There are very few places remaining on Long Island that make you forget your time and place and transport your back to a simpler time in history. Davenport Press Restaurant in Mineola is one of those magical treasure spots.
The Davenport Building was built in 1896 as the Nassau County Trust. In 1924 it became the Davenport Press and remained a printing press until 1978 when its present owners converted it to a restaurant. The Davenport Building is rich with history. The dining rooms’ exposed interior brick are lined with shelves of antiques. And the subtle rumble of the train passing by just feet away from the building is charming and adds plenty of character to this dining experience.
If you are a true foodie, you will likely have trouble making a quick decision from this expansive menu. In addition to its permanent menu, Davenport Press offers a wide variety of daily specials based on market demand and availability of specialty menu items.
To start, enjoy a specialty cocktail such as the espresso martini with Van Gogh espresso vodka, Bailey’s Irish cream and coffee ($13) or a glass of wine from the comprehensive regional wine list.
The wait staff is attentive, friendly and knowledgeable about the dozens of items on the menu. Many of the employees have been with Davenport Press for decades and in some instances, since nearly the day it opened its doors. There’s a great attribution to the establishment when its staff has such tenure.
Try the sweet glazed coconut shrimp ($15) or the Little Neck clams (oreganato, casino-style or on the half shell, $13). The clams are shucked freshly when ordered. Another specialty appetizer that is an occasional daily special is the grilled octopus brought in fresh from Portugal ($16). It’s perfectly grilled with a little bit of char. A pleasant surprise with this appetizer is that it is not only the tentacle, but a portion of head cavity that is also perfectly grilled and full of flavor.
Soups & Salads
You can never go wrong with a classic wedge salad ($15) topped with bacon and chunky bleu cheese dressing or a classic Caesar with house-made dressing, garlic croutons and Parmigiano cheese ($11). And not every restaurant gets this classic right, but do choose the onion soup au gratin ($8). It is a classic soup, rich and flavorful, packed with onions and French bread and the delightfully melted and toasty Swiss cheese blanket.
Entrées are served with a choice of two sides (basmati rice, mashed potatoes, French fries, baked potato or seasonal vegetable). You can substitute your vegetable with sautéed spinach or broccoli rabe (for an additional $6).
As if the standard menu items like crab and cashew crusted bronzino ($31) or the chicken Davenport ($23) are not difficult enough to choose from, you may get lucky with a comprehensive daily special like roasted prime rib ($49) or sauerbraten with handmade potato pancakes and pickled red cabbage ($26). When you do find sauerbraten on the menu, anywhere, consider it deeply. It is a traditional German roast, heavily marinated, thinly sliced and topped with gravy. Not everyone makes it and even less make it perfectly.
Dive into a delectable chocolate mousse, pecan pie, cheesecake, tiramisu or rice pudding to round out the meal.
Davenport Press Restaurant is located at 70 Main St. in Mineola, just steps away from the Mineola train station. Come cozy up by the large fireplace for a delicious meal or well-deserved drink after a long day’s work.
The Press is open for lunch on weekdays from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and for dinner on Mondays through Thursday from 4:30 to 10 p.m., on Friday from 4:30 to 11 p.m., on Saturday from noon to 11 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 9 p.m.
Visit www.davenportpress.com or call 516-248-8300 for menus, reservations and more information.