A Chef’s Guide to Comfort Food on LI

Nick & Toni chef de cuisine Bryan Futerman knows all about comfort food. Since joining the team in 2014, he’s been overseeing and coordinating all the restaurant’s food operations while preparing delicious Italian/Mediterranean cuisine. But when chef Futerman takes a break from cooking, he likes to sit back, relax and have someone else whip him up something satisfying. Diners may spot him at a few of the below.

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La Fondita, Amagansett


image: facebook.com/lafondita

The space may be small but the humble kitchen is no novice when it comes to mixing flavor profiles. “I go for the amazing tacos with hand pressed tortillas.” The tinga, al pastor, chicken, shrimp and fish tacos are just a few delicious favorites. And when Futerman is feeling extra hungry, he asks for a carne asada burrito filled with chunks of grilled beef, rice and beans and a nice side of chef Juan Geronimo’s spicy habanero sauce to bring the authentic Mexican heat. Phone: 631-267-8800 | Address: 74 Montauk Hwy Click to taste

Canal Café, Hampton Bays

This popular cafe earned praise for a Long Island favorite. “The lobster roll is the best I’ve had on the East End.” It’s packed with chunks of fresh lobster meat, a little mayo and celery on a lightly toasted ciabatta roll with a side of fries. Futerman also suggested a big bowl of the local little neck clams steamed with slices of chorizo, fresh tomato, white wine and garlic for pairs. “Toasted ciabatta on the side [will soak up] all the juice from those briny local clams.” Phone: 631-723-2155 | Address: 44 Newtown Rd Click to taste

Rowdy Hall, East Hampton


image: facebook.com/pg/rowdyhalleasthampton

Once winter sets in, Futerman heads to the Village of East Hampton to unwind by the cozy fireplace in Rowdy Hall’s dining room. To make the experience extra toasty, he likes to start with chef Ed Lightcap’s French onion soup prepared with caramelized onions, beef broth, a touch of cognac, toasted croutons and lots of bubbling melted gruyere. “I like to follow that with their traditional fish and chips, fresh cod filet dipped in a beer batter and [then] fried.” It’s crispy, golden colored and served with delicious hand cut fries and house-made tartar sauce. Phone: 631-324-8555 | Address: 10 Main St Click to taste

Estia’s Little Kitchen, Sag Harbor

Fresh, healthy and comforting, this quaint kitchen has a knack for making mouths water. “Everything [prepared by] chef Colin Ambrose will guarantee to hit the spot.” For breakfast, Futerman’s go-to is Robbie’s gingo hash, a big plate of authentic red beans and rice with chorizo sausage, two eggs, corn tortillas and fresh avocado. And for lunch, diners can’t go wrong with the jumbo lump crab cakes with chef Ambrose’s fresh vida slaw. “It is a winner every time.” Phone: 631-725-1045 | Address: 1615 Sag Harbor Tpke Click to taste

Tweeds, Riverhead

Cheeseburger up close

image: michaeldugger

The bison burger is the main draw at this old-fashioned tavern—equipped with a vintage mahogany and marble bar—and for good reason. “The bison burger is huge and cooked to perfection. I order it with the sautéed onions and cheddar or sometimes gorgonzola if it’s available.” The place doesn’t like to go light on the potatoes, either. “The French fries are a whole potato cut into wedges and fried to an amazing crispiness.” A freshly baked bun, crispy lettuce, red onion and juicy ripe tomato complete the dish. Phone: 631-237-8120 | Address: 17 E Main St Click to taste