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Showing posts from July, 2013

Xaga Sushi Asian Fusion - Merrick, New York

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On the advice of some of my co-workers who live in the Merrick area, we finally tried Xaga Sushi Asian Fusion a couple of weeks ago for lunch, and we were so glad we did. The South Shore's much larger, more aesthetically pleasing answer to Kotobuki (see my July 7 post), Xaga is a large, multi-level space that features heavily on colored lights after dark. Even several of the dishes incorporate colored lighting. I know it sounds ultra cheesy but the food is excellent and the service staff is incredibly friendly so it's easily forgivable.

Xaga's menu offers standard sushi fare but also features several creative appetizers, specialty rolls and hot dishes that set it apart from most other sushi restaurants. The service staff is also much more attentive and friendly than at most sushi places. Disclosure: both times we visited were either midday or early evening on a weekend, so they were not prime time. In any event, the following are highly recommended dishes:



Spicy Tuna Cracke…

Hendrick's Tavern - Roslyn, New York

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We visited the swanky Hendrick's Tavern for the second time last night, which is the latest addition to the Poll Restaurant group's collection of trendy North Shore hotspots dotted along Northern Boulevard and its vicinity (i.e. Toku, Bar Frites and Bryant & Cooper). Hendrick's is located right in the center of the historic and picturesque village of Roslyn - the site of so many of our favorite restaurants - across from the clock tower and the adorable independent movie theater. The restaurant is huge, with several different rooms and plenty of space for hosting a special event. According to the restaurant's website, it is the former home of Hendrick Onderdonk, built in 1740, and its prior incarnation was a longstanding restaurant called the George Washington Manor. 




I never visited the George Washington Manor, but according to several Yelp reviewers, Hendrick's attracts a decidedly younger and hipper crowd. The place is always packed, but luckily the bar area i…

The Iron Bridge Restaurant & Wine Company - Warrenton, VA

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Last weekend we had the pleasure of stumbling across The Iron Bridge Restaurant & Wine Company in the quaint town of Warrenton, Virginia, about an hour west of Washington, D.C., where we were staying for a friend's wedding at nearby Morais Vineyards.
In a town mostly dominated by chains like Longhorn Steakhouse, Chick-Fil-A and Ruby Tuesday, The Iron Bridge was such a treat.



The Iron Bridge is a serious wine bar and foodie haven, without being snobby or pretentious about it. According to their website, they feature 300 bottles of wine and 30 by the glass. They specialize in small vineyard wines and make sure to charge reasonable prices to their guests.

The interior of the restaurant is quite impressive - although very narrow, it spans three levels, which includes a rooftop lounge and a wrap-around "bridge" on the second level, where you can look down into the first level. On the lower, cellar level they offer wine tastings (on Thursday, the night we were there the ta…

Grimaldi's Pizza - Garden City, NY

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Grimaldi's is one of our regular spots, and it's easy to understand why - if you are looking for classic, old-school, coal-fired, brick-oven New York pizza, this is the only place to go in Long Island. And we are lucky enough to live five minutes away!

The original Grimaldi's is located under the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn. It is famous for its long lines and "no slice" rule - meaning you can only order whole pies, not slices. I must admit I have not visited the Brooklyn location but I am told the pizza at the other Grimaldi's locations are comparable. I have been to Lombardi's on Spring St. in Manhattan, known as the first pizza place in the U.S., and Grimaldi's pizza is on par in quality and style.




What makes Grimaldi's pizza so great is the simplicity, quality of the ingredients and the perfect texture and flavor to the crust that you can only get from a coal-brick oven. The crust is very thin, with a nice olive-oil flavor to it, just chewy en…

The Smith - New York, NY (Midtown)

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The Smith will always hold a special place in my heart since my husband and I ate there the night he proposed to me. It was a beautiful December evening!

The Smith can best be described as a bustling, American-style bistro with a cheeky sense of humor. It is a fun, casual place which features American comfort food with a twist.

The Smith has three Manhattan locations; we have only dined at the Midtown location on 2nd Avenue.
My cousin and her family were visiting from California and were staying nearby, so we decided to take them there for dinner last night.

Upon walking into the restaurant, after using all your strength to open the heavy, wrought-iron doors, you notice the black and white tile floors, subway tile walls and lots of activity. The friendly hostesses are on your right behind a tall wooden hostess stand, and the large wooden bar is off to your left. There are several banquettes in the dining room, as well as standard wooden tables with classic vinyl-covered bistro chairs.…

Kotobuki - Roslyn, New York

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Kotobuki is hands down my favorite sushi restaurant not just in Long Island, but anywhere. We recently discovered a place that gives it a run for its money, but that is for a different day and a different blog posting ...

Kotobuki is a no-frills, straight-up sushi restaurant where it's all about the food. Located in a small, unassuming, simple space in a shopping center on Old Northern Boulevard in Roslyn, the place is usually bursting at the seams with hungry diners huddled in the waiting room and often spilling out onto the sidewalk. Even though this restaurant is located in the well-heeled North Shore town of Roslyn, the atmosphere is super casual so you will feel comfortable in flip-flops and a tank top on a hot summer day, and jeans and Ugg boots in the winter. The service staff is friendly and efficient, but the food can take a while to appear when they are busy. However, the food is so good that it's worth it. There are now four Kotobuki locations, three in Long Island …