Spring Dining Opens Up

Spring’s in full bloom and diners will be excited once again to get out and into milder weather to discover – and indeed indulge – in the newest and latest creations from all the well-known local chefs.

Not only are there new restaurant designs and motifs for the new year – check out Rachel’s in Freeport’s new interior – and tasty new menus to rev up the palates, such as Anchor Down’s new spring menu, but there are new restaurants on the cuisine landscape for 2017, both locally and in nearby neighborhoods.

NEW EATERIES IN TOWN

Several new eateries and shops have emerged around the neighborhoods since Your NewsMag last curled up in summer with a tasty dish to detail the experience.

Don’t be fooled by the modest size or layout of CuoppoNYC, a southern Italian eatery now preparing to open in the Vanilla Sky strip mall at 2261 Merrick Road in Merrick. Chefs will be cooking up orders of pasta, chicken marsala and a host of other southern (Napoli) specialties to go or to stay – but no pizza!

Featuring a distinctive full-window storefront, it is actually a garage door that can open up in summer or when the weather is “fine,” to give the feeling of dining outdoors.

According to the restaurant’s website, the “Cuoppo Napoletano is a humble dish from Naples, a masterpiece of street food and a delicious taste of Italian tradition.” The “Cuoppo,” as it is known, is a paper cone that holds a full mix of deep fried foods in which the flavors blend and fuse together to create distinctive tastes. Full dinners served on plates and hot heroes are also on the menu, as are plentiful salads.

Jersey Mike’s Subs, coming to 2756 Sunrise Highway a few doors down from Rite-Aid in the King Kullen shopping center, will offer up fast-food sandwiches and other treats, similar to Subway. An area supervisor tells Your NewsMag Jersey Mike’s will cut fresh meats made to order in front of the customer, and will offer several  features, such as personal box lunches, subs by the box and an assortment of salads as well as sweets.

It will also offer an assortment of cheese steaks, wraps and kids meals.

VillaD'AquaVilla D’Aqua in Bellmore offers classic Italian dishes in comfortable surroundings – even featuring a spacious deck for dining

Korea Spoon, at 2785 Jerusalem Avenue in North Bellmore, opened up in December and is catching its first breath of spring.

Taking over three-quarters of the space of a vegetable stand that stood at the location for years, the spacious eatery is spot for takeout or to sit down. Patrons place their orders and then sit down to await their meals.

Yul, a member of the family that operates the restaurant, said Korean food may be more pungent than other Asian cuisines because of the fermentation process. “The soul of Korean food is its fermentation, which helps to bring up the level of flavor.”  Several meats are also marinated.

He called Korean food the “art of fermentation,” because properly fermenting the ingredients brings out healthy probiotics.

A regular customer told Your NewsMag that fried rice is not the same as in other Asian dishes. Yul answered that fried rice is cooked in butter rather than oil and water, which significantly changes the texture of the rice.

Appetizers such as scallion pancakes and spicy Korean chicken wings are introductions into entrees such as barbecued beef and chicken, and stews made of tofi and chicken. Several noodle dishes with chicken and beef are also on the menu.

Chef Steve Rosenbluth of the noted Anchor Down on Bayberry Avenue in Merrick tells Your NewsMag that he will open a second restaurant in Seaford, taking over the Parkside Café at 2479 Adler Court as a sub leaser and managing partner.

Renaming it cardoon Mediterranean, the restaurant will feature vegetarian dishes, fish and meats with “Mediterranean accents.” Cardoon means “vegetable.”

Rosenbluth says he is able to expand into a second location thanks to his patrons at Anchor Down, who have patronized the restaurant. “I see a lot of happy people coming into Anchor Down, and I wanted to get a spot directly on the water” to carry the dining experience forward for many of them, he continued.

He hopes to have the restaurant open by Memorial Day.

Café Decatur, within the Nawlin’s restaurant on Freeport’s Nautical Mile, models itself after the famed Café DuMonde in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Cafe Du Monde is a traditional coffee shop in which the menu includes dark roasted coffee and chicory, beignets, regular and chocolate milk, and fresh squeezed orange juice. The coffee is served black or au lait, au lait being a mixture of half and half with hot milk. Beignets are square French-style doughnuts, lavishly covered with powdered sugar.

The Café Decatur will serve fresh beignets, pecan pie and cafe au lait, all in a fashion similar to the Café DuMonde.

BrewSa is a new family owned brewery on the Nautical Mile. As a total drinking establishment, it claims to be 100% American owned, 100% American made and gives 35% of its profits to Veterans charities. Featured is a “Flight” sampling four different beers, which has brought back at least one patron for more. “The beers are cold” and he is a particular fan of the Cherry Wheat. “The name describes the beer quite well,” he noted.

BrewSa also sells beer to go, but no food. It has have park bench style seating inside, and plans  are to bring in catered food from area restaurants.

NEW MENUS

SALT [Sea And Land Together] at 3100 Whaleneck Road in Merrick is boasting a new chef and a new menu for this season. Gone are the chicken and waffles, for example, and in is a whole new array of dinner choices. New Executive Chef Massimo Fedozzi  prepares more classic traditional dishes for dinner, such as halibut, Australian rack of lamb, chicken, swordfish, braised short rib and Chilean sea bass, for example.

Still on the menu are the popular fish tacos, using tilapia now rather than cod; charred broccoli, cauliflower fritters and crispy brussel sprouts.

There will entertainment almost daily on the spacious deck of the restaurant, which overlooks Merrick Bay and is now open for spring diners.

Nawlins on Freeport’s Nautical Mile is offering some new surprises to its menu this spring, including alligator tacos, Red Neck nachos, cedar grit pulled pork, fried chicken waffles and fried lobster waffles  – in addition to the favorites from last year.

Live jazz and blues music can be heard five nights a week at Nawlins’ and docking is available to come by boat.

Anchor Down is bringing some zest to its popular menu, in the form of Caribbean and Cajun influences, as well as some new light American fare.

Included are the fish tacos of crispy cod, avocado, pickled onion, corn, black bean, salsa and cilantro lime aioli. In addition, there are the lobster rolls and fried whole belly clams and Ipswich clams, plus new fun spring cocktails.

Celebrating its third anniversary, the restaurant is working to get the patio ready to open in the next two weeks.

Rachel’s Waterside Grill on the Nautical Mile is also boasting a new décor for spring while it has added new items its menu.

Villa D’Aqua, 2565 Bellmore Avenue in Bellmore, is filled with special traditional Italian dishes, as diners sit out on the patio overlooking the canal and “manga.”

Antipastis such as mozzarella, fried calamari and Portobello mushroom ,and salads including insalata trevisana will lead into select Northern Italian delights, such as pollo scarpariello and scaloppini saltamboca, shrimp diavolo and zuppa di pesce.  Pork chops, lampadina alla griglia and filet mignon are all there for the asking.

Pastas such as Linguine con vongole and rigatoni di teri round out the sumptuous menu.

Top off  a lovely dining experience with a sorbet, cheesecake or tiramisu.

Whatever your tastes, culinary interests or indulgences, spring dining will surely help get the new season on the right track.

    DOUGLAS FINLAY

 

 

 

 

 

 

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