The heat from a brick fireplace rises up toward Black Forest Brew Haus's vaulted ceilings, mingling with the warmth from knotted Bavarian-style pretzels and wiener schnitzel. Her arms laden skillfully with an impressive number of full steins, a German woman looks down from a wall mural accented by the nation?s red, black, and gold flag. The painting shows the entire process of brewing, from sun-soaked fields to brass kettles.
The eatery?s brewmasters recreate this process themselves, stirring batches of wheat and boiling water to forge hefeweizen, an unfiltered, honey-hued beer thick with notes of orange and other fruit. The bartenders also pour house-made pilsner and imperial stouts, all forged according to the German tradition of using water, yeast, hops, and grain (and others flavors depending upon the beer). During warm weather, the brimming glasses click together in the beer garden beneath a crimson canopy.
With sweeping views of Bethpage State Park Golf Course, the idyllic setting of the 2009 U.S. Golf Open Championship, Taste 99 at Carlyle on the Green matches its majestic surrounds with an ornate interior and a versatile menu of upscale American eats. Chef Phil Abshire updates classic steakhouse fare with exotic flavors and creative fish dishes, taking care to balance his tasty innovations with reverence to simple, expertly seared steaks. His culinary feats are enjoyed in a grandiose dining space marked by cream-colored walls, ceiling beams, and a portrait of the inventor of golf, Tiger Woods. When the sun decides to smile upon earth creatures, diners can plop into outdoor patio seating and sip a glass of wine from the restaurant’s extensive list.
"Saying a panino is just a sandwich is like saying a Lamborghini is just a car," says La Bottega owner Giuseppe Ruta. His passion for the Italian dish runs deep, and because it's one he shares with his wife, Marisa, they opened a panini shop in Long Island in 2003. More than a decade later, La Bottega now boasts nearly 60 paninis, ranging from a roasted portobello with mozzarella to a meaty Nycom with grilled chicken and Parma ham. Many of the paninis can be prepared gluten-free, rounding out a separate menu that also includes 15 gourmet salads. And it's clear that their food is a hit, as they've expanded to 14 La Bottega locations, including one in their home country of Italy, where paninis can be purchased with more paninis.
The cooks at Frankie's Eastside Pizza prepare all pies and pastas fresh daily, which is no small feat when you consider the massiveness of their menu. It includes more than 45 specialty pizzas alone, loaded with eclectic toppings that run the gamut from eggplant rollatini to sweet barbecue rum chicken. The culinary team even crafts pies with gluten-free crusts or in the classic Brooklyn style, where each slice is shaped like the letter B.
The rest of Frankie's menu encompasses plenty of Italian classics, from generous portions of chicken scampi to hearty servings of housemade lasagna. For more American appetites, cooks toss fries in Cajun seasoning, pile roast beef into heroes, and fill wraps with ingredients like honey maple turkey.
A display case of oven-fresh pizzas and savory side dishes greets diners when they approach the counter at Vincent's Pizzeria. The cooks bake dough in all shapes and sizes, selling slices or entire pies of Neapolitan, Sicilian-style, and deep-dish pizzas. Each cheesy canvas emerges from the oven with a layer of toppings from a selection of 12 meats and vegetables, which includes garlic, bacon, and spinach. Pizza eaters also have the option of customizing their pie-crusts with sesame, garlic, onion, poppy seeds, and salt, known as "The Edge." To lend a rustic touch to the pasta entrees, the cooks roll meatballs and simmer housemade tomato sauce over smoldering copies of Little House on the Prairie. Although the restaurant only holds a handful of tables in its dining area, it can also serve its customers by delivering orders to homes and catering special events.
Though Bud's Ale House lives up to its name—its locations boast up to 80 beer taps, more than 16 bottled varieties, and up to 60 televisions—this versatile eatery has something for everyone. As tasty brews pour from taps, including a daily special of $2 Bud and Bud Light drafts, bartenders deftly mix up top-shelf margaritas, colorful martinis, and classic cocktails. These adult libations wash down a hearty menu that spans the entire spectrum of American cuisine: habanero barbecue wings, steamed local clams, and meaty burgers are served up daily alongside gooey quesadillas and German-style bratwurst. Bud's desserts threaten to steal the spotlight, capping feasts with deep-fried Oreos and tangy key lime pie.