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Metro’s Best of 2010 - Long Island

From one end of the Island to the other, we covered every hot spot in 2010.

Restaurants & bars

Best Italian restaurant to celebrate fall:
Kitchen A Trattoria

532 New York 25A, St. James
631-584-3518
If you’re looking for a reason to celebrate the melancholy season of fall, look no further than a plate of ravioli stuffed with autumnal butternut squash at Kitchen A Trattoria. Pulling inspiration from his own backyard garden, head chef and owner Eric Lomando often explores local farms searching for the latest in freshness and flavor. You’ll need a reservation, but the handmade pasta filled with sweet and nutty squash that dissolves on the tongue is well worth the preparation. –Lorenzo Tijerina


Best dive bar for a burger and beer:
Karl’s Pub

2819 North Jerusalem Rd.
East Meadow
516-785-8427
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name — but you might also want a great cheeseburger, too. “Cheers” was great and all, but Sam Malone never served up a burger like the fresh patties of perfection at Karl’s Pub in East Meadow. Come for the 5- or 8-ounce burgers made to order by chef Brian Koehl, and stay for a beer poured by sailor-mouthed bartender Randi (just Randi). An ideal mix of seediness, flavor and hospitality makes Karl’s Pub the perfect spot for taking away all your worries. –Lorenzo Tijerina

Best feast for fish lovers:
Bigelow’s

79 North Long Beach Rd., Rockville Centre
516-678-3878
www.bigelows-rvc.com
Owner Russ Bigelow brought his perfected art of fish-frying — honed after working in various hotels across New England — to Rockville Centre in 1939. The traditions at this cash-only eatery have not much changed since then. Fried items, especially Ipswich (soft shell) clams, are the specialty — and kids will go crazy for many of the items on the menu. –Meredith Engel

Best investment of your spare change:
All-American Hamburger

4286 Merrick Rd., Massapequa
516-798-9574
www.allamericanhamburger.us
No item on the menu at this retro burger joint is over $5.25 (and that’s for the butterfly shrimp — by far the priciest item there). Dig through your pockets for just over $5 at this drive-in and get yourself a juicy burger, thick shake and side of perfectly crisp fries. Hot dogs, grilled cheese and other American classics are also available. –Meredith Engel

Best place for real Mexican food:
Oaxaca Mexican Food Treasure

385 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-547-1232
Like boxer Julio Cesar Chavez, this small Mexican restaurant packs a real punch. Owner and head cook Alejandro Gonzalez learned his craft in his hometown of Mexico City, but honed his skills in Long Island. The aptly named Oaxaca Mexican Food Treasure has been delivering a tried-and-true lineup of dishes that have stayed faithful to their Mexican roots for nearly 15 years. While the decor is not as fancy as Gonzalez’s newer, larger restaurant, Quetzalcoatl, the staff is intuitive and attentive, and patrons often find themselves enjoying a slice of complimentary tres leches by the end of their night. –Lorenzo Tijerina

Best chicken cutlet (that’s even better than mom’s):
Ferring Delicatessen

1181 Grand Ave., Baldwin
516-538-8655
www.ferringdeli.com
The long line on any given morning will let you know you’re in the right place, but breakfast isn’t this German deli’s only specialty. All of the food here — from the classic sandwiches and creamy potato salad to the made-like-mom’s fruit pies — is definitely worth a try, but it’s the breaded chicken cutlet that’s top-notch. Perfect for kids and adults, it’s a magical mix of light and hearty — a tantalizing treat for the taste buds. –Meredith Engel

Most unexpectedly delicious pizza topping:

Cold cheese at Little Vincent’s Pizza
329 New York Ave., Huntington, 631-423-9620
Pizza enthusiasts are often split between their loyalties to the hot and cold slice, but at Little Vincent's in Huntington, you can get the best of both worlds. Ask for a cold cheese slice and the staff will sprinkle a liberal amount of freshly shredded mozzarella right on top of your piping-hot pizza. It’s a double-whammy of cheesy goodness that plays games with temperature and taste, drawing a steady flow of packed crowds into the wee hours of the morning. –Josh Wigler

Arts, lifestyle and entertainment

Best Venue to catch up-and-coming bands:
Mr. Beery’s

4019 Hempstead Tpke, Bethpage
516-579-7049
www.mrbeerys.com
A recent review on Yelp may sum it up best: “The place I went to appeared to be dirty and filled with social misfits.” Mike C. goes on to say, “Hide your daughters.” If that isn’t a ringing endorsement for an indie rock venue, then rock ’n’ roll isn’t what it used to be. The tattooed clientele are good-intentioned, the staff are friendly and the taps are numerous. The bands are hit-or-miss, but discovering the next big thing is a process — and Mr. Beery’s is a great first step. –Lorenzo Tijerina

Greatest Spot For Caffeinated Psychic Readings:
The Cup

3268 Railroad Ave., Wantagh 516-826-9533
www.thecupcoffeehouse.com
This South Shore coffee shop is a cozy and comforting spot, filled to the brim with delicious drinks like the Cafe Viennese and the Raspberry Mocha Cocoa. All it takes is one sip to know you’re home. As if the beverages weren’t enough of a draw, The Cup also offers psychic readings on Monday nights, open-mic nights every Wednesday and art galleries rotating on a monthly basis — resulting in a cultural tour de force to go with your cup o’ joe. –Josh Wigler

Best art house cinema with the most diverse fare:
Cinema Arts Centre

423 Park Ave., Huntington
631-423-7611
www.cinemaartscentre.org
This Huntington art house not only showcases films you can’t find at the local multiplex, but also holds Q&As, book-signings and live broadcasts from both the Metropolitan Opera and the National Theatre of London. There are various levels of membership, though one does not need to be a member to partake in Cinema Arts Centre’s diverse offerings. –David Gordon

Best sweeping views with a sense of history:
Montauk Lighthouse

2000 Montauk Highway, Montauk
631-668-2544
www.montauklighthouse.com
Commissioned by George Washington in 1792, Long Island’s oldest lighthouse is still in service. Climb up the narrow stairs to get a broad sight of where the ocean meets the Sound, and learn about Long Island’s rich history at the Lighthouse museum. –Meredith Engel

Best spot to celebrate the wine harvest:
Paumanok Vineyards

1074 Main Rd., Aquebogue
631-722-8800
www.paumanok.com
While there is plenty of fun to be had on the forks when it’s time to harvest grape crops, Paumanok offers an intimate experience that’s truly unique. Winemaker Charles Massoud gives the celebration a personal touch, sharing his wife’s one-of-a-kind onion tarts, a German delicacy that goes great with fermenting grape juices. Add a little live music and some oysters and you’ve got the recipe for a sophisticated, yet informal celebration that will delight the palate and linger long in the memory. –Lorenzo Tijerina

Best excuse to puke:
Adventureland Amusement Park

2245 Broad Hollow Rd., Farmingdale
631-694-6868
www.adventureland.us
If you’re going to toss chunks, might as well do it in style. No, that’s not Adventureland’s official slogan, but it certainly applies when you take rides like the Hurricane Coaster and the Pirate Ship into consideration. A Long Island mainstay, Adventureland has embedded itself in the lives of so many locals, culminating in a 2009 film devoted to the park. Between thrilling rides and family friendly activities, Adventureland has a lot of love to give. –Josh Wigler

Best Long Island theater where you’re likeliest to see a Broadway star:
John W. Engeman Theater

250 Main St., Northport
631-261-2900
www.johnwengemantheater.com
The Engeman was Northport’s first movie house, built in 1912. It was rechristened as a performing arts theater in 2006 and has been producing professional, Broadway-style productions — with Equity union actors — ever since. They’ve staged everything from “Rent” to “Fiddler on the Roof,” which starred Eddie Mekka from “Laverne & Shirley” as Tevye. This season opened with “Damn Yankees” featuring Broadway favorites Andre de Shields and Felicia Finley, and continues with “The Sound of Music.” –David Gordon

 
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