By Alexander Voses
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic still raging through the world, some, myself included, may be apprehensive about sitting inside a restaurant for an entire meal. However, this doesn’t mean we all have to keep eating instant noodles or home cooking. I tried four local take-out restaurants to provide you with some fine suggestions of safe eats. These were restaurants I thought had exemplary take-out, which is a much safer option than eating in-person.
Centre Pizza is located in the Little Neck Plaza and offers everything from your standard slice to a ravioli slice to a salad slice. I enjoyed one calzone and a Sicilian slice for this review.
The calzone was stuffed with breaded chicken, cheese and tomato sauce. The downfall of most calzones is the dough around the filling, which is usually incredibly flimsy or overbearingly thick. This calzone struck the perfect balance, holding the filling firmly, while not being too doughy.
The Sicilian slice was covered with an abundant amount of cheese and a healthy amount of tomato sauce that wasn’t too overpoweringly acidic. The crust wasn’t too thick and had a crisp bottom that added a crackling texture.
Located on Great Neck Road, Masago offers Japanese cuisine for affordable prices, including a 50% discount on many items ordered online.
The California Roll, a good standard measure of quality, was well balanced. The rice formed a nice winter jacket to protect the roll from the brisk weather we were experiencing but didn’t stifle it. The bright contrast of the radish red crab, the Hulk green of the avocado and the more subdued tones of the cucumber made for quite the visually striking experience. Often, California rolls are underwhelmed by a particularly bland cucumber or greying avocado, but this roll pulled off the juggling act flawlessly. The Golden Spider roll was a perfect contrast of textures. The smooth avocado and sushi rice melded with the crisp fried exterior that gave the crab a delectable second shell. The Crazy Friday roll was full of flavor provided by its plethora of ingredients but was not as wild as the name might suggest. The spicy lobster mix doesn’t bring a huge amount of heat, so it initially joins in disguise, a dollop wedged between the tempura and the seaweed stealthily stored in wait. When you take a bite, however, you are instantly alerted to its presence. It won’t clear out your nostrils, but its chunky texture and flavor brings both a bit of sweet and heat that guarantee enjoyment. The shrimp tempura was crisp and fresh; the topper of fish eggs tied the entire dish together with a salty burst of flavor.
Wild Fig, located in the Lake Success Shopping Center, is a fantastic option for anyone who loves a customizable plate and Mediterranean cuisine.
My plate consisted of falafels, rice, feta, hummus, spicy feta dip, and a cucumber-tomato salad. Every plate comes with a piece of freshly baked bread. As you have surely guessed by now, the amount of food is incredibly generous. If you feel overwhelmed by all of the choices you’ll have to make, don’t worry. There are some “favorite” plates that you can choose from without all of the pressure.
Wild Fig’s customizable bowls are like a party, and the ingredients are various guests, milling about and interacting in exciting new ways. The falafel wanders over to join a conversation between the spicy feta and hummus, bringing along a little something to spice things up. The rice is practically dripping with butter; when combined with a lemon and oil dressing it becomes a salty, tangy, smooth treat. The cucumber-tomato salad was vibrant and made for a fantastic sandwich when combined with some of the bread, falafel and feta. The wide variety and ample amount of food provided allows for mixing and matching, so you can continually find new combinations as the meal progresses.
Sid’s All American
Sid’s All American has the best burgers on Long Island and is worth the trek out to Glen Cove. Everything from the pattie itself to the toppings to the bun are crafted to perfection. Anyone who considers themselves a burger fan owes it to themselves to check out Sid’s at least once. Outdoor seating is also available, so you can take advantage of it while the fall weather lasts.
My order of choice is a burger topped with mushrooms and American cheese with a serving of Cajun fries on the side. The burger is thin and tightly packed, the perfect vessel for as many toppings as your heart desires. The thin sliced mushrooms and American cheese were both delicious and well complemented by the bun and burger on either side.
If you aren’t familiar with Cajun fries, you may take one look and assume they’re just a mouth-scorching supplement to your meal. However, Sid’s Cajun fries offer a complex variety of spices that is never overpowering and packs just the right amount of heat. These fries aren’t the in-your-face heavy metal concert in your mouth when compared with something that actually ranks on the scoville scale but are in no way a simple country jamboree. The most apt comparison would be to Cajun culture itself. A blend of spices matches the blend of French, American, and African cultures. The subtle pops of salt and pepper are akin to the bubbly tin-tins of a washboard and the notes of a fiddle. The fries are crispy and small, making them perfect for trying any dipping sauces you order with your meal.
I also sampled the fried chicken slider to see how their other sandwich option stacked up. The chicken slider on its own was enjoyable, if a bit standard. Sort of like reading a book you know isn’t peak literature but is still a fun, if derivative, ride. When combined with the signature Sid’s Sauce, however, this sandwich pops like a page-turning novel you can’t put down. I did not put it down, in fact; once it was in my hands, I devoured it in just a few seconds. The contrast of the buttery smoothness of the chicken with the salted and fried exterior and smoky dipping sauce made for quite the dynamic cast of characters. The hints of tomato and zestiness define the sauce for me.This combination of a smoky dip with juicy fried chicken is enough to send any fan of fried chicken straight to heaven.
For my final item I chose to get a little adventurous. Latkes. While this isn’t typical burger-joint fare, Sid’s does it just about as well as everything else on its menu. The latke isn’t too heavily salted and has an almost sweet taste, while not crossing the line out of savory territory.
From burgers to pizza and sushi to falafels, my restaurant journey took me to some very exciting places. This is an especially tough time for many businesses, as it is for all of us, and any help you can give will surely be appreciated. If there are any local, or Long Island in general, restaurants you think deserve a shoutout, please write in, and it may be featured on our social media.