January 26, 2009
My culinary conquests are mainly focused on NYC but we can’t forget about the island to the east, Long Island, where there’s more great food than people realize. NYC Food Guy is here to make your sojourns outside the city more enjoyable by shedding light on Long Island’s best food. This post focuses on one block in Manhasset, walking distance from the LIRR station, where Gino’s Pizzeria and Steiner’s Pastry Shop are putting the majority of Manhattan’s slice joints and bakeries to shame.
Gino’s Pizza480 Plandome Road Manhasset, NY11030 516-627-5280
Gino’s, a classic Long Island pizza chain, is the first place I ever tried a Grandma slice. But it’s not nostalgia that keeps me coming back, it’s the consistently delicious pizza. The thin-crust Grandma pizza receives a dressing of olive oil and chopped garlic before a healthy amount of shredded mozzarella and dollops of hearty, fresh-made marinara sauce are spread over the pie. The resulting flavor conjures thoughts of a homemade Italian meal and when fresh, it’s one of the best Grandma slices I’ve had.
Other items that deserve attention are the airy Sicilian slice, the classic and cheesy regular slice and the Gino’s salad, a mix of iceberg lettuce, carrots, sweet pimentos, olives, cucumbers and a healthy handful of mozzarella cheese all topped with Gino’s hearty Italian dressing. Asking for Romaine lettuce over iceberg enhances the salad. All of these recommendations hold true at the Great Neck and Port Washington branches of Gino’s.
Steiner’s Pastry Shop432 Plandome Road Manhasset, NY 11030 516-627-2201 Open 6pm to 6AM Tues. – Sat. Open 6Am to 2PM Sun. Closed Monday
Steiner’s Pastry Shop is a relic of the golden age of bakeries, when everything was made on premises by people who thought of dessert making as an existence not a job. For the last 29 years, Franz Steiner’s breads, cakes, danishes, doughnuts and cookies have been making stomachs happy.
The item I recommend above all is the fresh-baked cinnamon & sugar covered Jelly doughnut ($1.45). Best when eaten at the beginning of the day, it’s slightly firm exterior reveals yeasty insides brimming with sweet raspberry jelly. It’s a classic, old school Jelly doughnut. You can’t go wrong.
For a taste of buttery crumb cake, go for the mini apple crumb ($3.95), filled with juicy, fresh tasting apples.
The decadent crumbs dissolve with each bite, forming a cinnamon and sugar infused layer of deliciousness around the tender, sweet sliced apples.
If you enjoy the flavor of almond paste, set your sights on the Almond Danish ($2.75) whose lacquered exterior reveals a butery interior.
This airy pastry derives its deliciousness more from the finely-chopped sugar and cinnamon sweetened almonds rolled inside, than it does the drizzle of generic vanilla icing on top.
The Scottish Coffee Cake (Prices vary) differs from any coffee cake I’ve ever had. The combo of nuts, raisins and coconut provide a textural trip, but the main flavor of this crunchy and chewy creation is just plain “sweet.”
Take a closer look at the sugary sedimentation taking place. Once the crispy, buttery sugar on top dissolves into each bite, the remaining flavor is coconut. The raisins don’t provide enough of a tart counter flavor as they should.
The cinnamon danish ($2.75) was the most disappointing of the bunch. Although it’s cakey yet airy body was sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar, it could have used the top layer of crystalization we see crowning the Scottish coffee cake. Instead the sweetness takes a backseat to the yeasty inner cake.
One More Recommendation in Manhasset
Edison’s Ale House550 Plandome Rd
Manhasset, NY 11030
This sports bar doubles as a respectable grill, serving up quality burgers, decent wings, and salads even mom can enjoy. It’s an institution in Manhasset and a seat at the bar is an invitation to have a few beers and stay as long as you’d like.