Sushi Ichi Japanese Restaurant's seasoned chefs recruit fresh fish and sticky morsels of rice to build a menu stacked with more than 50 types of maki rolls. The culinary team fills seaweed-wrapped cylinders with predetermined combinations of snow crab, tuna, and salmon, as well as custom-builds sushi rolls to incorporate diners' favorite ingredients. Thai and Chinese dishes also abound and include classics such as spicy kung pao chicken, shrimp pad thai, and green and red curries flanked by rich coconut rice.
At The Curry Club—voted Long Island Press' Best Indian Restaurant of 2010—a Zagat-rated menu boasts dishes prepared by restaurateurs with culinary experience in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres. A handful of tikka masalas are studded with shrimp, salmon, chicken, or tofu, and kebabs are served on platters that sizzle and steam like volcanic Pop Rocks. More than 40 curries fall into six categories, from the West Indian–inspired vindaloo, to the richer, creamy consistency of Korma-style concoctions.
Pepperheads Hotsauces stockpiles over 800 tongue-searing hot sauces, rubs, and marinades that inject bursts of heat and flavor into savory dishes. A top seller, Black Mamba hot sauce ($32.99/6 oz.) culls chocolate habañero peppers and capsaicin extracts to craft a viscous spice said to approach several million Scoville units, the scale that measures spicy heat by weighing tasters' shed tears. Pure powder of jolokia ghost pepper, reputed by the February 2007 Guinness Book of World Records to be the hottest chili pepper on the planet, cater to pyrotechnic cooks craving to create their own rubs or sauces ($29.95/48 grams).
Rolling Pin Bake Shop houses a veritable cornucopia of tarts, cookies, pastries, and other handmade goods. The bakery––highlighted by the Food Network's Rachael Ray and E!'s Whose Wedding Is It Anyway?–– is manned by David Dombroff, a 15-year veteran with a degree in sweet, sweet satisfaction from the Culinary Institute of America. Stop by the cozy bakery and scarf down some scones (three for $1) while chatting with the attentive shop keep. If you don't want to gobble your goods in house, you can always order an eye-catching occasion cake ($18+) for real-world consumption. Born from the hands of caring chefs, these creations are laden with moist sponge cake and loaded with fresh fruit and other palate-tickling treats.
The walk up to Wave Seafood Kitchen's doors alone can awaken an appetite for baked clams and jumbo shrimp cocktails. The restaurant is housed inside Danfords Hotel & Marina, which sits on the edge of the Long Island Sound. Views of the water surround guests both outside and in the dining room, where flickering candles illuminate plates of fresh seafood. Soft piano music in the lounge completes the laid-back, beachy ambiance.
The setting, however, only serves as a starter for frequently changing menus of sea- and land-sourced dishes. Lobster saffron risotto might share table space with country fried chicken, served with a buttermilk waffle; fine cheese could be paired with oven-roasted whole fish. On Sundays, the floor transforms into an all-you-can-eat brunch with smoked salmon and just-caught cinnamon rolls. In addition to American cuisine, the white-spread tables become canvases for local and international wines, beers, and craft cocktails inspired by seasonal flavors.
In the 19th century, the North Shore’s salty breezes, rocky beaches, and elegant estates drew New York City’s elite out of their Manhattan apartments and into the captivating towns of what was to be called the Gold Coast. The remnants of this storied past still stand and the shore breezes still blow, as diners at Bliss Restaurant enjoy what Zagat deemed “creative American cuisine with a French twist”. Guests seated on the blooming outdoor patio swirl the ice in their seasonal cocktails, dine on baked brie and seared diver sea scallops, and listen to the melodic strumming of a live musician. Other menu items include pignoli-nut-crusted red snapper, half-roasted chicken with wild mushroom sauce, and banana and chipotle-braised short ribs, which can all be paired with sides such as chive and brie mashed potatoes or kielbasa and sauerkraut. Inside the restaurant, diners enjoy candle-lit tables with white table clothes and dark wood accents. It’s a contemporary ambiance that, like the Gold Coast, harkens back to a time of romance and refinement.