In this month’s gossip goulash: açaí and oatmeal bowls in Massapequa Park, Nikkei of Peru opens a second location and the Valle brothers go Italian again.
Bango Bowls, serving açaí and oatmeal bowls and cold-brewed coffee, opened in early January in Massapequa Park. The owner is James Bonanno, who opened Flight, a restaurant in Patchogue with a small-plates concept that even extends to the cocktails, just a few weeks prior. Bonanno called the açaí bowl—which features the grape-size, reddish-purple berry native to South America and is heralded for an array of health benefits in smoothie form—”a hot trend for a healthy breakfast or snack that few people are doing right.” It’s served in a bowl (surprise!) with toppings like fresh fruit and granola and meant to be downed with a spoon like ice cream. Bonanno also co-owns The Tap Room, a craft-beer-focused bar with locations in Patchogue and Massapequa Park. He decided to use the 300-square-foot space adjacent to the latter for Bango Bowls after learning some customers regularly drive upwards of 20 minutes for a “decent” açaí bowl. His take, offered in three sizes, is a puree of frozen açaí pulp with bananas, blueberries, strawberries and soy milk. This blend gets topped with fresh bananas, blueberries, strawberries and coconut, and a drizzle of honey, while add-ins that can be purchased include kiwi, Nutella and marshmallows. The same extras can also be incorporated into any of the six oatmeal bowls on Bango’s menu, one of which is the “Fire Island Sunrise” featuring pineapple, mango and coconut shavings. Lastly, the takeout spot has rotating cold-brewed coffees on tap. “I thought it would be fun to switch up the cold brew similar to how we switch up the beers next door at Tap Room so I installed a traditional beer draft system,” Bonanno said. 1010 Park Boulevard, 516-557-2648
A showcase of Nikkei, the cuisine that mixes Japanese and Peruvian ingredients and techniques, recently arrived in Oyster Bay. Barry Wohl and Asa and Lina Jong, the owners of Nikkei of Peru in Port Washington, opened a second location of their restaurant in the hamlet last month. The new place, in the space formerly occupied by Verona Una, offers the same menu as the original, which opened almost exactly a year earlier and followed the couple’s short-lived restaurant in Huntington, ASA Tapas & Sushi. Items include ceviche, scallops with jalapeño salsa served atop a guacamole mousse and beef “tradito” carpaccio, which gets rubbed with aji and seared with a citrus-soy sauce. There is also a 15-seat sushi bar. An early pioneer of Nikkei, which originated in 1889 when thousands of Japanese workers immigrated to Peru, is Nobuyuki Matsuhisa, the superstar chef whose two eponymous restaurant chains, Nobu and Matsuhisa, total over 30 locations and span five continents. Asa was the sushi chef at Nobu 57 in Manhattan for a decade. 94 South Street, 516-356-3000
“Our family comes from El Salvador but we feel most comfortable around Italian cuisine,” said Giovanni Valle, one of the three brothers behind Casa di Fratelli in Westbury. It opened last month in the space on Old Country Road formerly occupied by Ayhan’s Shish Kebab. Giovanni is actually one of seven brothers, and almost all “started working in Italian restaurants after coming to this country, starting as dishwashers and working hard to move up.” The eldest Valle is Emilio, now the executive chef and owner of Milito’s Fine Italian Restaurant in Huntington Station. Giovanni was Milito’s manager and host before opening Casa di Fratelli with Carlos and Antonio, both of whom are helming the new restaurant’s kitchen. On the menu are dishes like spaghetti carbonara, seafood risotto, chicken scarpariello and veal Sorrentino. “We’re presenting very traditional recipes and very fresh ingredients,” said Carlos, who also touted specials like spiedini alla Romana and osso buco. 477 Old Country Road, 516-385-3700