Thursday, September 13, 2012

Passione Restaurant - Carle Place

Passione in Carle Place is an eat-in Italian restaurant from the same owners as the popular Emilio's restaurant in Commack.

Lauren and I spotted Passione while eating in Red Lobster in the same shopping center on Old Country Road and were anxious to try it.
The restaurant looks attractive and grand on the outside and equally as impressive on the inside. This isn't your typical Italian restaurant. The place is finished in dark wood, walls and furniture creating a very warm environment. The decor seems to have more of an Indian style feel to it rather than Italian.

One of my favorite parts about the experience is that the menu is the same style as Emilio's in Commack. It's very reasonably priced and has a large selection of your typical Italian favorites.

Lauren and I were seated at a table by the wall. The restaurant is very well sized and we took note of the booths in the back. They're quite big, raised off the ground, and have a curtain on the sides giving them a more private feeling.

We both had water with lemon to start. (We're on sort of a health kick these days.)
But we did enjoy the lovely bread basket that came to our table.
It had a nice assortment of breads including Italian and a Passione signature pizza bread. Also an olive assortment. Delicious.

 For our main courses, I started with the Chicken Francaise. It came with a side of pasta or salad and is served with tomato or marina sauce. I opted for the pasta with marinara sauce and ordered a mixed garden salad to start separately. The salad was small, but crisp and delicious. I also really enjoyed the creamy italian dressing I ordered it with.

The food presentation was impressive. The portion was large and my chicken came with a small mixed vegetable salad on the side as well as a delicious fried potato. Everything was tasty and fresh including the Francaise and marinara sauces.
The service was a bit slow, but we blamed it on the fact that the restaurant wasn't open very long. It's only been a few months. Once we got our food, we really didn't mind anyway.

Lauren had the Pappardelle Paisano. Grilled chicken with Broccoli Rabe, Tuscan garlic and oil sauce, and pasta ribbons. She nearly choked it down, she thought it was so good. Lauren described the dish as light, refreshing and not too filling.

The desserts looked great but as usual, we didn't have room to sample them.
All in all we rated Passione a solid 3.5 mints out of 5 on the Dinner Mint Scale.
We will definitely be coming back!

Also worth noting - the beautiful outdoor patio. Lauren and I had to peek on our way out. It's a pretty large area all lit up and has full waiter and waitress service. Definitely a great spot for a first date or romantic night out.

Passione Restaurant
231 Old Country Road
Carle Place, NY
516 741 4800 Passione on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 27, 2012

Bar Frites – Greenvale

Bar Frites, located at Wheatley Plaza in Greenvale, and just down the road from its sister restaurants: Bryant & Cooper Steakhouse, Toku Modern Asian and Cipollini Trattoria & Bar, will literally transport you to Northern France.

The restaurant’s antique mirrors, wooden tables, white tiled walls and big globe lights hanging from the gold colored tin ceiling match perfectly with the French bistro fare. Don’t fret if you are looking for an American favorite, they serve up awesome sliders, seafood and pasta dishes as well! Both indoor and outdoor seating is offered. However, the outdoor seating looks out onto the parking lot, so I’d recommend dining inside.

It’s now my third time dining at Bar Frites and EVERY time I receive efficient and friendly service from an inviting staff, delicious food and prices that are comparable to the quality. Looking for a traditional French dish? During my first dining experience at Bar Frites I ordered the Croque Monsieur with berkshire ham served with gruyere and mornay sauce. I felt like I was back in Paris – délicieux!

When I dined with Alex, friends and family, we started with an order of Mussels, Fried Calamari and the Mini Cheeseburger Sliders. Let’s just say none of the appetizers lasted long. It was a homerun all around with only positive comments being exchanged at the table. Even my brother, an annoyingly tough critic at times, said everything was delicious!

For my entrée, I ordered the classic French Dip, a piled high prime roast beef sandwich served on a fresh baguette along with mayo and au jus. On my “delectable list,” it’s right up there with Houston’s French Dip – my former ranking favorite out of the formal sit-down restaurants I have dined at on the Island.
Alex opted for the Wild Mushroom Pasta. He commented that it was well seasoned and he loved that it was chock full of spinach, tomato and mushrooms. I’ve previously had the Sliced Filet Mignon served with caramelized onions and pomme frites. The meat practically melted in my mouth. Splendid!

Alex and I topped off the meal by sharing the warm Apple Tarte Tatin served with vanilla ice cream and crème Anglaise… a perfect way to end a delicious meal and a splendid French bistro dining experience.

Though the restaurant gets a bit loud and the outdoor dining doesn’t provide a view, Bar Frites receives an impressive 4.5 out of 5 Dinner Mints on the Dinner Mint Scale.
Bar Frites on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 23, 2012

Cooperage Inn - Baiting Hollow

Walking into Cooperage Inn in Baiting Hollow, feels like walking into an older relative's cozy home.
The floral wallpaper, fireplaces, carpeting and extensive home style decor, will make you feel instantly relaxed. That's exactly the type of atmosphere Cooperage Inn is going for.
Lauren and I first came to Cooperage in the Fall. Everything was decorated with the warm colors of the season and the menu reflected the time of year as well.

We were immediately seated in a big open room, several feet from a live musician. While we looked through the very large menu, we were treated to some familiar cover songs.
Service was fast and a friendly waitress took our orders almost immediately.

Lauren started with the seasonal Butternut Squash Soup, which she found tasty and delicious. It was hot and creamy and tasted of the Fall season.
For a main course, Lauren went with the Pumpkin Ravioli. She described it as very good. She also said it was filling, although it does not appear to be a very big portion.
I ordered the Market Vegetable Primavera which is pasta Sautéed with carmelized garlic and olive oil, white wine and plum tomatoes. It was light, enjoyable and very filling. The meal also came with a fresh garden salad (always a nice perk) and I topped it off with an extremely delicious creamy garlic dressing. The salad was crisp and good. Both of our main meals came hot and left us very satisfied. We both commented several times on how comfortable we felt while eating. Unlike other restaurants we have been to, there was really nothing to distract us from enjoying our meals.
We both also found the Cooperage Inn to be very reasonable in terms of bang for your buck.

This summer month of July, Lauren and I went back and sat outside. This was a different experience entirely. We had the same great food, except we were on a little garden patio surrounded by a waterfall and an eclectic mix of decorations. We enjoyed the experience very much. But you will need to expect the service to be a little slower, since it takes the server time to go in and out from the restaurant.

This time, Lauren ordered one of their "Oversized Salads." She selected the Cooperage Inn Waldorf Salad which is chicken salad with celery, walnuts, red onions, mixed lettuce, diced apples and Mandarin oranges, creamy house dressing, toasted almonds and raisins. It was quite a combo. Lauren really loved every bite. She also commented on the real variety in the menu. People around us were eating everything from Lobster to Ribs, and Burgers to Salads. Cooperage Inn is one of those perfect family places where everyone can find something they'll enjoy on the menu.
For my main course this time, I had the Fusilli Rustica.
It is Sautéed chicken, sweet and hot sausage, onions, zucchini and yellow squash, plum tomato basil sauce, and melted fresh mozzarella. I found it to be really tasty, but definitely spicy. It's a great fresh mixture of ingredients, but make sure the person ordering really likes spicy food. The veggies and pasta were cooked perfectly, and the chicken and sausage were both really delicious.

Also to be noted, is the Sunday Breakfast Buffet. I can honestly say it's one of the best buffet's I have been to on Long Island. It comes complete with the usual carving and omelet stations, but really stands out in the dessert department. The buffet rooms has an entire spread of homemade muffins, cakes, pies and cookies. Each one delicious. It's really very standout. They also make a mean homestyle pot roast that I must have helped myself to 3 plates of.

Lauren and I give Cooperage Inn a hearty 4 mints - on the Dinner Mint Scale.

Cooperage Inn
Baiting Hollow
2218 Sound Ave
631-727-8994  Cooperage Inn on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

BiVio - East Northport

Bivio in Huntington is a cozy little Italian spot with a very home-style appeal. While Lauren was away on a recent trip, I tried this place out with my mom. We were greeted at the door as we walked in by the owner, who introduced himself immediately with a warm smile and a handshake. This place had already won us over. Bivio is small but nicely decorated and doesn't leave you feeling like you're eating on top of the person next to you. We passed the active bar on our left and were escorted into the main dining room on our right. There were a considerable amount of people there (always a good sign) and they even had a live musician.

Our friendly waitress read the specials and my mother and I both ordered wine. With the wine, a nice basket of warm bread and oil and some green olives. The olives are always a nice touch. 

We started with salads. I ordered the "Bivio" house salad - which was a combination of mixed greens,apples,candied pecans and tomatoes, tossed in a dijon mustard dressing. The mixtures was very interesting and pleasing to the palate. I really enjoyed the unique taste.
My mom went with the traditional Caesar salad which she said was very enjoyable.

For my main course, I selected the Pappardelle Bolognese - fresh homemade wide fettuccine in a meat sauce. The pasta was served al dente and tasted delicious. The pasta definitely had that fresh homestyle taste that you could only find at a place such as this. The portion was also very generous. 

My mom went with the Lobster Ravioli - Homemade ravioli in a pink sauce, which she said she liked. I could also tell she enjoyed it because she ate every last bite.

The service was spectacular and besides our waitress, we were also tended to by what seemed like an assistant manager, and a bus boy. Everyone was polite and seemed eager to answer questions and engage in conversation. In case you were wondering, Bivio means "Fork in the road," which seems appropriate for its location, here East Deer Park Road splits from East Jericho Turnpike. Also worth noting, Tues- Thursday are "special" nights with food and drink deals. And there is live music every Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Overall, I enjoyed the restaurant very much and could definitely see myself coming back. On the dinner mint scale, the restaurant scores a comfortable 3.5 dinner mints.

Bivio Ristorante Italiano 1801 East Jericho Turnpike Huntington, NY
631 499 0597 Bivio  on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Alex and Lauren Newsday Feature!

College friendship turns into food blog
Saturday June 2, 2012 10:03 AM By Erin Geismar 

Lauren Brookmeyer had just finished her workday and Alex Dollin would begin his overnight shift in a few hours. But in the meantime, the two college friends shared a meal at Venere in Westbury on Tuesday night for just a handful of hours they’d get to spend together that week — eating good food, catching up on each other’s lives and breaking up the workweek. They were both admittedly hungry and agreed the appetizer took too long to come to their table, but when it did, neither of them touched it. “That’s the first rule,” explained Dollin. “You can’t touch the food before we take a picture of it.” That picture, along with many others, and their well-thought out review of the restaurant, would appear a few days later on the pair’s blog, “Alex and Lauren Eat Long Island,” which has steadily gained a following since they launched it last year. Dollin and Brookmeyer commit one night a week to dining at a different restaurant on Long Island and reviewing it on their blog. They’ve been everywhere from Garden City to Mattituck and reviewed the full gamut of what the Island has to offer from burger joints to upscale dining. “We try to judge places by what they are trying to be,” said Brookmeyer, so the burgers at Jake’s Wayback Burger, in East Meadow, aren’t up against the filet mignon at Blackwell’s, a steakhouse in Wading River. Their ratings range from 1 to 5 dinner mints, the latter meaning exceptional. At dinner on Tuesday, they played by the rules. They photographed each dish before touching it, and talked casually about the presentation, the restaurant decor, the service and their meals as Dollin took notes. Brookmeyer commented that the bread basket could have been a little more substantial, Dollin pointed out that it included garlic knots. “He’s always a little more positive and I’m always a little more . . .” Brookmeyer began, defining their reviewing tendencies and sharing a laugh with her partner. They’re not trained or experienced food critics. Dollin is a producer at News 12 Long Island and Brookmeyer works in governmental relations for Long Island Power Authority, but after losing touch after college and reconnecting over “a huge Italian meal” one day last spring, they made the commitment to simply dine together and share their experience. “People get busy,” Brookmeyer said. “But you have to make a commitment to the things you love to do and the people you care about.”


Friday, June 22, 2012

SNAPS – Wantagh

With Alex catching up on some much needed rest, I decided to venture out to eat with my friend Jenna on the south shore. We headed to Snaps - a small neighborhood eatery in Wantagh serving up a HUGE selection of American bistro style fare with a twist. The atmosphere certainly didn’t wow me and the tables are a bit too close together for my liking. However, when the menu was presented to us, we were both blown away by the longggg list of options and the diverse variety of selections!

We each started off with a glass of wine. Jenna was excited to order the MOMA, Umberto Cesari. Of course, they were out! Certainly not a stellar start, which Jenna would like noted. However, we moved on to our appetizers and things began looking up. I ordered the Crispy Chicken Teriyaki Wontons served in a Thai vinaigrette with soba noodles. The chicken was crisp and seasoned well, but the overall dish lacked pizazz. Jenna ordered one of the special salads which included grilled peaches and goat cheese. She said it was delicious!

For my entrée, I selected the Pumpkin Seed Crusted Tilapia served over a bed of cranberry wild rice and roasted butternut squash sauce. The dish was nicely presented and the pumpkin seed crusted tilapia was pretty tasty. Jenna really enjoyed her salmon, which was one of the specials of the night.

The best part of the meal at Snaps? The dessert! My piping hot, Crunchy Cinnamon Churros drizzled with chocolate were absolutely scrumptious! Meanwhile, across the table, Jenna was ALL smiles as she dived into her Cannolis. If I ventured back to Snaps, I would definitely sample the Pumpkin Donut Bread Pudding… sounds amazing!

So what’s the overall review on Snaps?! While they get points for their large selection and wide variety of dishes, nothing about my meal really “WOW-ed” me. If you are in the Wantagh area and not sure where to go, it’s a solid choice. However, I wouldn’t be driving out of my way to check it out. I was tempted to give it 3.5 mints initially due to my obsession over the churros, but after further reflection and review (and keeping the prices in mind as well – not exactly cheap), Snaps receives 3 out of 5 Mints on the Dinner Mint Scale. Snaps on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sacramone's - East Meadow

Friendly, efficient service and delicious Italian cuisine makes this dining duo hopeful that Sacramone’s in East Meadow is here to stay. Almost lost amongst the traffic and crowded real estate on Hempstead Turnpike, this little Italian restaurant is worth the effort to find.

Alex and I started our meal off with Mama’s Old Fashion Pie – a delicious 10 inch thin crust pizza with hand cut mozzarella, virgin olive oil, basil and fresh homemade tomato sauce. I recently ventured into lower Manhattan to experience some serious slices of pizza on the NYC Pizza Tour. Let me tell ya, Sacramone’s pizza tastes like it came from Brooklyn or downtown NYC. Superb!

For his entrée, Alex ordered the Piccolo Vongole con Broccoli de Rape e Salsicci – small pasta shells served with sausage, garlic and oil. Alex said the dish was delicious! Not overly oily and the sausage was excellent. However, Alex noted that while his dish was excellent, it wasn’t quite worthy of being called “exceptional” on our rating scale. I agreed with his sentiment. I ordered one of their specials - a Sautéed Chicken Cutlet with sliced apples in apple Brandy. While very tasty and certainly satisfying, it was missing that “x” factor creating the mentality of “OMG, everyone MUST try this!” I think you’ve experienced the “x” factor before, right? Nevertheless, the entire meal was very enjoyable.

The atmosphere of Sacramone’s is plain and simple, but very clean and pleasant. One of the owners, Domenico, warmly greeted us and asked us about our dining experience, which was very much appreciated. Alex and I cannot say enough nice things about Domenico and his hardworking, friendly staff.

Overall, Sacramone’s receives 4 out of 5 Mints on the Dinner Mint Scale. DEFINITELY order the pizza! Well done!
Sacramone's Restaurant on Urbanspoon