Newsday food critics eat out almost every day of the week — here’s a look at their favorite standout dishes at Long Island restaurants, markets and other venues.
Chori burger at I Am Nacho Mama
Chori burger at I Am Nacho Mama (7 W. Village Green, Hicksville): Whether chorizo is the best thing you’ll ever eat or the worst depends largely on who’s doing the sausage-making, I’ve found. But country-of-origin makes a difference too. Not only is the flavor of Argentinean chorizo mild and subtle, it has an alchemical effect on the ground beef at I Am Nacho Mama. The Chori burger, a meaty amalgamation that chef Carlos Juarez created as an homage to his beloved father-in-law, wonderfully showcases this marriage of proteins. Tender, juicy, garlicky, smoked through with oregano, and topped with tangy curtido, it’s a new kind of heaven on a bun. More info: 516-226-0228, iamnachomama.com — Scott Vogel
Roast-pork noodle soup at Super FL Mart
Roast-pork noodle soup at Super FL Mart (52 Jericho Tpke., Mineola): First there were no ramen joints on Long Island. Now they are popping up like shiitake mushrooms after a rainstorm. Not a few of these noodle-come-latelies are owned by Chinese-Americans and to them I say: Hey, how about some Hong Kong-style noodle joints? The best ramen has nothing on a steaming bowl of clear broth containing a big hank of taut egg noodles, freshly roasted char siu (pork) and a few greens. I was happy to brave the bustle and the cold of Super FL Mart’s food court for this world-beating bowl. More, please! More info: 516-873-0888 — Erica Marcus
Mantoo at Kandahar Kabab
Mantoo at Kandahar Kabab (459A S. Broadway, Hicksville): Afghan food, where have you been all my life? Ignorance of that easily-overlooked cuisine had long cast a shameful blight on my culinary reputation, but things changed abruptly this fall after a chance encounter with Kandahar Kabab. Hashmat Ghani’s new eatery, which he runs with his father, was chock-full of rich dishes delicately spiced, none more swoon-worthy than the mantoo dumplings. Things started simply enough, with plump little pillows of minced chicken, then got interesting after Ghani spooned a tart tomato-and-chickpea sauce over them, and then beyond interesting when he christened my plate with a mint-flavored yogurty drizzle. And just like that, a new gastronomic fascination was born. More info: 516-595-7886 — Scott Vogel