I haven't posted in a while (trying to finish my master's thesis) so here are three Long Island places for some good food. Since I have no time lately to do some of my own Chowhounding (but still wanting to eat good food of course), I've been mining my Chow Alert archive for some ideas. There's plenty of Long Island info to be found in them and even when a particular issue doesn't involve LI you can find useful info in it, for example the meal at Fortune Wheel was partially inspired by a Chow Alert review of Fuleen Seafood in Chinatown. Green Cactus and Heart of Portugal were tips I got from Chow Alert. Thanks to fellow hound, Erica, for the tip about Fortune Wheel.
Green Cactus Grill
1273 E Jericho Tpke, Huntington, NY 11743
Phone: (631) 673-1010
Good Mexican inspired food. Everything is fresh and made to order. They advertise no lard, which I guess, can be seen, as a positive or negative, but should be good for vegetarians. I recommend the nachos (huge, get them with a mix of black and red beans, dont order chicken or beef to go with them they dont need it). Beef tacos are good. I wasnt too thrilled with the veggie burrito I ordered, Im guessing beans and cheese or one of the meat burritos would be a better choice. That's what I get for asking someone behind the counter to recommend something. Burritos are huge so keep that in mind if ordering one (cant imagine what the two-fisted burrito must be like). Shrimp quesidilla was suprisingly delicious; fresh grilled shrimp and the right amount of cheese, though it was the highest priced item on the bill at over 8 dollars. On another trip I had a shrimp taco, which was good and a fish taco, which was made with breaded snapper and had a creamy sauce. I wouldnt order the fish taco again. It tasted good, it just doesn't partake of taconess. One complaint, no hot sauce or salsa in this place was really hot, so for those that like heat, consider bringing your own. This is an informal place; you can sit down, but you order and pickup your meal at the counter and eat on paper plates.
Heart Of Portugal Corp
241 Mineola Blvd, Mineola, NY 11501
Phone: (516) 742-9797
We sat at the bar as advised by Jim, naturally they tried to push us into the dining room, but we declined. Segre, Portuguese beer, made a nice accompaniament to the meal. The blackboard specials were in Portuguese but the waitress was kind enough to explain what everything was. We were also brought menus, but noticed that the blackboard items were a better deal so we stuck with those. We started out with Caldo Verde, the national soup, which is kale potato soup with slices of chorizo (or chourico in Portuguese I think). It was thick and satisfying. I ordered salt cod with potatoes, tomatoes and onions and while it was tasty, the cod was a bit too salty and tough for me (possibly it needed to be soaked a little longer). My lunch companion ordered a grilled flank steak with fries; I sampled both and was jealous of his order. The steak was charcoal grilled to perfection. Bill came to 30 dollars for lunch, which is not cheap, but we did get beer and soup and we were in a good mood the rest of the day.
Fortune Wheel Seafood Rstrnt
3601 Hempstead Tpke, Levittown, NY 11756
Phone: (516) 579-4700
(Thanks to Erica for the tip.)
A review on the door from the Times proclaims that this is one of the few Long Island places with the authentic stuff. On one visit my girlfriend and I shared the house special noodle soup. The soup was meant for more than two people and had just about everything under the sun in it including abalone, shrimp, scallops, pork and chicken, plus loads of vegetables. It was a bit mild tasting but everything in it was fresh and delicious. We also partook of some dim sum, shrimp leek dumplings are a must, and regular shrimp dumplings were good, too. On a second visit we ordered Crabs with ginger and scallion and House Special Shrimp (Shrimp, pork, and egg, with black bean sauce). Also, from a tip in Chow Alert, I asked if they had snow pea leaves. This brought a smile to the waiters face after he verified that I did not mean snow pea pods. I was about to order some soup as well, when the waiter warned me that we would already be getting plenty of food. Crabs were good, but small and hard to eat. Personally I dont mind that, if you do, order something else with the ginger scallion sauce, because its very good. The shrimp dish was a bit different and the black bean sauce was more black beans than actual sauce, but it was very tasty. Snow pea leaves were excellent, but it was a family size portion (a 12 dollar surprise on the bill, ouch). Im sure theres plenty more exploring to do here.