18 Things to Eat Right Now

As entrenched in the food culture as Pulse is, a lot of dishes pass before our collective gaping maws. Not all are stars, but when those ah-ha dishes slide past our lips, we take note. These are the plates that stuck with us. If you could only eat one thing forever, it’d be tough to complain if it were something from this list. Arranged in no particular order because they are all winners.

Buffalo Mussels
Tap Room, Patchogue
Their mussels actually come four other ways—who knew these banal bivalves were so versatile? But with the option to try this twist on the bar-staple Buffalo wings, who needs another choice? Yes, blue cheese is included.

Garlic Knot Creations (sliders and stuffed knots)
Delfiore Pizza & Food Co., Patchogue
Astute readers will notice that this pizza joint sits conveniently close to Pulse headquarters—the knot creations were a source of lunchroom revelation for several of our staff . We’ve got the stuff ed knot—an oversized garlic twist, halved and layered with fresh mozz, eggplant and roasted red pepper and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. And the Delfiore Mini Burgers—two knots stuff ed with seasoned meat, fried onions and tangy mayo “secret sauce.” [For a closer look at Long Island knots, see page 129.]

Downport Omelet
Toast, Port Jeff
Many years ago Toast made its bones as a go-to breakfast joint in the port town with lines bursting out the door on weekend mornings. The seafaring omelet pays tribute to both the coastal and breakfast heritage. Stuffed with jumbo lump crab, asparagus, bacon, roasted peppers and smoked Gouda, it is a heartier, less fussy take on the crab cake Benedict.

Red Velvet Pancakes
Parlay, Rockville Centre
These guys had us at red velvet, but the stacked flapjacks load on even more tastiness: they’re topped with a vanilla cheese glaze, warm maple syrup and whipped cream. Have your cake and eat it too…for breakfast!

Cavatelli and Lobster
Ruvo, Greenlawn
Pasta and lobster isn’t necessarily the most inspired concoction. But pair lobster with hearty little dumpling-like cavatelli in a light tomato basil sauce—not cream based, mind you—with spinach and white bean, and you’ve got a hit.

The Spanish Sharing Board
Plancha, Garden City
Happiness is only real if shared. And this sharing board is a plate full of happiness. With a selection of Spanish meats like chorizo and Serrano ham, cheeses, olives and marcona almonds served with quince paste, the plate goes mighty well with a dry sherry or cava (but that can be just for you).

Shrimp ala Peggy
Piccolo, Huntington
We don’t know who Peggy is, but she makes a mean shrimp oreganata and capellini with pomodoro sauce. We also didn’t know what oreganata meant (turns out it’s a blend of seasonings, heavy on the oregano, duh, and Italian breadcrumbs).

Chili Rubbed Pork Tenderloin
Rumba, Hampton Bays
The apricot and ginger glaze marries with the chili rub for sweet and spicy harmony atop tender pork. As good as it is, this main dish is almost overshadowed by the warm and rich coconut risotto, which is a summery side that could be a meal in itself. Plantains are thrown in for good measure.

Tuna Tortilla
Onsen Sushi, Oakdale
When worlds collide… Far East meets Southwest with a bevy of tuna, olives, guacamole and jalapenos topped with spicy aioli. If only all international collaborations could be this inspiring—and tasty.

Thrice-Cooked Pork Tenderloin
Moonstone, Great Neck
This puts the “tender” in tenderloin. The succulent and slightly spicy meat is in a mélange of harmonizing Chinese vegetables. Moonstone, which opened this past summer, replaces the all-you-caneat excess of Harvest Buffet with elegant, authentic Chinese food. And this is a standout dish.

Fritto Misto
Cinque Terre, Huntington Station
The addition of sepia (cuttlefish) and red snapper to the usual suspects (shrimp and calamari), makes this a special and delicious dish in itself. But what really makes it memorable is the huuuge portion size and a refreshing pesto vinaigrette.

Eastern Whole Belly Clams
Bay Kitchen Bar, East Hampton
Fried whole belly clams, while a treat, are nothing new on the Island. Coat those fresh bad boys with stone-ground corn fl our though, and you’ve got something to rave about. Herb seasoned tartar sauce is just the icing on the clam.

Ephesus, Massapequa
This traditional dish is three pieces of Turkish flatbread covered with ground beef and lamb and sprinkled with onions, lettuce, tomato and parsley. Basically, it’s Turkish pizza (or pide, as the menu says). A bit spicy, but a tasty intro to Middle Eastern food.

Scotch Egg
Heirloom Tavern, Glen Head
Careful readers keeping track will recognize this fried, pork-wrapped, soft-boiled egg deliciousness from last year’s list. And it’s still as good as it was a year ago. We really think you should go out and try one…like right now.

Japanese Cowboy Roll
Monsoon, Babylon
Don’t let the name fool you, this roll is anything but rustic or country. It’s practically over-the-top decadent with Kobe beef and lobster. It’s the fever-dream of surf-turf lovers, slathered with eel sauce and yuzo mayo, with avocado adding creaminess.

Kentucky Bourbon Braised Pork Belly Sliders
True, Mineola
There are a lot of words in that title and they’re all delicious. Add to them “smoke habanero aioli” and “three cabbage coleslaw” and this dish is complete, a true Southern take on an Asian staple.

MacDaddy BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Storyville, Huntington
Dry rubbed and slow smoked, this full rack of pork ribs lives up to its MacDaddy moniker because it is the top dog of ribs. Served with three house-made BBQ sauces and the requisite sides of coleslaw and sweet potato fries, this meal is a little slice of N’Awlins.

Fig Glazed Chicken Wings
Pa-Nash Eurosoul Restaurant, Rosedale
For the uninitiated (like us), Euro-soul food is a fusion of Mediterranean, Moroccan and Caribbean food— quite the comfort mix. The setting is Moroccan lounge-y and the wings are fall-off -the-bone and figgy sweet, served with hot chili sauce.