Two top Long Island chefs are offering a New Year’s challenge to foodies. Stephan Bogardus, executive chef of The North Fork Table & Inn in Southold, and Peter Van Der Mije, executive chef and owner of Osteria Leana in Oyster Bay, want you to pile on those vegetables.
Van Der Mije even encourages Long Island foodies to urge chefs to use more seasonal vegetables. “I think a lot of restaurants have a lot of meat-centric or heavy plates,” he said. His winter menu, however, features spinach, carrots and other ingredients that store well. “When we do a winter menu, we work with beans and barley and herbs to give those earthy flavors.”
Explore Two Long Island Towns Built For Foodies
Van Der Mije also said foodies should avoid formulaic restaurants. You know the ones. Hint: they have the same appetizers and other offerings as any chain restaurant. “Menu-driven restaurants hit all the same notes and nothing is creative and new,” he said. “Chef-driven restaurants are more unique.”
On the other hand, diners should make more trips to Indian spots. Bogardus said he is “a strong proponent of a proper whole food, plant-based diet.” An easy way to get the taste is through Indian cuisine, which he said is underrepresented on Long Island, especially east of the William Floyd Parkway. Using Indian spices like cardamom and cumin “is a really great way to add some flair to your vegetables.”
Bogardus suggested the Indian method of braising greens for a long period of time instead of the American standards of steaming and sauteeing the veggies. And adding some ginger and chickpeas won’t hurt either.
Bogardus, who is going to India for a few weeks in January, said people who are involved in the farm-to-table movement will appreciate the depth and complexity that comes with different spices added to their food as they get through the winter.
Van Der Mije added that foodies should continually challenge themselves to “look for something different” by visiting new restaurants—even outside Long Island. He said Brooklyn, in particular, offers a wealth of venues and various food genres that could keep any foodie busy.