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The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene

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Joan Reminick

In an ongoing search to find Long Island’s best restaurant values, restaurant critic Joan Reminick has plowed through more pad thai, penne ala vodka and pulled pork than she cares to admit. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Joan grew up in a happy home whose only shortcomings were culinary. After a childhood of cooked-to-leather steaks, canned peas and Ore Ida fries, she made it a personal mission to seek out food that’s fresh, lively and carefully prepared. Married to her teen sweetheart, she received a B.A. from Brooklyn College and an M.S. from Hofstra University and taught English and Humanities in a Long Island high school for several years. When her two children were born, she embarked on a writing career and has had both fiction and nonfiction works published in national magazines. She also edited the Zagat Survey of Long Island Restaurants and wrote the book “Exploring Long Island with Newsday.” In addition to doing weekly “Cheap Eats” restaurant reviews, Joan hunts down restaurant news items and writes restaurant-related articles. These days, her motto is: making Long Island a better place to eat, one blog entry at a time.

Open in Point Lookout: Salt Air Café

Salt Air Cafe in Point Lookout serves breakfast,

(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)

Residents of Point Lookout have a new sit-down, take-out eatery, Salt Air Café, which opened in May in a little cottage on Lido Boulevard.

Proprietor Kelly Kelleher envisioned a place where neighbors could enjoy from-scratch food made using good ingredients. She signed up with Farmigo, an online farmers’ market that acts as a conduit between farms, restaurants and consumers. She figures that,...

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Let down by Landmark Diner in Roslyn

A "skinny" turkey burger at Landmark Diner in

(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)

Back in 2009, when the Landmark Diner in Roslyn moved a few yards east of its original location to spiffy new double-decker digs, the kitchen was under the aegis of chef Chris Palmer, whose pared-down menu was executed with care and élan.

Palmer has been gone from the diner for more than a year. During a recent brunch visit, the food tasted pretty much like typical diner fare from just about...

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J. Michaels' Tuscan Steakhouse makeover

"New World" meatballs are made with lobster, lightening

(Credit: Barbara Alper)

J. Michaels Tuscan Steakhouse in Oyster Bay is closed and expected to reopen next month with a new emphasis on Italian cuisine.

And the original J. Michaels Tuscan Steakhouse in Northport, where prime steaks have reigned, is offering a fixed-price dinner focused on the Italian part of the menu. It's likely to be the template for the Oyster Bay restaurant.

Both establishments will continue...

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Spuntino Wine Bar and Italian Tapas in Garden City: First bites

Seared tuna bruschetta is served at Spuntino Wine

(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)

A midday visit to Spuntino Wine Bar and Italian Tapas, the Long Island offshoot of a Clifton, New Jersey, restaurant, turned out to be an experience filled with promise.

The industrial-looking spot is spacious and handsome, with surfaces of wood, brick and metal. From the menu of mostly small plates, a seared tuna bruschetta turned out to be a firecracker featuring rare fish topped with a...

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Chow Down Diner in Bethpage: Revisit

Pan-fried Asian teriyaki chicken dumplings are served at

(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)

It’s been more than a month since chef Steven Del Lima left full-time duties in the kitchen of Chow Down Diner in Bethpage to concentrate on revising CoolFish in Syosset. While Del Lima does stop into the diner early in the day, he usually isn’t around during dinner.

The restaurant received a two-and-a-half-star rating when reviewed in April. So, how are things going without the constant supervision...

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Nissos in Syosset: First bites

Grilled octopus is served as an appetizer at

(Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti)

Is 13 lucky?

Nissos is the 13th restaurant in 24 years at this address near the Syosset railroad station. It's definitely among the best-looking, too.

Awash in Aegean blue and white, with sail-like cloth billowing above and a display of fresh fish on ice near the kitchen, the whole place already merits praise for design and decoration.

Early on, some good choices include the tasty...

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Pollo Campero beverage freebies

Pollo Campero is offering free Latin drinks on

(Credit: Pollo Campero)

To launch its new roster of Latin drinks, Pollo Campero is offering them for free on Monday, July 28. No purchase is necessary; the limit is one regular-sized beverage per customer.

Choices include a tart red hibiscus beverage called Jamaica; horchata, a sweet vanilla-cinnamon shake; tamarindo, a sweet-sour fruit drink; and guava, a tropical fruit beverage. Ordinarily, the regular size sells...

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Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza sells meatballs by the pot

Anthony's Coal Fired pizza, with locations in Woodbury,

(Credit: Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza)

Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza just came out with a new takeout option: a pot of meatballs. What you get is a stainless steel pot containing tomato sauce, 13 large meatballs and fresh basil. Order it hot or cold, and when it’s time to feed the gang, add ½ cup water and heat on the stovetop. On the side, you get ricotta cheese. Also a leaf-shaped card with basil seeds, for growing your own. The whole...

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Tutto Pazzo in Huntington gilds pasta lily

At Tutto Pazzo in Huntington, homemade tortellini are

(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)

Restaurants run the gamut when it comes to being social-media savvy. Some don’t even have an answering machine, let alone a website. Others produce a constant stream of tweets and Facebook posts. Put Huntington’s Tutto Pazzo in the second category. “Like” the restaurant on Facebook or follow @tuttopazzoluigi on Twitter and you’ll be treated to daily photos and videos of chef-partner Luigi Petrone’s...

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Open in Plainview: Heike Sushi

Heike Sushi is new and Japanese in Plainview

(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)

Heike Sushi is up and rolling in the former Plainview strip mall space that, until recently, hosted Robata of Tokyo.

The new restaurant offers a straightforward suburban Japanese repertoire, with hibachi items prepared in the kitchen. On the menu: beef negimaki ($7), pepper tuna tataki ($10), yellowtail jalapeño roll ($5), Mango Madness roll featuring crunchy spicy shrimp, avocado and mango...

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