Dining on Long Island is always an embarrassment of riches, no matter what year it is, and 2017 was no different.
The year began with the most important meal of the day—breakfast—and the most important breakfast item at any local deli or bodega—a bacon, egg and cheese on a roll. The search for the best BEC saw this food writer narrow down his list to four local favorites for various qualities—Adelphi Deli in Garden City, Mineola Park Deli, Village Heros in Syosset and Hanstedt Deli in Plainview. Adelphi had the creamiest egg yolk, Village Heros piled on the most bacon, Hanstedt boasted the gooiest cheese and Mineola Park provided the best bang for the buck—all deliver the essential BEC experience.
Staying mobile and merging into the food truck lane brought me to Ralphie’s Crossroads Cafe on the Long Island Expressway in Plainview. Parked in the lot of a fabric store near exit 48, Ralphie’s is a food truck that specializes in meat-stuffed sandwiches, unique creations and even a few sweet dessert options, all served quickly at a fair price by the man himself, the gregarious Ralphie, and his supporting cast of cooks. Whether it’s breakfast served on a donut-French toast hybrid known as the Fronut or a steak sandwich or even a carrot cake, Ralphie’s brings an appreciative tear to the eye of the most seasoned eater.
Turning west, we stop at The Rex Burger & Lobster on Jericho Turnpike in Mineola for straight-from-the-sea freshness of delectable, buttery lobster rolls packed with hand-shucked tail, claw and knuckle meat. Beyond that, the Rex serves American classics including a West Coast-style burger; an impossibly crunchy chicken sandwich, regular or spicy; a fried fish fillet sandwich that embarrasses the fast-food variety; and a sensually tender filet mignon sandwich. Add top-notch fries with dynamic dips, the Rex is a must-eat island stop.
The last notable stop takes us out to the Bronx for a late-summer ballgame at Yankee Stadium. While both local ball clubs deliver some of the best eats in the New York sports arena, the Yankees finish just ahead of the Mets with options including Mighty Quinn’s BBQ, Bareburger, Lobel’s and Chinese bao buns. The Lobel’s meatloaf burger was perhaps the stadium’s most eye-opening bite, as it absolutely nails everything great about the end piece of a meatloaf. Mighty Quinn’s goes yard with a brisket sandwich and incredible smoked wings.
It was a year of glorious eats—here’s hoping for an even more gluttonous year in 2018. For all of our food reviews, visit Long Island Weekly Restaurant Reviews.