Nick's Tuscan Grill in Mineola: First bites

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Hot antipasto at Nick's Tuscan Grill in Mineola Hot antipasto at Nick's Tuscan Grill in Mineola in April 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti

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

Nick's Tuscan Grill, which has a little to do with grilling and even less with things Tuscan, opens in Mineola as a friendly, satisfying spot for Italian-American specialties.

You may remember Nick's from Long Beach. The restaurant was severely damaged by superstorm Sandy, and relocated. It's on the corner that has hosted restaurants for decades, most recently Andiamo and most famously Altadonna.

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Nick's is a good stop for ricotta-stuffed meatballs and fried calamari, baked clams and rice balls. The hot antipasto includes the first three, plus a disc of eggplant Parmigiana and a mozzarella pinwheel.

There are plenty of salads, pizzettes and pastas. Grilled branzino arrives in a lemon-butter sauce and is strewn with capers. The "creme brulee cheesecake" has the richness of the former and the texture of the latter.

Expect Nick's to be a popular, familiar and dependable neighborhood choice. Figure $6 to $15 for appetizers, salads and soups; $15 to $21 for pastas; $11 to $14 for pizzettes; and $17 to $30 for main courses.

Nick's Tuscan Grill, 149 Mineola Blvd., Mineola; 516-747-2545.

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