Maureen’s Kitchen in Smithtown

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By Stacey McDevitt, Suffolk County Correspondent

When I first moved out west to attend culinary school some 15 years ago, I knew there would be things I would miss about New York. Family and friends were a given. A real bagel, the pizza, and an authentic New York deli. These experiences would be few and far between in my new home. A requirement of anyone coming to visit me from back east was to smuggle me in the goods on the plane, I would greet them like a junkie with a did you bring the bagels? But I would also miss my list of restaurants that I had developed over the years of living on Long Island the places I loved and were unique to the area, a foodie bucket list if you will. From Manhattan to Montauk, and everywhere in between these little hole in the wall, Mom and Pop type places are not necessarily fancy. I’ve have a separate list for that, I like to call it the when I hit the Lotto list. But they were darn good at what they did and they did it well.

One such place was Maureen’s Kitchen in Smithtown. When I first visited this little place a long long time ago. It was across the street from its present location and quite a bit smaller then it is now. It maybe had a few stools and couple of booths/tables. And who do you think was behind the counter running the show, you guessed it Maureen. Imagine my surprise when I recently moved back to New York and went to see if they were still in business. Well they were all grown up and had moved out too, even if it was just across the street. Neither of us got too far from where we originally started, did we?!

Maureen Dernbach, her family and the friendly and efficient hard-working crew made this place a winner. This location has an open and airy feel to it, like an old farmhouse, complete with a screened in porch. You feel like you’re upstate somewhere, oh did I mention the cow motif? Kind of kitschy but very fitting, considering the town of Smithtown is named after a guy named Mr. Smith who rode through town on a bull, and there’s even a statue of the bull in town to prove it. Well there’s cows out in front of Maureen’s Kitchen too so you can’t miss it.

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But it’s what inside this jewel that makes them line up out the door on most days, and let me tell you it’s worth every minute. Meanwhile you can admire the glass enclosed cow print Harley Davidson motorcycle while you wait. But don’t wait to order the specialty pancakes and were not talking just any old pancakes were talking WOW. Pumpkin, mini chocolate chip and walnut, a crushed Oreo version, very popular with the little people and everything in between with orange, fresh blueberry, raspberry and strawberry, the list goes on and on. There are also the delicious over stuffed omelets, freshly griddled home fries, real bacon, thick sausage links, and eggs every which way. And a thick cut delicious looking raspberry stuffed French toast with a dusting of powdered sugar. I know they do a wonderful lunch too, with homemade soups, sandwiches and gigantic decadent looking desserts too, but to be honest I can never get past the pancakes they are my weakness. I must admit I’m a real big breakfast lover. I look forward to it from the minute I wake up. Along with a steaming hot cup of coffee and a copy of the New York Times I ask you does it get any better then this?! So I recommend that you get there early, read the paper while you wait, make sure you’re hungry and I can guarantee you’ll leave feeling happy and as stuffed as the cows out front. 631-360-9227

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Southampton Publick House in Southampton

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By Sam Jacobs, Brooklyn Correspondent

If you find yourself in Southampton on a weekend, or any other day and you’re looking for a place to eat and have a beer that doesn’t have any of the pretentiousness of the restaurants that cater to the city folk then check out the Southampton Publick House.

The outside is unassuming save for the two signs leading the way, but inside you get everything you would hope for in a microbrewery/restaurant.  Entrees include steaks, pork chops, and chicken, Sully’s Famous Baby Back Ribs, pasta, and seafood.  There is also a prix fixe menu that includes an appetizer and dessert.

I visited last Friday night, and had a cup of creamy New England clam chowder followed by a barbecue chicken and ribs combo, and topped it off with a hunk of apple crisp ala mode.  The table also shared a basket of crispy fried calamari.  Delicious!  But don’t be fooled, Southampton Publick House is still best known for their selection of beers brewed on site.  The selection seems to change with the seasons.  I sampled the Montauk Light, Southampton Gold, and Russian Imperial Stout.  All were superb.  I may make a trip back in the fall to sample their Pumpkin Ale.

~SJ

Southampton Publick House
40 Bowden Square
Southampton, NY 11968
(631)283-2800

Tate’s Bake Shop in Southampton

By Sam Jacobs, Brooklyn Correspondent

There are few times in a man’s life when he can safely say, without a doubt that’s he’s just eaten the most fantastic, tasty, delicious baked goods in his life.  If I get three, I’m going to use one right now.

This past weekend I visited Tate’s (formerly known as Kathleen’s) in Southampton for the first time.  It was Saturday morning.  The line was almost out the door, but it moved quickly.  I chose a blueberry muffin for breakfast along with a piping hot cup of hazelnut coffee.  It was perfection in the form of a muffin.  I also purchased two pies to bring to a BBQ – one strawberry-rhubarb, and one key lime.  Once dessert was served, the pies disappeared within minutes.

Tate’s also sells a variety of cookies, dips, sauces, jellies, jams, and preserves, bread, croissants, and bagels.  It’s worth the 2 hour drive from Brooklyn.

~SJ

Tate’s Bake Shop • 43 North Sea Rd. • Southampton NY 11968 • 631-283-9830

Fairway Market in Red Hook, Brooklyn

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This is a companion piece to our previous post on Fairway in Plainview.

By Sam Jacobs, Brooklyn Correspondent

One of the best parts about living near Red Hook, Brooklyn (aside from the vendors at the soccer fields and the brand spanking new Ikea) is Fairway.

Fairway originated in Manhattan, opened in Plainview thanks to a bankrupt competitor and a family member with a keen eye for location scouting, and just last year opened in an old warehouse by the waterfront in Red Hook.  As a man who had formerly shopped in the Plainview location, and was distraught over the lack of good, large grocery stores in the Boerum Hill/Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens area the opening in Red Hook was and still is a dream come true. 

My girlfriend and I both love to cook.  Fairway carries some of the best selections of meats, fish, fresh produce, international cheeses, and coffees, and has one of the most impressive and delicious in-house cafes.  Order the Bada Bing, a behemoth of a sandwich stuffed with proscuitto, capecola, pepperoni, provolone, and sun dried tomatoes, served on a buttery Italian roll.  Take it out back on a warm day and eat on the patio among local hipsters, and families with screaming children.  It is a sight to behold.

~SJ

Fairway Brooklyn

480-500 Van Brunt Street Red Hook

Brooklyn

(718) 694-6868

Hours: 8AM-10PM Daily

CAFE 8AM-8PM Daily

Apartment 138 in Brooklyn

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By Sam Jacobs, Brooklyn Correspondent

Sometimes all you’re looking for in this crazy world is a little simplicity and a taste of home-style cooking.  Apartment 138 on Smith Street achieves this and more!

Opened a few years ago in what was formerly an apartment at 138 Smith Street, the owners created a place where you could get a tasty, hot meal coupled with a potent cocktail (or coffee or beer, if you prefer) well into the wee hours of the night.  There are daily specials and weekend brunch that includes orange infused French toast and banana pancakes.  Their regular dinner menu includes simple pressed sandwiches, a skirt steak salad over mixed greens topped with creamy crumbled bleu cheese, burgers, pastas, sliders, and my personal favorite baby back ribs topped with a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce, served with sides of spicy bakes apples and crispy mac & cheese.

Last night I indulged in those ribs along with one of the best appetizers I think I’ve ever tasted – dates stuffed with garlic and wrapped in bacon.  I described the flavor to my dinner companion as dirty porn sex – you know you shouldn’t be watching (eating), but you just can’t stop.  We each had a specialty cocktail – mine being a concoction that was the perfect balance of gin, club soda, lemon, and other flavors.

The waitresses aren’t bad looking either.

Click here to view their menu.

~Sam

Stan’s Place in Brooklyn, NY

StansplaceBy Sam Jacobs, Brooklyn Correspondent

Nestled on the north side of the remerging Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn, Stan’s Place brings the flavor & charm of New Orleans to this hip neighborhood.

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.

718-596-3110

~SJ
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