Across the Mediterranean: The Cove and Sufiya’s Mediterranean Grill

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Perfectly prepared octopus at The Cove.

What better way to bring summer to an end than to enjoy a terrific dinner at The Cove while watching the sunset over the water? This lovely, picturesque venue on Glen Cove Creek, formerly the site of Steamboat Landing, opened in 2016.

Its award-winning Chef Jack Yiannakou, from Cyprus, is a master of authentic Mediterranean cuisine who trained at Ava, the renowned Manhattan Greek restaurant This is not your everyday Greek restaurant.

The Cove’s owner, George Iordanou, a Greek Cypriot, had for 20 years owned Noir, the French restaurant at Manhattan’s Kimberly Hotel. Philip, George’s son, skillfully manages this well-run destination.   

We began with a tasty and highly recommended bottle of Assyrtiko from Northern Greece, which was full bodied, different from the vintages we have long enjoyed from Santorini.

Our meal started with grilled octopus on chickpea puree, adorned with capers, bell pepper, parsley, and celery for a delightful chorus of tastes, colors, and textures, supplemented with a lift of lemon. We continued with a tuna tartare, freshly cut with a dose of cilantro, avocado, soy glaze and crunchy toasted quinoa.  

A favorite, the village Greek salad, had tomatoes, cucumbers, red onions, olives, imported feta, dressed with extra virgin olive oil, lemon and herbs and spices.  

We were tempted by oysters, Little Neck clams, and ceviche tacos, white fish marinated in lime with jalapeno and red onion. Other small plate items were the Mediterranean dips (tzatzkiki, hummus, spicy feta, and taramosalata fish eggs, olive oil and lemon juice for a delectable spread), and the baked-in-olive-oil haloumi, a Cyprus cheese, usually made of goat’s and sheep’s milk that resembles mozzarella.

For our entree, we chose the special, dorado, prepared Mediterranean style fish drizzled with olive oil and lemon. The filleting comes after the fish is grilled whole, leaving it tasteful and moist. Lemon potatoes are a great accompaniment to any Mediterranean dish.

There are alternatives to fish, such as steak, hamburger, pasta, and lamb.

A refreshing end to our meal came via a tangy lemon tarte Tatin and a creamy tiramisu.    

The Cove, 74 Shore Rd, Glen Cove, TheCoveNY.com, 516-676-1211.

Sufiya’s Mediterranean Grill took over the Merrick spot that was Nicholas James. The interior was redone with French windows, allowing for outdoor seating.

Sufiya’s, which has another location in East Meadow, features Persian cuisine, so it serves wonderfully grilled selections that are a home run for vegetarians. Portions are generous. Along with salads, selections include a homemade vegetarian moussaka baked eggplant, potatoes, zucchini and peppers in a tomato sauce; a fresh grilled plate of seasonal vegetables; eggplant grilled with mushrooms, peppers, onions, zucchini and plum tomato; and large falafel of chickpea balls served with hummus seasoned with herbs. All are served with choice of white or brown basmati rice.  

For the carnivores, there are kebabs, beef stew, lamb stew, or lamb shank, all served with white or brown basmati rice and grilled vegetables .  

We ordered a bottle of Cankaya Turkish white wine.  

The heritage shines through with the array of appetizers. Eggplant is in the kashkeh bademjan and baba ganoush. Chickpeas are the main ingredient in the sambuseh, falafel, and hummus. You might try dolmeh (rice seasoned with Mediterranean herbs and spices wrapped in grape leaves), a panir (feta cheese, olive oil and walnuts), spanakopita, or sigara borek if you prefer filo and feta, and mast-o-khiar (yogurt cucumber and mint). We picked at freshly marinated pickles and olives while we perused the menu.  

We couldn’t make up our minds between the distinctive salads, including tabouli, house, Greek and other options. We went with the shirazi salad of diced cucumber, tomato, red onion, and parsley in a lemon dressing, which came with our entrée.   

The freshly grilled striped bass was our choice of fish. Sensational! The shrimp kebab was appropriate because Sufiya’s specializes in perfectly grilled, colorful kebabs.

Refreshing homemade Persian ice cream was the dessert featuring a blend of pistachio with saffron cream.

Sufiya’s Grill, 2057 Merrick Rd., Merrick, SufiyasGrill.com 516-644-2201.  Jeff is a practicing attorney. Vera is a retired school teacher. Both love Long Island food and wine and are delighted to share their discoveries with you. Contact them via [email protected].