of wraps and sandwiches.