Wayne French Kitchen says “Bonjour” to The South Shore…

If you’re a Long Islander like me you may be starting to grow weary of seeing the same exact kinds of food spots opening these days. I speak mostly of the sushi and pizza joints popping up on every corner. I call it pasta fatigue. I count over 12 of these specific spots in my little enclave of Oceanside alone.

While I love them all to death, I did find it very refreshing when, several months ago, I saw a new type of cuisine open up in the neighborhood.

French cuisine is not something we have prototypically seen on the island; at least not in the same robust numbers we see other eateries open — as the flood of new restaurants openings in the last year continues. In that time we have seen French food become increasingly more commonplace, especially with the resurgence of brunch on the public consciousness.

Enter Wayne French Kitchen. Boasting prime real estate on the heart of Long Beach Road in Oceanside, this French-style eatery opens with a sizable bar area and an elegant dining room.

I first dined at Wayne for Sunday brunch last week. The fare was typical for brunch — several Eggs Benedict options, the decadent Croque Madame, avocado toast; simple, but with that undeniable French influence. I speak of the croques in particular. A ham and cheese sandwich on steroids with a Parisian flare. And the madame — a treasure — yolkporn in all its goosebumps-inducing goodness.

Eggs are certainly a specialty of theirs, as I had never seen such a perfectly beautiful poached egg in my entire life. It sat on a bed of smoked salmon and an English muffin, beckoning me to cut it open and release the cascade of yolk — ultimately to be collected by the muffin it lies upon.

Eggs Benedict: Norwegian

The Frisée Aux Lardons salad (pictured above) is another perfect example of eggs done right; as the thick cut bacon and creamy, intense blue cheese pairs perfectly with the yolk, taking this salad to a whole other level! (This may be my favorite salad anywhere!)

Several dishes I sampled were undeniably delicious, undeniably French and most certainly had some incredible “Cheesepull.” I talk of the flavorsome French Onion Soup and Croque Monsieur (pictured below). The soup was particularly spectacular; both the broth and golden cheese crust hiding the oniony goodness below. The Croque was extra cheesy, as the following video can attest.

French Onion Soup

Between the delicious new cuisine I sampled, the immaculate service and unpretentious atmosphere — I highly suggest a visit to Wayne French Kitchen for your next weekend Brunch. I have already returned to indulge in their dinner menu, so be on the lookout for my next post!

Creme Brûlée

Stop by Wayne French Kitchen in Oceanside this week and mention The_Fork_Lift for 10% off your meal; check out their menu here.

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Long Island’s Newest Noodle Spot…

I was fortunate enough to have recently dined at a very unique and exciting new Long Island eatery. Utilizing a mix of American, Asian and European influences, the Ren Wen Noodle Factory in Great Neck truly has a proprietary taste and concept, even within the city of a million and one restaurants! I’m not lying when I say I have never tried anything quite like the dishes at Ren Wen, starting with their “Crushed Cukes” salad, pictured below.

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Crushed Cukes Salad:
Crushed Cucumbers & French Breakfast Radishes, RW Vinaigrette, Mint, Cilantro, Sichuan Peppercorn Oil, Crushed Peanuts

My meal featured a true mix of several diverse Asian cuisines. First — Korean, by way of the honey and vanilla soaked bbq ribs paired with a perfect Kimchi. The sauce was delicious, sticky and the meat — fall-off-the-bone tender.

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Sticky Ribs:
Honey Powder, Madagascar Vanilla, RW Sticky Sauce

The next dish featured another fusion of Chinese flavors in their sweet and flakey Baossant”, a Bao-croissant super hybrid. The Baossant is an unreal amalgamation of a Chinese bao and a French croissant, with sweet honey and savory pork baked inside — cross continental bliss. 

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Baossant:
Croissant Roll, Lightning Pork, Honey, Sesame Seeds

And then came the noodles! Italy meets China with their signature “Lightning Pork” Noodle Bowl. Traditional Ramen noodles are pressed together and made to look like Italian fettuccini, which is then mixed with minced pork, sichuan peanuts and appears similar to a typical ragu. The pressed ramen looks and feels like Italian pasta, however there is an unmistakeable Asian taste and influence with each bite; really living up to its “Noodle Factory” namesake. They also had a nice variety of both saucy and traditional soup bowls to select from.

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Lightning Pork Noodle Bowl:
10 Piece Noodles, Minced Pork, Gochujang, Vidalia Onion, Sichuan Peanuts

The dishes over at Ren Wen Noodle Factory are not just gastro fusion, they are wholly new creations brought to life by a passionate kitchen and an eye for fresh, interesting ingredients. The next dish, Shanghai Tacos, features a blend of Mexican AND Korean for a wild taco that boasts both a Kimchi Crema AND Queso Fresco!

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Shanghai Tacos:
Lightning Pork || Sichuan Peanuts, Pickled Carrots, Kimchi Crema, Queso Fresco

The meal is topped off with a delectable and whimsical finish. A warm, fresh baked brown butter + chocolate chip cookie, magically infused with Madagascar vanilla.  Another wild mix of cultures, involving Indian and African ingredients, with a playful American sensibility. It is rightfully paired alongside a sweet milk blended with All Spice; a perfect complement for dunking.

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The Chocolate Chippy Cookie:
Brown Butter, Dark Chocolate, Madagascar Vanilla

In summation, the meal, from start to finish, was truly unique and spectacular. It not only looks perfect, more importantly, it tastes great as well. The menu is unlike anything else around, I can promise you that much. They are really putting a twist on the traditional noodle culture currently overtaking the city foodscape. Overall, I highly recommend stopping by Great Neck and visiting the newest noodle spot on Long Island, Ren Wen Noodle Factory!

To visit their website and check out their menu, click here.

 

Written by Adam Giladi

The Fork Lift

A Busy Time at KarVér!

(Blog post written for KarVér Hospitality)

It has been a busy Fall season here at KarVér. Autumn has seen the start of new and exciting programs aimed to enhance the overall KarVér experience. We first launched our dinner and brunch services in September to critical acclaim from both local residents and influential outlets such as The New York Times and Brooklyn Daily.
KarVér then hit the ground running in October with the introduction of both a Breakfast and Lunch menu. Featuring many of your KarVér favorites, these menus will include some crave-able new dishes that will hopefully have you coming back for more. The menus, in addition to dinner and brunch, will now be available in both the Brasserie and via delivery as well.

Our Delivery/Takeout service is now available Monday-Friday from 8AM-2PM for Breakfast/Lunch, Monday-Sunday from 5-10PM for Dinner, and weekends from 10AM-3PM for Brunch. You and your family can now enjoy the great taste of KarVér’s wide array of locally-sourced menu items from the comfort of your home! It’s ideal for an at-work lunch or even a one-of-a-kind brunch in bed! To place an order, give us a call at 718.521.2777 or order online here. Be sure to keep a look out for the KarVér branded Fiat 500 delivering Eggs Benedict to a neighborhood near you! And if you happen to see our delivery car cruising around, snap a picture, post it, and tag us with #Karverbrasserie for a free cup of coffee on your next visit!

28378192_1887511918154955_4823859837341750937_nAlso, the launch of our Happy Hour makes KarVér the go-to spot “by the bay” for a post work cocktail or beer, from 4-7PM, Monday through Friday. Click here to view our Happy Hour Menu .

If you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or perhaps throwing a holiday party, look no further than KarVér’s sparkling, beautiful brasserie. We will sit down with you to plan a custom dining experience for you and your guests. Choose from one of three delicious menus (attractively priced at $55, $75 and $95 per person) and the KarVér culinary team and staff will take care of your every need. For more information on our special events services, please call 718.521.2777 and click here to view menus.

Our Bakery Café will now be open Monday-Friday from 7AM-10PM and on Saturday/Sunday from 8AM-11PM. We will also begin featuring Acai bowls in our grab+go section, with your choice of fresh fruit and assorted toppings. Please check these new items out!

karver.com

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“Brunch: Exciting Culinary Statement”

(Blog post written for KarVér Hospitality)

There’s an old saying that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, clearly they must not have known about brunch! Brunch has become engrained in the public consciousness in recent years, but its creation is nothing new. Its origins stem from English writer Guy Beringer, who unintentionally founded brunch in 1896 when he proposed combining breakfast and lunch as a remedy to his Sunday morning hangover. He wrote, “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings.” We believe that same sentiment rings true today.

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Contemporary brunch has become the laboratory of culinary innovation. Long gone are the days of only scrambled eggs vs. pancakes on weekends. Today’s modern brunch offers a wide variety of delicious options, as is evident in KarVér’s eclectic menu.

An array of classic breakfast items such as Eggs Benedict and Omelettes are featured, but with an infusion of traditional brasserie fare by way of the sweet and savory croques. (To learn more about croques, click here.) Each croque is generously stuffed with banana, or features ham and gruyère, or even smoked salmon and capers — with Osetra caviar on the side for a splurge! Whatever your mood, there is a croque for you.

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And who could forget our avocado toast? A beautifully fresh dish which we take great pride in. Our culinary team starts with freshly-toasted Sourdough bread, spread with the star of the show, a perfectly ripe avocado; but here is where things take a turn for the amazing. On top, a beautifully poached egg is placed, just sitting there waiting to be broken into. The dish is then finished with heirloom tomatoes and delicate, handmade ricotta cheese. Every inch of this dish is a simple yet stunning masterpiece that you will hesitate to ruin — but ultimately, you won’t be able to resist!

Brunch in 2017 has become something of a culinary statement. Why have breakfast or lunch when you can combine these two meal periods into something truly special? Family and friends now gather around the table for what has become a ritual of sorts. At KarVér, we are now taking it to another level and with our own special touch. Please check out our brunch menu, below, and stop by this weekend to give us a try!

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SOS Shells Here to Save our Grill

(Blog post written for “SOS Shells Co.”)

It has slowly crept up to that time of the year where the barbecue becomes the primary mode of food preparation. Memorial Day hot dogs and hamburgers to Father’s day celebratory steak and shrimp; I am constantly looking for new, unique items to throw on the grill. Father’s Day Barbecue grilling just got a whole lot easier this year with the use of my new SOS Shells (www.sosshells.com).

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The shells are Oyster shaped, but unlike real oysters are far more sanitary and reusable. They can be used on the grill or in the oven, from hot dishes to cold deserts. On the grill, the meat, poultry or seafood get a char-grilled flavor from the flames while sautéing within the pan. It allows for great versatility and creativity for every chef behind the grill.

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For Memorial Day I put my new SOS Shells to great use on a southern inspired seafood dish. To start I took 1 cup of melted butter and mixed it with 6 tablespoons of fresh minced of garlic. Then pour in 4 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, a sprig of basil and a teaspoon of white pepper. To finish the sauce add a dash of Old Bay, salt and pepper. Next, add 2 tablespoons of the herb and lemon infused butter to each SOS Shell. Lay several shrimp and bay scallops in each shell and place on the barbecue.

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The flames from the BBQ shoot up and char-grill the shrimp as the sauce deliciously oozes over. The shells allow for the seafood to be heated and cooked through both grilling and traditional thermal conduction. As the shrimp and scallops start cooking add a dash of paprika and a sprig of parsley over the top of each shell. The dish can be finished with cheese or without as pictured here. Overall the seafood tastes as delicious as it looks and it was all made possible my this innovative kitchen product. Order yours today on Amazon at the link here: http://goo.gl/xrFuq4

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Go For Fhoo…

           If you’re a sushi lover like I am then you are someone that is always hunting for the newest craze and freshest fish around. From sushi burritos to sushi pizza, multi-cultural Asian fusion has sushi plates looking more wild and more appetizing than ever before. I just visited such a location, who’s relevantly new but provides a wonderous mixture of Chinese, Japanese, and Thai, sometimes all in one bite.

Fhoo Asian Bistro on Sunrise highway in Rockville Centre greets you with an immense reclining Buddha and a beautiful round bar in the back. Happy hour at the bar lives up to its namesake. I drank the Zombie, an infusion of White rum, dark rum, triple sec, lime juice, fruit juice topped with Bacardi 151 for $7. Strong, delicious and inexpensive, all my favorite.

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Zombie

The sushi here is both flavorful, whimsical and varies greatly. The first roll we indulged in is the Spicy Girl roll; spicy crunchy tuna, spicy crunchy yellowtail topped with spicy salmon and tobiko for $8. Well-packed rolls with fresh fish and a nice hot bite. The next roll, The Crazy Tuna, is truly the star of this plate. Spicy crunchy tuna inside topped with cajun pepper tuna, avocado and jalapeño. A crazy roll, as stated, with the cajun pepper tuna and jalapeno adding a delicious, unusual taste to a conventionally simple spicy tuna roll.

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Crazy Tuna Roll on the right, Spicy Girl roll on the left

The finale was the treat of the night. Wanting to sample all the different pieces of beautiful fish they had to offer, I ordered myself the Sashimi appetizer for $12. The presentation alone was breathtaking and made it very difficult stop looking and start eating. The fish sat on a bed of shaved ice with lemons; clam shells and palm leaves act as a backdrop with an empty crab leg sprouting a flower on top completing the landscape. The sashimi platter consisted on salmon, tuna, yellowtail and fluke. The salmon was fatty and tender and probably my favorite, but the other pieces did not disappoint. The yellowtail sashimi is a specialty of theirs and that shined through in how its freshness and how well the scallion and lemon complemented the dish. Overall I would highly recommend Fhoo Asian Bistro to anyone in the south shore Long Island area who loves wild, whimsical asian fusion cuisine at an affordable price.Writer: Adam Giladi

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Beautiful Sashimi Platter

A Never Ending Search for the Best Slice

New York food is internationally known for its diversity and superior taste. No where is this fact more evident than with the pizza this great city offers. From Manhattan’s $1 regular slices, greasy but glorious, cheesy goodness to the toppings-loaded unique slices around my neighborhood on Long Island. In every town on Long island there are at least three or more local pizza establishments that the townspeople frequent. Everyone usually has their favorite place that they will pledge loyalty to; I don’t follow this rule, however. I am constantly looking for something I haven’t seen before, new toppings that wouldn’t traditionally belong on a pizza. The first slice pictured here belongs in such a category.

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This is a barbeque chicken slice from Lia’s Pizzeria in Oceanside, New York. It has BBQ sauce instead of tomato sauce, but still lightly covered in oozing mozzarella cheese. The flavorful white meat chicken is smokey and sweet could easily stand on its own, let alone on a doughy, cheese covered pizza. This is one of their more popular slices and definitely the best barbeque slice in town. This next slice comes from the same pizzeria, Lia’s in Oceanside, and blurs the line between pizza, calzone and Stromboli.

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Pictured above is said monstrosity; a spinach, broccoli, mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan stuffed ‘pizza’. Its covered with a thick garlicky crust sprinkled with sesame seeds and herbs. The lack of meat is made up for with three different cheeses and a delicious mix of sauteed spinach and broccoli. Highly recommend breaking the taboo and reach for a fork and knife to eat this one. The next slice has slightly more traditional toppings, while still looking absolutely stunning.

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Pictured here is an Eggplant and Ricotta slice also from Lia’s Pizzeria in Oceanside. It is topped with breaded slices of thin golden eggplant, mozzarella and ricotta cheeses, and marinara sauce. Eggplant is a perfect compliment to any slice and a favorite topping of mine. The pieces of crispy eggplant and gooey cheese lay perfectly to create a beautiful landscape. Finally a meal must always end with dessert. Its not easy to find an item that combines the elements of dessert and the dynamics of traditional pizza, until now.

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The concept of dessert pizza is a relatively new one to me. A unique, delicious, absurd concept that piques my interest greatly. This is the Nutella slice from Za Late Night Pizzeria in Rockvillle Centre, New York. It is covered with Nutella hazelnut spread and topped with toasted marshmallows. It’s beautiful, whimsical and absolutely delicious. The marshmallow is reminiscent of s’mores and complements the Nutella perfectly. A truly satisfying and complete end to any pizza dinner.

Mustard and Herb Crusted Rack of Lamb

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Roasted Rack of Lamb brushed with Dijon, garnished with a lemon heading to the grill

The rack of lamb is a beautiful thing. It’s a dish that is as delicious, as it is whimsical and aromatic. This particular recipe looks both professional and eloquent, but can be (and was) made by the most novice of chefs. I am someone who loves to eat meat off a bone, similar to our cavemen ancestors. There is something so basic and primal about it, no silverware, nothing but teeth and hands ripping through a gorgeous piece of meat, but I digress. After seasoning the rack with salt and pepper, I covered it dijon mustard and a garlic based herbal rub. I put her in the oven for 15 minutes to precook it, then moved it the barbecue for the final 15 minutes. This allowed for the best of both worlds, heating the inside through convection, while the roasting the outside with savory BBQ smoke. The result is this beautiful piece of meat you see before you. The rack is fully dressed in this picture ready to head on over to the oven for the first step of the cooking process. Although the chef is always biased, I have to say that this rack of lamb was very juicy and flavorful. The spiciness of the dijon was cut well by the lemon zest and juice. These herbs work very well with lamb and compliment it perfectly.

What you need:

  • One (8-rib) frenched rack of lamb, trimmed of all but a thin layer of fat
  • 2 tablespoons of Dijon Mustard
  • 1 lemon; juice and zest
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 2 teaspoons of minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoons of grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon of salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F
  2. Season ribs well with salt and pepper; cover both sides entirely and thoroughly
  3. In a bowl mix together the minced garlic, crushed rosemary, lemon zest/juice and Parmesan cheese
  4. Brush Dijon mustard and garlic/herb mixture over the front and back of the ribs; leave out at room temperature for one hour
  5. Place foil around each bone to prevent burning
  6. Place ribs in center oven rack on 450 degrees F for 15 minutes
  7. Preheat Barbecue to medium heat
  8. Transfer lamb from oven to BBQ and leave on for 15 more minutes

Yields: 3 servings                Prep Time: 15 min

My Trip “Upstate”

Crab Cake Eggs Benedict

Crab Cake Eggs Benedict at the Main Street Bistro in New Paltz, New York

A trip to the quaint, quiet town of New Paltz to visit a friend away for his final year of studies brought me to this beautiful dish last spring. Sunday morning, as we awoke, I immediately inquired about what I eloquently described as “the local breakfast spot.” My friend of twelve plus years, knowing me too well, took me to the described locale despite my minimal description. Main Street Bistro located in the heart of New Paltz was this “spot” and all of New Paltz knew as such. Although we waited and waited, it was completely worth it as this dish here can clearly testify. I ordered the English muffin with crab cake topped with a poached egg, andouille sausage covered in a red pepper hollandaise sauce with a side of home fries, as if that wasn’t enough. It was an absolutely ridiculous yet delicious, unique breakfast I had never experienced before. All the different ingredients sound intimidating at first, but they work surprisingly well together. The runny yoke (not so surprisingly) is my favorite part of the dish as the crab cake and egg combination was distinctive, savory and flavorful. Red pepper hollandaise was a new one for me, but it obviously didn’t disgrace its namesake. I would definitely recommend the dish and this restaurant for anyone who is visiting the New Paltz area.

  Adam Giladi