Each month, Niko Krommydas serves up a steaming bowl of gossip goulash made with the latest restaurant news on Long Island.
BARITO TACOS & COCKTAILS Steven Scalesse, the chef and an owner of Tullulah’s in Bay Shore, was a partner in Islip Terrace’s Magic Taco Corp., which closed in early 2015 after a fire. Now, teaming with David Prunier (also a partner of Tullulah’s), Sean Nolan (Tullulah’s general manager) and Matt Murray, one of the original owners of Public House 49 in Patchogue, Scalesse is featuring tacos again with this Mexican restaurant in Port Jefferson. On the second floor of a corner building downtown with views of Port Jefferson Harbor, the restaurant seats 120 at simple pale-wood tables. It’s splashed with bright colors and a mural of a dragon decorates one wall. The menu offers tacos—tortillas are made in-house—cradling ambitious fillings like duck confit, braised short rib and porchetta al pastor, a riff on the street-food classic. Quesadillas, tortas, burritos, enchiladas, rice and beans and chicharrones (fried pork rinds) are also served. Dessert items include ice cream floats with Jarritos. As the name suggests, there is an emphasis on drinks. Agave spirits and fresh juices are a feature of the bar, which is adorned with imported Mexican tiles and centers the space. Drinks like Mexican coke spiked with Fernet-Branca fit the theme. 201 Main Street, Port Jefferson, 631-828-8808, baritomexican.com
SHAH’S HALAL What started as a single food cart in 2005 in Richmond Hill, Queens, is now more than 30 carts and several brick-and-mortar shops. In New York City, halal food is perhaps now more ubiquitous on sidewalks than pretzels or hot dogs. It refers to the platters of chicken or lamb plopped over basmati rice with a side of iceberg lettuce and a couple of tomato slices. It is then finished with a thick drizzle of red and white sauces. You want that as a sandwich, instead? No problem. 2699 Merrick Road, Bellmore, 516-809-7306, shahshalalbellmore.com
BURGRITO’S Brothers Darin and Lawrence Laby added a fourth location of their mini-chain in their hometown of Merrick. (The other restaurants are in Bethpage, Massapequa Park and Park Slope, Brooklyn.) The namesake dish is a burger-burrito hybrid: a seven-ounce beef patty, American cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion and a splat of chipotle sauce, all wrapped in a flour tortilla. The mash-up is also stuffed with fries, because fry not? 1762 Merrick Avenue, Merrick, 516-442-8807, burgritos.com
CROP & KETTLE This newcomer in the Long Island Marriot in Uniondale serves gastro-pub fare sprinkled with local touches. Think duck spring rolls, clam chowder and the bone-in short rib, which is braised in Greenport Harbor Brewing Company’s Black Duck Porter. Long Island Marriott, 101 James Doolittle Boulevard, Uniondale, 516-229-5039, marriott.com
DAVID LADNER, who worked most recently at Rialto in Boston, is now the chef de cuisine at Sandbar in Cold Spring Harbor.
MILAN’S BRICK OVEN Jerry Miele and Michael Pantano have closed their pizza joint in Hewlett. Pantano’s adjacent deli, Pantano’s Kitchen, remains open.
GREEK CAPTAIN O Captain! My Captain! This seafood restaurant in Glen Cove has sunk.
AVOCADOS Avoca-no more for this casual Mexican spot in Commack. There is still one in Bayport.
GUAJIRO RESTAURANT This Cuban restaurant in Port Washington has closed after about two years.