Where to Eat This December

In this month’s gourmet goulash: The Pig & Queen begin their barbecue reign in Rockville Centre, Lucharitos plans to deliver a second dining dropkick in Aquebogue and Bethpage gets a ramen spot.

“Every chubby kid has a dream of one day having their own barbecue place,” said Peter Mangouranes, who opened The Pig & Queen in Rockville Centre last month with brothers Anthony and Paul Oliva. The trio also own The Good Life, Jam and Massapequa Perk, all in Massapequa Park. At their new restaurant, which has a fourth partner, Chris Panza, a pair of 400-pound smokers are being employed to cook brisket, pulled pork, Cajun sausage, turkey breast and ribs, both baby back and St. Louis. Mangouranes’ barbecue is Texas in style, he said. “I just use salt and pepper for the rubs to let the meat shine. I slow-cook over oak and cherry wood, and I spritz with cider vinegar.” In addition to the list of smoked meats, most of which are sold in servings of four or eight ounces, The Pig & Queen offers a hefty, wide-ranging menu, with a “noticeable Southern influence,” that includes fried green tomatoes; shrimp and grits; crispy pork belly; a fried-chicken sandwich; sesame-crusted tuna over sautéed kale; a double cheeseburger topped with house-cured slab bacon; and a vegetarian quesadilla stuffed with black-eyed pea hummus, feta and roasted tomatoes. The bar has a selection of bourbons and 12 beers on tap, some of which are locally brewed. 201 Sunrise Highway, (516) 690-6655

Lucharitos Taqueria & Tequila Barthe popular Mexican eatery in Greenport with a colorful lucha-libre-inspired décor, recently announced plans for a second location on the North Fork, in Aquebogue. Lucharitos’ owner, Marc LaMaina, lives in Aquebogue with his family and searched the area for a suitable space to expand his restaurant for nearly two years before settling on the former home of North Fork Tobacco on Main Road. The new spot will open sometime in the spring, LaMaina said, and will have “more of a takeout feel” than the original with counter service and only 16 seats (not including a small bar and an in-season outdoor patio). Aquebogue’s outpost will offer a similar menu to Greenport’s; expect empanadas that rotate daily and selections of nachos, burritos, quesadillas and tacos. The latter selection, currently at 15, will expand at the new spot with interesting fillings like fried monkfish and locally grown shiitakes from the East End Mushroom Company. LaMaina also plans to offer quesadillas in a new way, cut into strips and covered in house-made salsas. He’s calling it “chopped and screwed,” after the style of rap music pioneered by DJ Screw in Houston, Texas, in the nineties. 487 Main Road, No Phone Number Yet

A new ramen shop has opened in BethpageRamen Kyoto, located in a tiny strip mall on Hicksville Road, offers nearly a dozen bowls. There is tonkotsu, meaning that the broth is made from hours-boiled pork bones, with pork chashu, “white thin straight” noodles, red ginger, bean sprouts, scallions, kikurage mushrooms and more. Another three have a chicken-based broth that get seasoned with shoyu (soy sauce) and come with “yellow waxy” noodles, fish cakes, bamboo shoots and more. The menu also has appetizers like fried gyoza, hibachi (not table side) and four donburi, or rice bowls. 621 Hicksville Road, (516) 513-1881

niko krommydas

Niko Krommydas has written for Tasting Table, BeerAdvocate, Munchies, and First We Feast. He is editor of Craft Beer New York, an app for the iPhone, and a columnist for Yankee Brew News. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.