Cedarhurst Cafe: First bites

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Maine lobster tail salad with lemon vinaigrette at

Maine lobster tail salad with lemon vinaigrette at Cedarhurst Cafe. Photo Credit: Newsday/Joan Reminick

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The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene.

It was midday when I hit the new Cedarhurst Cafe, situated across from the Cedarhurst railroad station. And almost every member of the sizable lunch crowd was eating a big, colorful salad.

I was skeptical about trying something called a portobello spinach burger salad ($14.95), but odd as it sounded, chef co-owner John Cordoba knocked that one out of the park.

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There was, first of all, the plump, irresistible vegetable burger itself, which had oatmeal as its main ingredient.  A crisp crust yielded to a fluffy interior, its consistency somewhere between soufflĂ© and latke. As I later learned, the burger hadn't been fried but rather brushed with oil and baked in a convection oven. Alongside was a dollop of goat cheese. Underneath was a mountain of mesclun greens tossed with haricots verts, baby zucchini, sun-dried blueberries and cherries, avocado and, for crunch, organic granola. One never knew what the next vibrant, crazy forkful would bring.

A Maine lobster tail salad ($16.95), a special that day, featured a big, fresh out-of-the-shell tail on top of a similarly eccentric mĂ©lange, this one incorporating terra chips and mango.  Although the salad was supposed to have a balsamic dressing, Cordoba cheerfully whipped up a lemon vinaigrette on request.

Next time, I might ask for a more restrained and somewhat less sweet combination of ingredients. Still, I have to admire what this mad scientist of salads manages to pull off.

Cedarhurst Cafe is at 477 Chestnut St., Cedarhurst, 516-295-1100.

Above: Maine lobster salad with lemon vinaigrette at Cedarhurst Cafe in Cedarhurst

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