Welcome to my first post for the Port Jefferson Patch! I am excited to be here and I am looking forward to hanging out with you (virtually). If you have read at my blog in the past (http://littlejimmysfood.blogspot.com) you might have noticed that I have a pretty conversational style. My “reviews” tend to meander between a straight food blog and a travelogue of my strange adventures in and around Long Island.
My intention was to take things slow in this first post. I wanted to get to know you. Take you out to dinner, see a movie, and maybe get a kiss goodnight when I dropped you off. But now, because I am incapable of writing a normal review, it looks like we are going to jump right into a torrid romance. What started out as a sampling of the new food carts that have popped up on rte. 347, turned into a quest for the “Best Gyro” on Long Island.
Thing started off pretty well. It was raining, but I was happy to see that the first place on my list, the Inferno Roadside Grill was open. I tried this place a couple of weeks ago and it was decent. The guy who runs the cart has a “chef” vibe, sort of edgy like he should be on “The Next Food Network Star”. Last time I had a Philly Cheese steak. I should mention that I spend a lot of time in Philadelphia and I have had really some good cheese steaks. I have tried Pat and Gino’s in the Italian Market (I wasn’t particularly impressed by either) and have sampled versions from almost all the vendors at the Reading Terminal Market – an indoor food court and farmers market right on Arch Street. The best I have ever had was from a cart outside the railroad station near the Franklin museum. It came on an entire load of Italian bread with provolone cheese and barbeque sauce. For a Long Islander I would say I know Philly cheese steaks pretty well.
The one that I had at the Inferno Grill was good. It was definitely better then the other I have tried in the area. It wasn’t just over cooked steak-um with a slice of melted cheese. There was actual effort put into this sandwich. It wasn’t some pandering after thought (a la Domino’s, for example).
The portion was a nice size and I was decidedly full when I was done. The meat was well cooked and covered in cheese sauce and sautéed onions. My only issue was that it didn’t pop the way I had hoped it would. I was looking for just a little kick of spice to make it more interesting. I wanted something brighter and more exciting, and it was a little bland for my taste.
This time I ordered the Triple Stack cheeseburger. It is a big, messy, affair – the way a cheeseburger should be. The man in the truck told me that this was their specialty, and he wasn’t kidding. The burger really delivered. It was a huge step up from “fast food” at about the same price point.
The patty was tasty by itself and made it was made with real meat. I worked at Burger King when I was in high school and I can tell the difference between a real burger and some engineered chemistry experiment. It was at least as good as Bobby’s Burger Palace, the chain located in Smithhaven mall, and it was cheaper.
It came with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickles, cheese and a really nice slightly spicy sauce. The burger delivered the pop that was missing from the cheese steak. It is a winner and I would recommend that you stop by and try one.
My next stop was the Greek / Mediterranean food cart that has appeared on the side of the road in Port Jefferson Station. I am disappointed to report that it was closed. My original plan was to hit the trucks all the way to the Mall in Smithtown, but by now my kids were hungry so we decided to head into Port Jeff proper and stop at Yogo Delish.
I have written about this frozen yogurt shop in a prior post, but I will say again that we really like it. My wife wanted to get soup in a bread bowl. It is advertised as you walk in on a four-foot sign, so you can imagine our disappointment when the manager told use they were no longer serving it. It was a nasty day, raining and a little cold – perfect soup weather – and I was bummed.
It turns out that the same people who run Voulapitta in Selden also own Yogo Delish. The manager told use that not only did they still serve soup in a bread bowl there, but they made the best gyro on Long Island. It was a pretty bold statement. I have had a lot of gyros and they almost exactly the same. It is not even an issue of quality as much as finding some method of differentiating one from the other. I wasn’t planning to have a gyro for lunch, but I had to know if indeed this was the best. In short order we were on our way to Voulapitta.
The restaurant does counter service and it feels like a pizza place. I got the gyro and my family ordered various soups in the aforementioned bread bowls. My wife got the cream of broccoli, which didn’t taste at all like it was supposed to. It was curried and, frankly, off putting. I love curry, but this was not well executed and the whole thing was a little strange. My daughter got lemon chicken (avgolemon) and it was better, but lacked the lemony punch I was hoping for. My son’s chicken noodle very standard and no better then I could make at home opening a can of Progresso.
The gyro was good. The meat was moist and there was a lot of it. The veggies where also fresh and the yogurt sauce was tangy with a nice garlic taste. Unfortunately it didn’t blow my mind, it was the same gyro you could get at a hundred other places in the area. I was hoping to have something really special, based on the yogurt shop guys recommendation, but it was just average. As I think about it, maybe he wasn’t so far off. Maybe the best gyro on the Island is simply ok. That makes me sad, and I hope that the “Best Gyro On Long Island” is truly out there, waiting to be discovered.
It is a pity about the soup. The gyro was cheap and pretty good, the soup was a disappointment. I would eat here again, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do it – no matter what the guy at the Yogurt shop says.
I hope you enjoyed my first post. I look forward to sharing more adventures and I hope you will follow me here and at http://littlejimmysfood.blogspot.com.
Please post your comments and feedback, especially if you know where I truly can get the Best Gyro on Long Island!
Inferno Roadside Grill
Near 320 New York 25A, Mount Sinai, NY
Recommend: Above average hamburgers and a good selection of interesting sandwiches
Voulapitta Greek Restaurant
199 Centereach Mall, Centereach, NY 11720
Indifferent: Decent gyro, disappointing soups.
211 Main St, Port Jefferson, NY 11777
Recommend: My favorite frozen yogurt shop!
Reading Terminal Market - http://www.readingterminalmarket.org/
12th & Arch Streets, Philadelphia, PA - 215-922-2317
Highly Recommend!: Awsome food, great shopping and right in the middle of the cool part of Philly. A must go!