Latest Cheap Eats restaurant reviews
Price doesn't always equate to quality, and plenty of LI restaurants prove that point with their creative approaches, authenticity, quality ingredients and all those other factors that combine for a stellar meal.
Reviewer Joan Reminick is always on the hunt for a top-notch meal that comes with a low price tag. Here are the latest Cheap Eats restaurants she's reviewed; just click on the name of the eatery to read the full review.
Manka Peruvian Kitchen(Credit: Michael Falco)
Manka Peruvian Kitchen, Glen Cove: After getting a culinary degree and cooking at some of Manhattan's top dining destinations, Boris Torres has opened a restaurant that pays homage to the land of his birth and offers food highlighting his dual training as both architect and chef. Recommended: mixed seafood ceviche (pictured), octopus salad, chicken tamal, rotisserie chicken, tiradito of grilled shrimp and calamari, cold green mussels, lomo saltado with vegetables and strips of steak, pisco caliente cocktail with mango and rocoto peppers.
Magic Taco Corp(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Magic Taco Corp, Islip Terrace: With everything from steamed Asian buns to octopus tacos, this is anything but your average taqueria. Recommended: soft corn tortilla tacos with seared marinated tofu and scrambled eggs (pictured), steamed Chinese buns with hoisin barbecue sauce and seared flank steak, rice flour kimchee pancakes with pickled vegetables, banana pancakes.
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas, Garden City: There's no need to commit to a big meal at this offshoot of a New Jersey restaurant where there are plenty of options for sharing, plus interesting wines by the bottle and glass -- even a few on tap. Recommended: grilled marinated lamb chops (pictured); ricotta gnocchi with a wild boar ragout; bruschetta with watermelon, ricotta, fennel and fresh mint; funghi white pizza; psaghetti carbonara with bacon, peas and egg; apple crostata.
Crazy Beans(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Crazy Beans, Stony Brook: A cheerful cash-only spinoff of the Miller Place cafe, it serves over-the-top comfort food to customers amid whimsical decor. Recommended: head honcho sandwich (pictured, with grilled steak, fried onions and Cheddar), barbecue chicken quesadilla, cheesy biscuits (with scrambled eggs and sausage gravy), pulled pork panino, raisin scone.
Lemongrass Thai & Chinese Restaurant(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Like so many pan-Asian spots, Lemongrass Thai & Chinese Restaurant in Oceanside sets out to please just about everybody; what sets it apart, though, is fare that, more often than not, is as vibrant as it is comforting. Recommended: Chicken coconut soup, shu mai (shrimp dumplings), pork and vegetable dumplings, chicken with sticky rice, pad see yu (broad noodles with chicken), Panang curry with pumpkin, mango duck, Thai eggplant, moo goo gai pan, Thai coconut cake. (Pictured: pad thai with shrimp.)
Dori(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
The flavors of Korea are anything but shy. At Dori in Commack, they come through loud and clear, both in the classics and in a smattering of Chinese dishes with a Korean twist. On the menu: Korean wonton soup, seafood pajun, or scallion pancakes with clams, shrimp and squid, dolsot (hot stone) bibimbap (above), Szechuan seafood rice, and bulgogi, or thinly sliced grilled beef rib eye.
Massa's Coal-Fired Brick Oven Pizzeria(Credit: Bruce Gilbert)
Pizzaiolo Bill Massa, who used to own a pizzeria in Huntington Station, has opened Massa's Coal-Fired Brick Oven Pizzeria in Huntington. Recommended: The pies, including the white pizza with fresh mozzarella, scallions, pancetta, scamorza cheese and a hint of truffle oil (pictured) and Margherita with Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil.
Brixx & Barley(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
At Long Beach's cavernous and cacophonous new gastropub Brixx & Barley, chef and co-owner Frank Cammarata traffics in big flavors and big portions. Recommended: roasted porchetta hero (pictured, with broccoli rabe and provolone), "smashed meatball" pizza, wings tossed with caramelized onions and garlic, Grandma's eggplant, burgers (including the Brixx burger with fried onion, jalapeno and Cheddar), brisket sandwich, lobster roll, rigatoni Bolognese, house-made tiramisu.
Pho Maxia(Credit: Yana Paskova)
Long Island's diminutive Vietnamese restaurant scene is all the grander for the opening of Pho Maxia in Westbury. Recommended: banh mi sandwich (pictured, with grilled hash pork), pho, fried spring rolls lettuce rolls, beef and chicken satays, banh hoi tom nuong (with lemongrass-grilled shrimp), grilled pork chop on rice.
3 Brothers Cafe(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)
At 3 Brothers Cafe, a modestly appointed pizzeria-Italian restaurant in Farmingdale, you'll find two separate menus -- a conventional one, plus a vegan roster, which features dairy-free cheese substitutes and soy-based products in place of meat. Recommended: vegan bacon cheeseburger (pictured), vegan pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, rigatoni Siciliano, shrimp Francese.
Joe's Garage and Grill(Credit: Randee Daddona)
The car-themed Joe's Garage and Grill in Riverhead features a mini racetrack running above the bar and garage doors opening onto a patio; it's a culinary destination too thanks to chef Brian Burner, who cooks from scratch and slow-smokes on premises. Recommended: dry-rubbed St. Louis ribs (pictured), jalapeño-Cheddar biscuits, grilled shrimp over apple-wood bacon grits, Tokyo Drift sliders (steamed Asian buns enfolding pork belly), fried Blue Point oysters, pulled pork sandwich, burger, grilled chicken breast, s'mores chocolate mousse, wild berry pie.
Yevma Authentic Greek Cuisine(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
The ambitious Yevma Authentic Greek Cuisine in East Meadow features an attractive dining space and solid Greek cuisine. Recommended: taramasalata (whipped roe spread), grilled octopus, kalamakia (grilled pork), pikilia Kreaton (mixed grill), house made gyro, kormo (brandy-spiked chocolate cake).
Corazon de Cuba(Credit: Barbara Alper)
A bi-level restaurant with an array of specialties from from Cuban-born chef Oscar Juarez, Corazon de Cuba is new to Long Beach. Recommended: roast chicken (pictured), picadera Cubana (an appetizer plate with empanadas, ham croquettes, shrimp fritters, chicken wings and corn on the cob), grilled steak bocadillos, quesadillas de ropa vieja (with shredded of skirt steak), bacalaitos (codfish cakes), salpicon (seafood salad), Cuban sandwich, lechon asado (roast pork), dessert empanadas stuffed with rice pudding.
Red Ginger Asian Diner(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Though everything is made in-house, Red Ginger Asian Diner in East Northport is not a diner at all. Instead, the eatery occupies that largely unfilled niche between full-scale restaurant and takeout shop. Recommended: pad Thai (pictured, with chicken), spring rolls, hot and sour soup, wonton soup, chicken lettuce wraps, salt-and-pepper wings, Thai basil tofu and vegetables, black pepper shrimp, ginger broccoli steak, Thai fried rice.
Pico Tequila Grill(Credit: Heather Walsh)
Pico Tequila Grill in Bay Shore is a striking-looking Cal-Mex restaurant with an impressive roster of tequilas and beers. Recommended: "street" taco with carne asada (pictured), pork carnitas taco, ahi tuna tostadas, grilled "street" corn-on-the-cob, cranberry and walnut bread pudding.
Bahama Breeze Island Grille(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
In Lake Grove, Bahama Breeze Island Grille offers a corporate chain version of tropical paradise that draws crowds of all ages. Recommended: chicken empanadas (pictured), habanero chicken wings, mojito-marinated pulled pork, Key lime pie, "chocolate island" (chocolate mousse on a fudge brownie), red sangria.
GM Burger Bar(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
In Rockville Center, GM Burger Bar is part of the George Martin Restaurant Group. Recommended: burgers (including the the "not cho," pictured, topped with tortilla strips, pico de gallo, Cheddar Jack and jalapeño crema).
That Meetball Place(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
A lively spot with a bar and LI's first restaurant dedicated to the meatball, That Meetball Place is housed in a cavernous Patchogue space built with reclaimed wood and brick. Recommended: meatballs (including the classic beef, pork and veal, pictured, lobster risotto and Moroccan lamb), Cajun tomato bisque, veg-da-ball sandwich, risotto.
Mara's Too(Credit: Jeremy Bales)
An offshoot of Mara's Home Cooking in Syosset, Mara's Too in Wantagh serves up Southern cooking that's every bit as sassy as the original. Recommended: baby-back ribs (pictured), crawfish-stuffed baguette, okra chicken and andouille gumbo, gator bites, fried oyster po'boy, Southern fried chicken, Kentucky bluegrass pie (with bourbon, pecans and chocolate).
Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar(Credit: Nicole Horton)
New burger joint Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar at Walt Whitman in Huntington Station offers an industrial vibe and delicious Kobe beef. Recommended: burgers (pictured is the breakfast burger, with a with fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, avocado and American cheese), grilled chicken sandwich, zucchini "fries," hand-cut fries, chopped salad, chili, "bars of Zin" shake.
Chennai Dosas(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)
Chennai Dosas in Hicksville is a cheerful little eatery that can change the way you view lunch buffets, vegetarian eating and Southern cooking -- Southern Indian, that is. Recommended: lunch buffet (including utthapam pancakes, pictured) Kangipuram iddly (cream of rice cakes studded with chilies and cashews), bhel puri (puffed rice, crisped noodles), aloo chat (spicy boiled potato and chickpea salad).
Ideal Cheese & Wine Cafe(Credit: Nicole Horton)
Multitasking champ Ideal Cheese & Wine Cafe in Huntington functions as an early-morning coffee shop, an artisanal cheese purveyor and a full-service cafe. Recommended: wings (including those with a pomegranate-teriyaki glaze, pictured), zucchini "spaghetti," macaroni and cheese croquettes, house-made capellini with tomato sauce, hand-cut fries, ricotta cheesecake squares.
Senor Nacho(Credit: Jin Lee)
Moderately priced Senor Nacho serves up Mexican cuisine in a cavernous Great Neck space dominated by big, splashy folkloric murals. Recommended: "Mr. Nacho mix" fajitas (pictured), empanadas, tongue and pork tacos, grilled marinated pork chops, mole poblano, flan, churros.
Sal's Ristorante(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
Settle into one of the comfortable upholstered booths at Sal's Ristorante in Smithtown and consider your Italian options. Recommended: vegetable lasagna (pictured), focaccia pillow, Napolitana pizzetta, meat lasagna, pork chop ala cherry peppers, gnocchi Bolognese, occhi del bue arrabbiata.
DirtyBurger(Credit: Daniel Brennan)
In contrast to the name of the place, Plainview's DirtyBurger has a bright, contemporary look punctuated with a pop of graffiti art. Recommended: Dirty wings (pictured), pigs in blankets, veggie burger, steak sandwich, ribs, hand-cut fries, mac and cheese, milkshake.