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The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene

Dining in tropical Hicksville

The mixed-vegetable Uthappam at House of Dosas in

(Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus)

Or should I say, “Dining tropical in Hicksville”? If you’re looking to escape the cold, this resolutely mid-Island town is full of restaurants serving the food of hot-weather climes.

Pretend you’re hiking in the lush green hills of Colombia at La Finca, 170 Broadway, Hicksville, 516-935-0951, lafincarestaurante. com...

. . . or coasting down a lazy river in Thailand at Mukda Thai Cuisine,...

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Azerbaijan Grill in East Meadow becomes Sufiya's

Jujeh kebab at Azerbaijan Grill, East Meadow

(Credit: Newsday/Joan Reminick)

Azerbaijan Grill in East Meadow is now called Sufiya’s Mediterranean Grill. New ownership; same chef, menu and crew as before.

The original Azerbaijan Grill in Westbury remains under the ownership of Saeid Sheikhlar, who sold the East Meadow restaurant to a family friend, Ali Motamedi, who renamed the restaurant for his newborn daughter.

Sufiya’s Mediterranean Grill is at 2320 Hempstead...

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Verace in Islip: 3rd birthday = $25 fixed price

Verace, an Italian restaurant in Islip, is self-consciously

(Credit: Michael E. Ach)

Verace, the stellar Italian restaurant in Islip, celebrates its third anniversary with a three-course, $25 fixed-price dinner.

It will be available from Monday, Jan. 28 to Sunday, Feb. 3. On Saturday,  Feb. 2, however, the special will be available only before 7 p.m.

Choices include appetizers of meatballs with tomato sauce, steamed mussels, caponata, or a combo of apple, blue cheese...

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Stone crab claws, a seasonal luxury

People dine at Rare650 restaurant in Syosset. (Jan.

(Credit: Yana Paskova)

In "The Stranger," the Albert Camus novel that follows students from high school to college and beyond, the philosopher wrote: "In the midst of winter, I have found within me an invincible summer ..."

It must have been the stone crabs.

So, think summer and think Miami Beach. Or make an investment here. These pricey delights are in cameo appearances now at some Long...

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Grimaldi’s opens in Sea Cliff

The Margherita pizza is a classic New York

(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)

Grimaldi’s, the coal-oven pizza behemoth with branches in New York, New Jersey, Arizona, South Carolina, Texas and Nevada, has opened a location in Sea Cliff. (The Grimaldi’s in Garden City is not a part of the chain.)

Mike Napoli, who owns the Sea Cliff franchise, is a former Wall Street guy who decided (perhaps mistakenly, he now acknowledges) that he was up for something “more relaxing.”...

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Opa Grille, Williston Park: First bites

A trio of dips -- taramasalata, hummus and

(Credit: Newsday/Joan Reminick)

On a crazy cold night not too long ago, the new Opa Grille in Williston Park was a warm haven. To find a restaurant that's evenly heated isn't as easy as you might imagine.

Dinner began with a basket of warm pita triangles — whole wheat and regular — accompanying an appetizer of three dips: briny taramasalata (roe), spicy feta with roasted peppers, and a properly garlicky hummus ($9.95). While...

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Amarelle in Wading River closes

Lia Fallon cooks in the kitchen of Amarelle

(Credit: Gordon M. Grant)

Chef Lia Fallon’s lovely, pastoral restaurant, Amarelle in Wading River, has closed. In September, the chef-owner was in a serious car accident that left her with a crushed foot (among other crushed bits) that has kept her on crutches. A chef on crutches can hardly work meal service, and during the busy fall season she hired another chef, Brian Szostak, to pitch in. During the lean months of winter,...

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Sweet n' Savory replaces Eat Piada in Port Jefferson

The new Sweet n' Savory in Port Jefferson

(Credit: Handout)

Sweet n' Savory has launched in the white clapboard Port Jefferson house that last hosted Eat Piada.

Ivan Albert, a New York City firefighter, and his wife, Kimberly Albert, co-own what they call a “crepe and rice pudding bar.” Albert said the place features 14 seasonally changing flavors of rice pudding, his wife’s grandmother’s recipe. “For the holidays, we had flavors like eggnog and pumpkin;...

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Mermaid Asian Bistro & Bar comes to Ronkonkoma

There's fire and nuance in the red curry

(Credit: Newsday/Joan Reminick)

Mermaid Asian Bistro & Bar replaces the short-lived 3 Cuzins Asian Bistro in Ronkonkoma. Unlike its predecessor, this place has a sushi bar — although not in the main dining room but sequestered in a little alcove.

The night I went, I sat in the main dining space, which, truth be told, needed better heating. A bowl of robust wonton soup, with delicate dumplings, took the edge off my chill....

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Turning up the heat on a cold day

Chef Tito Onofre is busy at work at

(Credit: Johnny Simon)

Yes, it's cold outside and it will get colder tomorrow. Actually, the rest of the week is a trip to frigidville, too. So, in addition to preparing for snow, brace yourself. Here are a few ways.

Order the spaghetti with lobster in a spicy tomato sauce at Jonathan's Ristorante in Huntington. If you prefer a mellow way to warmth: a saute of wild mushrooms with soft polenta.

Dive into the...

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