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The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene

The Savoy Tavern in Merrick: First bites

Warm croissant bread pudding is served at The

(Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti)

This is the second round of first bites at The Savoy Tavern in Merrick.

But under executive chef Kevin Liebov, who starred at the now-gone Nicholas James Bistro in Merrick, it's a new restaurant.

Savoy looked good from day one, with its handsome bar, polished wood, and images from The Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. But the food was erratic.

Now, try Liebov's pan-seared soft-shell crabs,...

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Closed in Merrick: Nicholas James Bistro

Nicholas James Bistro in Merrick. (July 9, 2010)

(Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara)

Nicholas James Bistro, the popular, upbeat New American restaurant in Merrick, has closed.

The closing stems from a dispute over lease renewal.

Chef Kevin Liebov of Nicholas James currently is cooking at The Savoy Tavern, also in Merrick, according to Charles Liebov, his father and a partner in the shuttered bistro. 

Kevin Liebov said the kitchen staff from Nicholas James...

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Merrick Ave. Diner is closed

Former Merrick Ave. Diner

(Credit: Handout)

Add the Merrick Ave. Diner to the list of restaurant closings in 2013.

In its previous incarnation, the Merrick eatery was known as the MaryBill Diner. It came under new ownership and had a name change in 2010.

What distinguished the place was not its food but rather its status as a classic vintage railroad car diner —  sliding front door, curved ceiling and old-time ambience. The...

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Vine Wine Bar to sparkle in Merrick

The Vine Wine Bar is on Merrick Road

(Credit: Barbara Alper)

There will be some extra sparkle at The Vine Wine Bar on Nov. 27.

The day before Thanksgiving, the Merrick bar hosts Sparkling Pointe of Southold, a winery devoted to making Champagne-style bubbly. The session is from 7 to 9 p.m.

There will be free tastings of Sparkling Pointe wines, a question-and-answer session, and a limited number of vouchers for free tours of the vineyard. The Vine...

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Waterside Italian spot reopens in Merrick

In Merrick, AcQua's outdoor dining tent offers water

(Credit: Handout)

AcQua, a family-style Italian restaurant, makes its home in the former clubhouse of the Blue Water Yacht Club in Merrick. The place originally opened in June 2012 but, after taking a big hit from superstorm Sandy, was under renovation until a couple of months ago.  Now, diners can eat inside the two-story building or dine in an outdoor tent facing the water.

The place is owned by the...

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Muscle Maker Grill comes to Amityville and Long Beach

The new Muscle Maker Grill in Merrick serves

(Credit: Handout)

Muscle Maker Grill, a New Jersey-based national healthy eating chain, is muscling its way onto Long Island. Two new branches have opened in Amityville and Long Beach, with one in Merrick to follow shortly and, within the next few weeks, places in East Meadow and Huntington Station, too.

What these counter-serve spots are all about is lean protein-based eating. On the menu are Texas chicken...

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Santorini in Merrick: Seeking the golden mean

At Santorini in Merrick, saganaki (melted Kasseri cheese)

(Credit: Newsday Erica Marcus)

Since 1993, Santorini has been serving Greek food to Merrick and environs. A few months ago, the restaurant expanded into the neighboring storefront and did a complete renovation. The new dining room is now a sleek update of the classic blue-and-white Greek restaurant interior, and very attractive at that. At a recent dinner, service was caring and efficient, servings were generous, prices were...

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Thai Chef opens in North Merrick

Thai Chef is new to North Merrick.

(Credit: Joan Reminick)

New to the little community of North Merrick is Thai Chef, a diminutive storefront spot that serves both as a takeout and  — although there are only four tables — full-fledged restaurant.

The menu features such choices as papaya salad ($5.95), green curry fried rice with chicken, beef, pork, tofu, vegetables, shrimp or squid ($7.95 to $8.95), spicy basil chicken ($8.95) and tamarind duck...

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Vine Wine Bar: Wine Academy in Merrick

The Vine Wine Bar is on Merrick Road

(Credit: Barbara Alper)

Vine Wine Bar is celebrating its three-year anniversary with a series of wine classes. The first one, on Wednesday, April 3 at 7 p.m., is entitled Wine 101 and will teach participants the basics of wine tasting: what is sweet, what is dry, what is fruity; how to distinguish oak-fermented wines from steel fermented; what are tannins, etc.

The evening will start with a glass of Prosecco, after...

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Left Coast Kitchen: Exuberant in Merrick

At Left Coast Kitchen in Merrick, a lobster

(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)

Left Coast Kitchen & Cocktails is so assured, so comfortable in its skin, that it’s hard not to have a great time here. Certainly this is one of the South Shore’s hippest spots, with an open kitchen, lots of old-timey decorative accents and servers outfitted in the retro-lumberjack style of so many of-the-moment Brooklyn boites.

We started with fried oysters, good if not improved by their...

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