Being a publisher of a media company with outlets online and in print in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, I have the joyous opportunity of meeting great people from those areas and visiting many restaurants in those communities.
This past week, I went from Italian food in Brooklyn to Chinese food in Queens to an American sports bar-restaurant on Long Island, each unique in its own way and highly recommended.
DINING IN BROOKLYN
My friend, Toni Yuillle Williams, works for Con Edison in Brooklyn, and we met for lunch at the DeKalb Market, adjacent to a street I walked along throughout my childhood since my dad had a store on Fulton Street that’s now a Shake Shack. For years, I worked at his store when I was in school and loved visiting it often. After working, my dad would let me walk down Fulton Street, where major department stores drew me in and down as far as Flatbush Avenue where it intersects with DeKalb Avenue.
Today a massive, 30-story building called City Point houses a food mall downstairs; upstairs, there is a Century 21, Target and Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, a unique seven-screen movie theater that serves food while you are enjoying the movie. More stores are coming, and it is a happening place.
Downstairs, Toni and I met at Fortina, famous for its wood-fired pizza and foods cooked in its ovens. This is the chain’s first venture in New York City, having multiple locations in Westchester. The owners have invested dearly in creating a warm, inviting environment using wood and dim lighting to set it apart from the bustling DeKalb Market food hall. I could probably spend every day eating at the 40 different choices including my all-time favorite pastrami heaven, Katz’s from Manhattan. I resisted but I will be back.
Our meal at Fortina was an arugula salad enhanced by pistachio, lemon and shaved Parmesan with wood-roasted chicken that was the juiciest, tenderest and tastiest chicken I ever had. It must be from being cooked in the wood-burning ovens. It’s a must eat place!
We shared one of Fortina’s famous mouth-watering pizzas, the Luigi Bianco, $22 but worth every dollar. It’s topped with burrata, robiolona, Parmesan cheese and black truffle oil. We both found room to eat it after big salads and take seconds. It was so good!
With the mall open seven days a week, it’s a great destination for food, fun and shopping for you and your family.
ON TO FLUSHING
Then, one evening, I invited members of the Roslyn Chamber of Commerce to join me at Flushing’s famous New Mulan Restaurant (136-17 39th Ave.), famous for its Cantonese cuisine.
The men I met with have a “club” called the Chinese Quest, (www.thechinesequest.com), meeting monthly at Chinese restaurants to find and rate them. Being proud of the great places for Chinese food in Flushing, they were happy to join me at the New Mulan.
We had the pleasure of dining in one of its private dining rooms that has a large round table with a lazy Susan rotating glass top set for 12 people. The room is set off with two TVs on the walls and a stunning sculptured lighting fixture on the ceiling, creating an elegant environment. My guests, all aficionados of Chinese food, admitted they had never eaten in such a beautiful environment with such superb service. They also loved the food! You will, too.
ON TO LONG ISLAND
I was introduced to a popular, old-fashioned, local restaurant, Legends on Broadway (646 South Broadway, Hicksville), an American bar and grill in Hicksville down the block from the famous IKEA store on Broadway. The bustling place, located in a strip shopping center next to a beauty parlor and a bakery, had plenty of free parking.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there are changing weekend specials chosen by the chef, and every Monday and Tuesday is Italian night. Wednesday is steak night and Thursday is lobster night.
We were there on a Friday night and tried the specials. We began with a crunchy baby kale Caesar salad with sliced red onion, chopped tomatoes and capers, all tossed in a rich and tasty Caesar dressing. Then I chose the salmon pappardelle, which was my favorite salmon, tossed with zucchini ribbons and shiitake mushrooms in a roasted garlic dill cream. It was delicious and plentiful enough to take home leftovers. One of my companions had the chef’s trio of lobster, succulent flat iron steak and shrimp presented with perfectly creamy mashed potatoes with crunchy string beans.
My other friend ordered from the regular menu, selecting a thickly packed steak and melted cheese sandwich on a long, crispy roll served with the crunchiest French fried potatoes I’ve ever eaten.
The restaurant is famous for its wide variety of draft beers from the famous Guinness draught to local beers from Port Jefferson to Greenport to Montauk. You can visit Long Island through its beers!
There are as many wines to choose from and on Italian night, the wine is only $5 a glass.
From Brooklyn, to Queens, to Long Island, there is dining to delight every pocket and every palate. Try it. You, too, will love it!