Spring Fling 2012 – Gold Belt

Tucked just below the famous “coast,” we’re renaming the central Nassau area to give it its due, thanks in no small part to the terrific foodies planting their flags here.

Brasserie 214
The Inn at New Hyde Park offers a culinary Euro-trip at Brasserie 214. The menu, made up of dishes from Denmark down to Italy and everywhere in between, begs you to try something you’ve never eaten before. Brasserie celebrates Oktoberfest every Sunday year-round so you have a weekly excuse to break out the lederhosen. It’s serious cuisine in a venue that knows better than to take itself too seriously. 214 Jericho Tpke.,
New Hyde Park, (516) 354-7797, innatnhp.com

Left Coast Kitchen and Cocktails
It’s hard not to let loose at this inspired roadhouse that blends “Brooklyn cool” with “Cali chill.” The relaxed, vibing LCK dishes out upscale takes on pub food and plenty of surprises. It’s the kind of place where the specials-touting blackboards boast pumpkin ale soup and the tables are crowded with popcorn in a throwback metal funnel type thing. One weekend in February they served “Fruity Pebble cakes” for dessert. What else? Fun artwork, magnetic drink menus and live music. Make a night of it.
1810 Merrick Rd., Merrick, (516) 868-5338, lckny.com

Mitch & Toni’s
This is a friendly, neighborhood gastro pub that surpasses most any dotting the Island. Short answer: It’s worth even the longest trip. Keep an eye on their website and Facebook page for one of their themed dinners to plan your visit around. Example: Last month, patrons indulged in a “Scotch and Cigar Dinner” topped off by—what else?—s’mores for dessert. This month the hip eatery hosts “Fish and Sips,” a four-course dinner and wine pairing event.
875 Willis Ave., Albertson, (516) 741-7940, mitchandtonis.com

This “queen” of the night lives up to her status as leading lady of the restaurant world. Hailed for everything from the ambiance (dark wood and colorful art) to fare (one of the best burgers anywhere adds to a bevy of expertly prepared top drawer entrées) to cocktails (Reign Runner, anyone?), she steals the scene. If it turns into one of “those nights,” there are gorgeous rooms to stay in overnight and a royal breakfast to get your day started. This is the Garden City Hotel, after all.
45 7th St., Garden City, (516) 877-9385, gardencityhotel.com