There are two factors that contribute to Nassau and Suffolk’s status as one of the contemporary culinary centers of the world—access to fresh ingredients and the creation of innovative dishes, these days by integration of formerly disparate cuisines. This unbridled creativity is balanced out by LI’s abundance of restaurants serving old-fashioned meat and potatoes-type eats, good since the olden days and still satisfying today.
Don’t blink or you’ll miss it! The Farm Country Kitchen in Riverhead (631) 369-6311 is a rarity in that they change their menu every day to correspond to the freshest in-season ingredients available. Currently they are offering an array of salads, their spinach salad being a veritable “who’s who” of veggies at their ripest: baby spinach, sugar snap peas, red onions, cabbage, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, mated with a honey/mint marinated chicken, cheese olives, chick peas, feta and gorgonzola cheese. More dishes crafted from local ingredients can be had at A Mano in Mattituck (631) 298- 4800. One Antipasto selection from their $24.95 Price Fix menu is sautéed Satur Farms (located in Cutchogue) tri-color cauliflower, pine nuts, golden raisins, proscuitto and pecorino. The combined “Primi & Secondi” course has a dish of local flounder, specially prepared “8 hour tomatoes,” mushrooms, capers, new potatoes, arugala and orvieto. A selection of desserts rounds out the price fix.
If progress in the culinary arts involves integration, as many assert, then LoLa in Great Neck (516) 466-5666 is definitely taking that next step. This can be seen in their distinctly Oriental version of the classic hamburger on their lunch menu. Called “Peking Duck sliders” for $15, which is a trio of sliced Peking duck breast (a famously labor-intensive Chinese preparation of this avian species) on a bun with toppings for $15. Their menu changes seasonally so they will surely be whipping up new surprises for Fall and beyond.
Hearkening back to the way Native Americans and colonists noshed on seafood, Four Seasons Caterer in Southampton (631) 283-3354 is putting on their highly anticipated Sunday clambakes in August. Call them for details. Finally, the Rothmann’s Steakhouse in East Norwich (516) 922-2500 has been a fixture on the LI fine dining scene for more than 100 years, and still provides top-quality seafood, a range of potato dishes, a large wine cellar and, of course, some of the best steaks in the land.
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