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Peter Gianotti

Peter M. Gianotti is Newsday's restaurant critic and wine-and-spirits columnist. He's the author of "A Guide to Long Island Wine Country," "Newsday's Guide to the Wines of Long Island," "Dining Out with Newsday" and co-author of "Newsday's Long Island Restaurant Guide" and "Eats NYC." Before reviewing restaurants, Gianotti was a Washington correspondent, economics writer, book critic and New York City reporter. Gianotti received his master's degree from Columbia University, where he also was a Bagehot Fellow; and his bachelor's degree from Fordham University, where he has taught journalism. He was born in Brooklyn, raised in Queens and lives on Long Island.

Oktoberfest kicks off at Plattduetsche Park, Franklin Square

A German band plays at the Ompahfest, held

(Credit: Newsday / Yana Paskova)

Lederhosen alert.

The festivities for Ompahfest at Plattduetsche Park in Franklin Square start on Sept. 21 at 11 a.m.

In Munich, Oktoberfest begins the same day, with the first beer barrel tapped by the mayor midday.

At Plattduetsche, you'll find the house's brew. Kolsch beer is the golden, top-fermented local brew of Cologne. It's similar to a pale ale. Plattduetsche's brew is...

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Grace's Trattoria East in Greenvale: Eat, shop, smile

Pizza with prosciutto, plum tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and

(Credit: Newsday / Peter Gianotti)

Between the coffee-and-baked-goods counter and the butcher shop at Grace's Marketplace is this 40-seater for in-house dining. And Grace's Trattoria East is just as tempting and flavorful as everything around it.

Placing a very good little eatery in a gourmet market, of course, allows the shopper to rest before completing a grocery order, and get re-energized, too. Arrive early for breakfast,...

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Galleria reopens in Westbury with original owner

The dining room at Galleria Ristorante in Westbury

(Credit: Galleria Ristorante)

Dominick is back.

That's Dominick Zelko, who opened Galleria, an Italian-continental mainstay, in 1984, and operated it until five years ago, when he sold the restaurant.

The popular spot, which once was known as Galleria Dominick, didn't fare too well under new ownership. Zelko now owns it once more. And after three weeks shut so it could be renovated, the “new” Galleria opened this...

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Chili cook-off to benefit Islip fire museum

At the first annual Big Chili Cook-Off at

(Credit: Ray Foster Photography)

Are you ready to taste 100 gallons of chili?

The West Sayville Fire Department hosts a chili cook-off on Saturday. It's a fundraiser to support construction of the Town of Islip Firefighters Museum & Education Center. Admission is $10 for anyone 12 years old or older.

All proceeds benefit the building project. Groundbreaking is expected this fall in Central Islip, across from Bethpage...

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Cafe Testarossa in Syosset: An update

Grilled octopus with escarole, crushed tomatoes and chickpeas

(Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti)

Cafe Testarossa is running on all cylinders.

The restaurant, now almost equal parts Italian and New American, is more than two decades old. It has had a few lives over the years.

But the food currently is sharper and better than before, whether you're in the mood for spaghetti and meatballs or a heritage pork chop on sweet potatoes.

A very good starter: marinated and grilled octopus,...

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National Guacamole Day at Besito

Guacamole is prepared table-side at Besito.

(Credit: Newsday / Jeremy Bales)

When National Guacamole Day and Mexican Independence Day come together, you can be sure Long Island's two Besito restaurants will be ready.

This happens on Tuesday, Sept.16. To contribute to the festivities, Besito in Huntington and in Roslyn has added two specials to the menu, along with a complimentary Roca Patron tequila tasting from 5 to 8 p.m.

Lobster guacamole is one dish, enriching...

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The Riverhead Project is gone for good

The Riverhead Project in Riverhead, seen in 2011,

(Credit: Heather Walsh)

The Riverhead Project, which dramatically improved dining out downtown, has closed.

Permanently.

Owner Dennis McDermott said last weekend that he hoped to re-open the restaurant with new partners, but Friday confirmed he was not able to find an investor. "Nobody wanted to invest in a restaurant in Riverhead."

The downtown upturn he'd hoped for and helped move along didn't materialize...

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Anchor Down in Merrick: First bites

Swordfish is served with broccoli rabe, olives and

(Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti)

The catch of the day is Anchor Down in Merrick.

It's in the Open Bay Marina, where you'll find two small dining rooms and alfresco tables, too. Anchor Down is at the former site of Sunset Bar & Grill and JD's on the Bay.

Here, chef Stephen Rosenbluth offers traditional and New American seafood, with a few forays elsewhere. There are oysters, including Malpeques and Blue Points, both...

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Brasserie HaLevi in Cedarhurst: First bites

Brasserie HaLevi is a kosher, continental restaurant in

(Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti)

Brasserie HaLevi brings a bright touch to dining out in Cedarhurst.

The glatt kosher, primarily New American restaurant, is airy, in light hues, with a stylized,  modern look and efficient service.

Better choices include the sriracha-marinated spicy fried chicken, which delivers crunchiness and heat, with corn succotash, red cabbage and mashed potatoes on the side. Also tasty is...

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The new Old Fields in Port Jefferson: First bites

Shrimp and grits is an appetizer at Old

(Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti)

Old Fields, a landmark in Greenlawn, is on its way to the same status in Port Jefferson.

Owner Dave Tunney's new branch, in the former quarters of Pace's steak house, delivers generously portioned and equally fine food, an unpretentious manner and the excellent service that Greenlawn regulars have enjoyed for years.

The menu is identical to the one in Greenlawn. Both are a bit more expensive...

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