Cooler nights and uncertain times call for comfort food. Though a heaping plate of mac ’n cheese (or whatever your treat of choice is) won’t solve the world’s problems, it can warm the heart, feed the soul or at the very least get rid of the bitter taste that’s been in your mouth since March. These dishes are simple, unpretentious and sometimes nostalgic. They can be a bit heavy on carbs, meat and cream, but that’s just part (OK, a lot) of the fun.
Long Island restaurants have guests’ tastebuds and feelings top of mind this year as they roll out their cold-weather menus. If you’re feeling a tad chilly — physically or emotionally — these dishes are like a weighted blanket on a plate. Bonus: All of them are available via delivery or curbside pickup, so you can eat your comfort food in the comfort of home.
Slowly Cooked Veal Meatballs at Prime 1024
Winter is prime time for slow cookers, but if you don’t feel like putting in the work (because frankly, you have enough to do right now), let Prime 1024 Chef Greg Yarrow, who previously helmed Limani, do it for you. The slowly cooked veal meatballs at this Roslyn spot are tender and delicate. Consider them an ideal side for the hearty spaghetti carbonara or a side for the Robiola Tartufo thin-crust pizza with black truffle and luxuriously-tasting Italian cream cheese. You can currently eat in-house, but the COVID-conscious crowd can also opt for delivery on Door Dash.
1024 Northern Blvd, Roslyn; order via Doordash.
The Po Boy at Phil’s Restaurant
A favorite spot in Wading River to watch sports in normal times, Phil’s classic-but-creative sandwiches have provided comfort to disgruntled Jets fans on Sundays for years. But you don’t have to be a fan of a team that’s perpetually down on its like to appreciate The Po Boy, fried shrimp on a soft hoagie with lettuce, tomato and remoulade sauce. In other words, it’s Fat Tuesday between two large pieces of bread, and that’s something to celebrate regardless of what the headlines read or the final score is on any given day.
1856 Wading River Manor Rd., Wading River; call 631-929-0508 for curbside pickup.
Chicken and Waffles at Main Road Biscuit Company
“I love you like biscuits and gravy,” reads the sign at this Jamesport comfort food mecca — right next to a pile of soft blankets you can purchase to keep you cozy on the heated patio. The restaurant also has socially distanced indoor service 7 days a week this winter as well as online, phone-in and walk-in orders. May we suggest the chicken and waffle plate: Two pieces of house-brined, buttermilk fried bird plus a cornmeal waffle and honey on the side. Ordering dinner to go? The fried chicken family meal, which includes kale slaw and biscuits, is a no brainer.
1610 Main Rd., Jamesport; order at mainroadbiscuitco.com.
Mac n’ Cheese Melt at AJ’s Grilled Cheese Shop
Grilled cheese has long been a snow day-staple for little ones, and this Bay Shore spot specializes in taking the classic up a notch. There are plenty of gooey options to choose from, but the Mac ’n Cheese may take the (cheese)cake. It combines a pair of childhood favorites between two slices of sourdough for a meal that’s filling and will take you back to simpler times.
182 W Montauk Hwy, Bay Shore; order at ajsgrilledcheese.com.
Chicken Pot Pie at the Cooperage Inn
This upscale casual joint in Calverton has stood to test of time on the North Fork because of its amiable service and dishes to write home about. The Chicken Pot Pie tops the list. It’s full of tender white and dark meat, plus starchy veggies like peas and corn and potatoes. The Sherry cream sauce and puff pastry crust taste as luxurious as they sound. If you don’t care to eat in, take a pot pie to go from the restaurant or look for pre-made frozen North Fork Pot Pies from Cooperage Inn chef and owner Jonathan Perkins at Sep’s Farm in East Marion and Serene Green farm stand in Sag Harbor.
2218 Sound Avenue, Calverton; order at nofopotpies.com or call 631-727-8994 for pickup.
Tortellini Stuffed with Six at Pasta Pasta
Two of the world’s best comfort foods: A big plate of pasta and cheese. This Main Street favorite, which has remained a fixture on the often fickle Port Jefferson restaurant scene, combines both for a six-cheese tortellini that’s equal parts calming and delicious. It also has a touch of decadence, courtesy of the lobster and crimini mushroom topping.
234 E Main St., Port Jefferson; order via ToastTab.
Short Ribs at Chadwicks’ American Chop House’s
This steakhouse in Rockville Centre is known for consistently being a cut above the rest. It’s popular for date nights, happy hours and satisfying a craving for red meat. The short ribs are rich and beefy and pair perfectly with a side of mashers or French fries (which come complimentary). A brooding Cab Sauv is optional but completely recommended.
49 Front St, Rockville Centre; order via DoorDash or Caviar.