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BiVio's baked eggplant appetizer. (April 12, 2012)

BiVio's baked eggplant appetizer. (April 12, 2012) Credit: Jeremy Bales

BiVio means a fork in the road. And, as philosopher of language Yogi Berra once said: If you come to a fork in the road, take it.

He must have known that the arrival of BiVio was near. The gracious, generous Italian restaurant is in business where East Jericho Turnpike and East Deer Park Road get acquainted.

The original Fred's, complete with its Teutonic diner design, used to send out the sauerbraten at this address. Once Fred's served its final strudel years ago, there ceased to be a reason to stop in.

But BiVio changes that. The polished, soft-hued and remade newcomer quickly has established itself as a local magnet. That's due to the very professional service, and especially to chef Pastor Alfaro, formerly of Luigi Q in Hicksville.

His dependable cooking takes in Italian-American staples and sometimes goes beyond them.

Savory calamari all'arabbiata is sauteed and sparked with hot cherry peppers in the marinara. Return to shore with an excellent special of tender tripe marinara, made a bit huskier with white beans.

Buttery clams casino is no gamble here, under a cap of pancetta. Even better: the multilayered baked eggplant, red-sauced, finished with four cheeses and not a trace of the bitterness that so often sabotages the melanzane.

Pappardelle alla Bolognese, wide ribbons of pasta in a light meat sauce, is a fine variation on the theme. The Bolognese sauce also stars with cortecce, similar to elongated cavatelli, and a pasta that's tasty with the house's pesto, too. Some tomato and ricotta salata relocate the pesto from Liguria, but you won't mind the move.

Sole a la BiVio is a very good, moist, snowy, thick fillet sauteed in white wine sauce, with a handful of pine nuts, shrimp and chopped tomato. Sauteed red snapper, in a light pink sauce strewn with capers, is equally recommended.

Chicken scarpariello comes on the bone, flanked by sausages and peppers, in a garlic-and-rosemary sauce with a vinegary edge. Roast duck, meaty and juicy, receives a two-fruit treatment, with raspberry sauce and a mantle of sliced plums -- one fruit too many.

Conclude with well-made Italian cheesecake, tiramisu or cannoli rather than the crepes with bananas Foster and Nutella.

Look for that fork. Remember Berra's advice: "If you don't know where you're going, you might end up someplace else."

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