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Bivio opens in Huntington

At Bivio in Huntington, rabbit alla cacciatora is

At Bivio in Huntington, rabbit alla cacciatora is served on homemade pappardelle. (March 12, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

“Bivio” means “fork in the road” in Italian, and it's a very apt name for this month-old Huntington restaurant: Bivio Ristorante Italiano is located right where East Deer Park Road veers off from East Jericho Turnpike.

The restaurant also represents a turning point in the life of its principal owner, Omar Ortega. Ortega was, for almost 15 years, the owner of Mario’s in East Meadow. More recently, he worked as a manager — and dining-room fixture — at Luigi Q in Hicksville. Now he’s taking another chance at restaurant ownership.

He’s off to a good start. Ortega’s crew gave what used to be Martoni’s an extreme cleanup and makeover. Both the bar and the dining room are spacious and comfortable. The restaurant can seat up to 125, and the backroom, which holds 65, can be closed off for private parties.

The kitchen is under the command of chef Pastor Alfaro, who ran the kitchen at Luigi Q for six years and, before that, worked at La Veranda in Glen Cove. I’d describe his cooking at Bivio as a decorous blend of Italian and Continental. Enjoyed on a recent visit: baby spinach salad with pancetta and ricotta, a special of rabbit alla cacciatora served over homemade pappardelle, duck a l’orange with wild rice marred only by an extraneous garnish of sliced strawberries. (There’s a reason nobody makes duck aux fraises.)

Bivio is open for dinner seven days a week and lunch on weekdays. At dinner, appetizers and salads are $9 to $13, pastas and chicken-based mains in the high teens, fish and most meat entrees in the low $20s. At lunch there are five panini for $10.95, pastas are in the low teens and no entree is more than $17.95 (that would be the veal forestiere and pan-roasted Atlantic salmon).

Bivio Ristorante is at 1801 E. Jericho Tpke., Huntington, 631-499-9133.

Rabbit alla cacciatora at Bivio

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