Mineola cafe: Eat in or take out?

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Mac and cheese at Culinary Concepts Café &

Mac and cheese at Culinary Concepts Café & Catering, Mineola Photo Credit: Joan Reminick

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

The new Culinary Concepts Café & Catering makes its home in a cheerful little corner space in Mineola. Chef-owner Scott Benowitz (who was executive chef at the former Indigo in Huntington) strives to do as much as he can from “scratch” – stocks, baking, prepared dishes. There are a few tables but the bulk of the business is to-go.

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Eating in, however, presents a problem: virtually everything is microwaved in plastic containers covered with Saran Wrap. While I like the mac and cheese  with its bread-crumb topping (and might love it if the macaroni were al dente), I’m not a fan of peeling off plastic and snapping open a lid in order to get to my lunch. Less appealing is a chicken-pot pie with a slightly soggy puff pastry crust. (Note to chef: microwaved = soggy). On the other hand, I’m totally taken with a freshly prepared panino made with grilled flatbread, lemon-rosemary roasted chicken, spinach, grilled onions, fontina cheese and mustard aioli.

Culinary Concepts Café & Catering is at 100 Main St., Mineola, 516-280-8222.

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