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The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene

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Joan Reminick

In an ongoing search to find Long Island’s best restaurant values, restaurant critic Joan Reminick has plowed through more pad thai, penne ala vodka and pulled pork than she cares to admit. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Joan grew up in a happy home whose only shortcomings were culinary. After a childhood of cooked-to-leather steaks, canned peas and Ore Ida fries, she made it a personal mission to seek out food that’s fresh, lively and carefully prepared. Married to her teen sweetheart, she received a B.A. from Brooklyn College and an M.S. from Hofstra University and taught English and Humanities in a Long Island high school for several years. When her two children were born, she embarked on a writing career and has had both fiction and nonfiction works published in national magazines. She also edited the Zagat Survey of Long Island Restaurants and wrote the book “Exploring Long Island with Newsday.” In addition to doing weekly “Cheap Eats” restaurant reviews, Joan hunts down restaurant news items and writes restaurant-related articles. These days, her motto is: making Long Island a better place to eat, one blog entry at a time.

Open in Massapequa: Pudgie's Naked Chicken Co.

Cobb salad from Pudgie's Naked Chicken Co. in

(Credit: Pudgie's Naked Chicken Co.)

The flagship restaurant for the new Pudgie’s Naked Chicken Co. just launched in Massapequa. The franchise eatery is owned by Trufoods LLC, whose president, Gary Occhiogrosso, said he is reinventing the Pudgie’s Famous brand, which still has five takeout spots on Long Island.

While the new Pudgie’s Naked Chicken Co. features skinless fried chicken, its menu has been modernized to spotlight...

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Old-school Chinese at Albert’s Mandarin Gourmet, Huntington

Spare ribs are one of the old-school appetizers

(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)

My poor dad. He’s constantly being dragged to far-flung eateries, forced to consume obscure regional specialties or unfamiliar animal parts — often in the same dish. So last week, I took pity on him and suggested we meet at Albert’s Mandarin Gourmet in Huntington Village, where we could eat Chinese like it was 1979.

Albert’s Mandarin Gourmet opened in 2002, the successor to Mandarin Gourmet...

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Open: Mama Mia of Northport

Mama Mia, new to Northport in July 2014,

(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)

Mama Mia of Northport is now serving pizza, pasta and parms in the Fort Salonga Road strip mall that also houses King Kullen.

The new pizzeria-trattoria is an offshoot of the two-year-old Porto Fino in Huntington. The two restaurants share nearly (but not totally) identical menus. Included in Mama Mia's repertoire are a Margherita pizzette ($8.25), a 16-inch Neapolitan pan pie ($16), fried...

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Blaze Pizza in West Babylon opens, offering free pies

Custom pies are made assembly-line style at Blaze

(Credit: Blaze Pizza)

Blaze Pizza in West Babylon is giving a free 11-inch pizza to every customer on Friday — with whatever toppings she or he desires. The California-based chain of custom-assembled artisanal pies opened its first Long Island location on Thursday in the Great South Bay Shopping Center in West Babylon.

Blaze is set up like a Chipotle Mexican Grill. As you move along the line, you tell a pizza assembler...

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Sunday farmers market in Spinney Hill, Great Neck

The Spinney Hill Farmers Market in Great Neck

(Credit: Spinney Hill Farmers Market)

It started a little late in the season, but a new farmers market has launched in the Spinney Hill section of Great Neck. The Sunday market is sponsored by North Shore-LIJ Health System and, in addition to produce (from Stan-Pat Farm in East Moriches and Perez Farm in upstate Goshen), the hospital will be hosting short talks on such health-related topics as container gardening, healthy eating on...

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Long Island restaurants: New reviews

A waitress, left, and manager Anthony Panepinto, right,

(Credit: Alessandro Vecchi)

In this week’s Newsday, Erica Marcus reviews Matteo’s Trattoria in Roslyn Heights. The veteran family-style Italian has gotten a makeover. The dining room has gone “from drab to fab,” and new executive chef Anthony Martarana has added New American and modern Italian items to the menu. “But never fear, portions are still enormous.”

Joan Reminick visits Dori in Commack, the latest in a string...

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Crazy Beans in Stony Brook: First bites

Whimsical salt and pepper shakers at Crazy Beans

(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)

While it’s surely possible to get a healthful breakfast or lunch at the new Crazy Beans in Stony Brook, the emphasis here is on comfort and indulgence. Such was my observation on a recent midmorning visit to the attractive new offshoot of a Miller Place eatery.

I ordered chicken and waffles. It was Cheesy Biscuits with eggs and sausage gravy for my companion. His dish was spot-on, the Cheddar...

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Surf-and-turf special at George Martin in Rockville Centre

Shrimp are grilled over a high flame for

(Credit: Doug Young)

On summer Saturdays, George Martin restaurant in Rockville Centre is offering a surf-and-turf  fixed-price dinner.

The three-course special, $49.95 plus tax and tip, includes a mini-lobster roll, with knuckle and claw meat, on a Parker House roll, with lemon zest and fresh chives; a Chairman's Reserve rib-eye steak with home fries, creamed spinach and horseradish cream; and a dessert...

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Open in Port Jefferson: Old Fields, the spinoff

The Classic burger at Old Fields in Greenlawn

(Credit: Jeremy Bales)

The Port Jefferson offshoot of the Greenlawn gastropub Old Fields is up and running in the Wynn Lane space that, for more than a decade, housed Pace’s Steak House.

Owner Dave Tunney said the restaurant's menu is the same as the one in Greenlawn, its decor quite similar, as well.  But there’s been a chef change. Now running the kitchens at both restaurants is David Rothstein, whose credits...

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Open in Riverhead: Taqueria Cielito Lindo

Taqueria Cielito Lindo serves authentic Mexican fare in

(Credit: Taqueria Cielito Lindo)

Taqueria Cielito Lindo is now serving authentic Mexican fare in the former digs of Julia’s Pizzeria & Restaurant in Riverhead. The place, offering both counter and table service, is owned by married couple Jasmin and Edgar Diaz-Leal, who are also its co-chefs.

Tortillas used for tacos are handmade using white corn flour, said Jasmin Diaz-Leal, who added that she and her husband plan to...

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