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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.

Closed in Albertson: Mitch & Toni’s

Chef Mitch SuDock poses for a photograph in

(Credit: Jin Lee)

Mitch & Toni’s, the New American collaboration between chef Mitch SuDock and manager Toni Contino, has closed.

The restaurant opened in May 2011 and earned 2½ stars from Newsday's Peter M. Gianotti, who praised the tender baby back ribs, the sweet Asian-accent barbecue chicken wings, bacon-wrapped monkfish and the chef's signature pistachio-crusted halibut with lemon-beurre blanc. SuDock...

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Open: True American Kitchen in Mineola

Roasted beet carpaccio -- with mache, frisee, orange,

(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)

True American Kitchen has opened in the Jericho Turnpike spot that was formerly Lula Trattoria (and, before that, Circa Enoteca).

True to its name, the restaurant offers regional American classics such as Louisiana shrimp and grits, New England lobster roll, Buffalo wings, Southern fried chicken and waffles, roast chicken and a burger, albeit one with slab bacon, smoked Gouda, avocado, crispy...

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Open in West Hempstead: Istanbul Doner Kebab House

Assorted kebabs at Istanbul Doner Kebab House in

(Credit: Istanbul Doner Kebab House)

The new Istanbul Doner Kebab House in West Hempstead is a Turkish and Mediterranean grocery as well as a restaurant. Owner Kerin Kayaci said that the place offers table service for those who want to stay and eat.

On the menu: shepherd salad ($4.50 small; $7.50 large), hummus ($4), falafel ($4), chicken chops ($12), lamb shish kebab ($12), house-made beef and lamb doner, or gyro ($12), chicken...

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Bosphorus Cafe Grill in Port Washington: First bites

Puffy hollow lavas bread at Bosphorus Cafe Grill

(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)

An outdoor table at the new Bosporus Cafe Grill in Port Washington seemed the place to be on a recent evening. But the breeze got a bit too chilly, so we ate indoors in the simply but handsomely appointed dining room for what proved a positive experience.

The ideal accompaniment for a mixed appetizer plate ($18.50) — hummus, ezme (spicy chopped vegetables), babaganush, tabbouleh (cracked wheat...

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Azafrán Colombian Restaurant in St. James: First bites

Rotisserie roasted chicken at Azafran in St. James

(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)

Azafrán Colombian Restaurant in St. James is simple but attractive in design. You may recognize the site as the former home of Red Tomato and, before that, Attilio’s Grill. Outside the place, a life-size statue of a chef greets customers.

The house specialty, rotisserie roasted chicken, is what you want to get. I had it as part of a “bandeja,” ($11) or platter, that also included chicken...

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Open in Long Beach: Grotta di Fuoco

Grotta di Fuoco is a new Italian restaurant

(Credit: Grotta di Fuoco)

The floods of superstorm Sandy closed Caffe Laguna in Long Beach but did not destroy the restaurant’s wood-burning oven. That oven has inspired Caffe Laguna’s successor: Grotta di Fuoco, “cave of fire,” which opened two weeks ago.

The new restaurant’s chef-owner is Andrew Allotti, who worked briefly at Caffe Laguna and, before that, for two years at Sole in Oceanside. Raised in Baldwin, Allotti...

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Fairway Market offers senior discount

Fairway Market opens a new store in Lake

(Credit: Fairway Market)

Fairway Market is reaching out to older customers by introducing its 6% FOR SIXTY discount program.

Starting Aug. 26, customers 60 and older will get a 6 percent discount on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at Fairway Markets in Plainview, Westbury and Lake Grove. The program was launched in the spring at Fairway locations in Paramus and Woodland Park, New Jersey, and Nanuet, New York. Seniors must...

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The Refuge to succeed Four Food Studio in Melville

The Refuge Food & Spirits, under construction on

(Credit: Newsday / Erica Marcus)

The construction has been going on for months, but the sign has now gone up to announce the successor to Melville’s sprawling Four Food Studio & Cocktail Salon. The new restaurant’s name is The Refuge Food & Spirits. Plans for the menu include a blend of Italian and Latin comfort foods. 

“We wanted to serve food that was accessible, immediately understandable. The Latin guys kept...

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Open in Port Jefferson: Mesita Coastal Cantina

Frozen Margarita and sangria at Mesita Coastal Cantina

(Credit: Mesita Coastal Cantina)

Mesita Coastal Cantina is serving frozen Margaritas, ceviche and tamales in the Port Jefferson space that last hosted Tequila Jacks. The place is co-owned by Eric Goldberg and Matt McBride, who is also an owner at Parlay Gastropub in Rockville Centre.

In charge of the kitchen is chef Victor Chicas, who last cooked at Parlay Gastropub. On the mostly Mexican menu: pork tamales ($8.50), blackened...

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Open in Mineola: Spaghettini Pizza Trattoria

Counter at the new Spaghettini PIzza Trattoria in

Old-fashioned Italian cooking is at the heart of the new Spaghettini Pizza Trattoria, which replaces the departed Michelangelo’s Pizzeria & Restaurant on Mineola Boulevard.

The place is owned by the Vetrano family. You may be familiar with Joe Vetrano, who owns Skinny Pizza in Roslyn Heights and Roosevelt Field. “It’s my brother Pasquale Vetrano who is in charge,” said Vetrano, adding...

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