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A view of 420 North Restaurant in Great

A view of 420 North Restaurant in Great Neck from outside. (May 18, 2012) Credit: Johnny Simon

The new 420 North succeeds Oevo, at a very popular address along a busy restaurant row.

Don't worry: The pizza oven is still here.

The theme at 420 North is mostly New American, with Italian and continental notes. And it's generally well played, under chef John Ringle, formerly of Vittorio's in Amityville.

Divided between a serene, restrained dining room and a comfortable, easygoing bar area, 420 North has broad appeal. Enter via parted curtains to a polished wood-white tablecloth style, as well as a window on the kitchen.

But back to the pizzas.

Share one or two while deciding on appetizers or turn them into an official starter. They're very good. "The Aviator" flies in with a flavorful topping of caramelized onions, Gorgonzola cheese and pear. The four-cheese pie, with Gorgonzola, Gruyère, Asiago and mozzarella, nearly rivals it.

Salads also are worth sampling. The beet-and-goat-cheese number gets heft from smoked bacon, walnuts and mandarin orange, in an apple- cider vinaigrette. The pear-and-Stilton-cheese production has a supporting cast of baby spinach, grape tomatoes, onions, candied walnuts and applewood-smoked bacon, in a sweeter dressing.

For the last cool night of spring, there's a respectable onion soup, crowned with a garlic crouton and melted Gruyère. The shrimp cocktail is fine, as are the mussels steamed with white wine and the fried calamari, with a "spicy tomato sauce" that keeps the heat low.

But pan-seared crabcakes are a bit bland, despite the dill-mango rémoulade. And baked littlenecks arrive chewy and dry. The short-rib turnover, sort of an empanada manqué, similarly slips away.

420 North veers Italian with tasty fusilli Bolognese, which has a hint of sage, and bucatini tossed with squid and shellfish in a spirited red sauce.

Pecan-crusted St. Peter's fish, mild and appealing, is finished with a hazelnut-cream sauce. Cedar-planked salmon benefits from mustard sauce. The seafood paella contains shellfish, tilapia, chorizo, each overcooked in its own way.

But the dry-aged sirloin stands out, fibrous and juicy, able to compete with the prime steakhouses nearby at a more modest price. The filet mignon and porterhouse do the same. Breast of Long Island duck, in a Grand Marnier-fueled orange sauce, is tender and to the point.

Desserts are routine, though the "open cannoli" in a flower-shaped shell gets your attention.

420 North does too.


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