We’ve had people whispering in our ear for a while to check out Mirabelle Tavern, a casual eatery inside of the Three Village Inn in picturesque Stony Brook. More relaxed in both atmosphere and menu items than its fancier sister, Mirabelle Restaurant, the Tavern offers diners a chance to eat well-prepared French and American comfort food while feeling pampered in a casual setting.
I’ve been rather absent from this site lately. I’ve been very busy with other things including getting engaged (thank you, thank you), work is busy (for now), and I’ve started a new diet and exercise program that I’m hoping will help me lose close to 20 pounds (ha!). Needless to say I haven’t been dining out as often as I’d like to, but that’s not to say I haven’t at all. The truth is I only started the diet a week ago, and if you try hard enough you can find healthier options in most restaurants if you try hard enough.
However, prior to my turning over a new leaf I tried the new Smith Street hot spot, Char No. 4. The space lay empty for the majority of the six years I’ve lived on Smith Street. Char No. 4 opened to rave reviews from foodies and traditionalists alike. They boast a menu of hundreds of kinds of whiskey ranging from $2 glasses of higher than Jim Beam quality, to glasses over $100. They also cure their own bacon. Whiskey and bacon…get more manly, I dare you to try.
Char No. 4 played a significant part in my newly engaged life as Kristina and I, and her parents and mine converged on the restaurant a rainy Saturday morning in September to celebrate and meet (the parents) for the first time. Our dads got along like old war buddies while our mom’s thought up nifty things to do for the wedding. I concentrated more on my poached eggs over ham with bacon gravy and biscuits, a side of their house cured bacon (best! bacon! ever!), and a Bloody Mary made not with vodka, but with a smoky bourbon. The bacon (did I mention it is the best ever?) is crisp and just smoky enough. And if I haven’t mentioned smoke enough, the place smells slightly of grill smoke (which lingers in the air and on your clothes even after you’ve left.)
Char No. 4 is a welcome and delicious addition to the Smith Street family of restaurants and bars.
By Dina Shingleton, Suffolk County Correspondent
What’s better than a sushi restaurant opening within walking distance of your house? A sushi restaurant that actually serves decent sushi, with attentive staff, and trendy atmosphere within walking distance to your house!
OK, so maybe Liki Sushi in Amityville isn’t within walking distance for everyone, but ample parking and it’s location on Merrick Rd make it the perfect go-to spot for a bite after work when you’re too tired to cook.
Last night my husband, two year old daughter (yes, they’re kid friendly too), and I sat down in a private booth with beaded curtains and chowed down. We started out with the Jalapeno Yellowtail appetizer. Certainly a nod to the famed dish at Nobu, it was just spicy enough without going overboard. The yellowtail was just slightly too thick, but maybe I’m used to the paper thin shavings at Nobu that seem to melt away. Of course, Liki doesn’t charge Nobu prices, so to hold them up to that standard is probably unfair.
We ordered Edamame as well, mainly for Maddie (our two year old). If you haven’t yet given some to your little one, give it a try! Maddie pops ’em like candy! A miso soup and a bowl of white rice rounded up Maddie’s meal. We dump about half the rice into the soup and let her have at it. She thinks it is delicious, and we’re happy to oblige!
The husband and I tried some sushi rolls. I had the Fire Dragon Roll (spicy tuna, cucumber on top with tuna, avocado, and spicy wasabi sauce) and a Negi Hamachi roll (yellowtail and scallion). The Fire Dragon Roll was done well. Not too much rice, excellent texture, and not too cold (I don’t like eating ice cold sushi). My only complaint was that for a roll called Fire Dragon it didn’t seem that spicy. Fire Dragon is a pretty dramatic name, and I was expecting dramatic spice. It fell a bit flat, but nothing extra wasabi couldn’t solve.
My husband had the standard spicy tuna roll and a Boston roll. He said both were rather tasty. I tried his spicy tuna and thought it lacked spice, but he didn’t agree, so maybe I was just having a bad taste bud day.
All in all I think Liki Sushi is a great go-to sushi spot. I know we’ll certainly be back either to dine-in or to take-out.
I recently met a friend for breakfast in Port Jefferson at Toast. I had been wanting to visit here since I learned the owner was someone that I had once worked with at a restaurant way back when where I was the chef and he was a young busboy. Needless to say he’s all grown up now. Terry and his wife Jennifer run this a great little spot that serves as a coffee house offering creative breakfast and lunch items and then transforms into a Wine and Tapas bar on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. Opened now for 6 years it has a young vibe with and energetic staff, their daughter Sienna was enjoying breakfast at the counter herself, so you know the kids are happy here too.
I chose a feather light whole wheat waffle with fresh blueberries, bananas and a sprinkling of powdered sugar and yes real maple syrup!! Yum. While my friend did her best to make a dent in her special of the day, an overstuffed omelet with turkey, asparagus and a jalapeno cheese, crispy browned potatoes and thick toast topped off the plate along with what appeared to be a homemade salsa. Steamy hot mugs of bottomless coffee and we were all set. Breakfast is a mix of interesting french toast, pancakes and waffle and omelets. While lunch is an offering of salads, burgers, wraps and not your ordinary sandwiches. Three evenings a week tapas and wine are a popular addition. Take advantage of the fact that now that the summer is over; the streets are a little less crowded, you can find a parking spot and then walk off your indulgences while enjoying this waterfront village.
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By Stacey McDevitt, Suffolk County Correspondent
As much as I love my career as a private chef, there are times after cooking numerous meals for 7 different palates that I just crave something quick and simple for lunch. So on one of my travels to and fro Suffolk to Nassau I discovered this great little spot. Hummus World, located near the train station in Roslyn Heights is such a find. It’s a postage stamp size of a place with a husband and wife team that keeps things interesting. She’s the cook and he’s the personality behind the register, that if you ask nicely he’ll let you try the sour pickles. On any given day there is a mixed clientele of students from the high school up the street, to businessmen and locals. And the occasional adventurist like me.
Let me first start off by saying I love falafel, but these are no ordinary ones. These crispy chickpea critters are flecked with coriander seeds and green tinted from parsley. But it is also what is stuffed into the pita that makes them special. Weighing in at a pound and a half, yes I actually weighed it, I had to sit was so heavy. Is a mix of the smoothest hummus, crunchy carrot and red cabbage lightly pickled, an "Israeli Salad" of tomatoes and cucumber, topped off with homemade hot sauce if you like and believe me, me like!! There’s also a sampling of vegetarian appetizers like eggplant baba ghanoush or platters with chicken shwarma, a highly spiced kosher chicken cooked on a spit much like a gyro. Then shaved off in tender slices. There’s also homemade soups "depending on Esters mood" as the menu reads, but its an experience just to dine here, if there’s a table inside grab it or a spot outside under the umbrellas or if you have time take it to go and head for a nearby park in Roslyn and enjoy the view. Anyway you choose it’s a tasty spot for a delicious bite to eat.
By Sam Jacobs, Brooklyn Correspondent
The menu is small, but sufficient – highlighting all my favorite New Orleans dishes including fried oysters, sausage-biscuit & gravy, fried shrimp & oyster po boys, succulent steak po boys, bbq yard-bird po boys, gumbo, red beans and rice, and more. They also have a full selection of Abita Beers, the local beer of New Orleans, and Cafe Du Monde chicory blended coffee and beignets which are fried dough topped with confectioners sugar, similar to the Italian zeppole or the American carnival version – funnel cake.
On my last visit I indulged in a Half & Half Po Boy with shrimp and oysters, and a lightly sweetened iced tea. I topped the meal off with a plate of the beignets. I left satisfied, but not overly full. The bill for my girlfriend and I was $40, and that included two sandwiches, two iced teas, and the beignets. With an $8 tip it was a late lunch bargain, the likes of which are getting harder to find in the borough of Brooklyn.