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Buenos Diaz Cafe in Woodbury: First bites

BBQ baby back ribs and rotisserie chicken with

BBQ baby back ribs and rotisserie chicken with mac & cheese and fried sweet plantains at Buenos Diaz Cafe in Woodbury. (January, 2014) Credit: Newsday Joan Reminick

The new Buenos Diaz Cafe offers BBQ with a Latin accent, along with sandwiches, bagels and lox and deli items. In charge of the 'cue is Mike Diaz, a BBQ competition winner. Co-owner Luis Sotero owned the bagel store that previously occupied the strip mall spot.

When I stopped in for lunch on a recent afternoon, I found an enterprise not quite sure of its identity.

While a sign indicated there was table service in the dining area (which also has a sofas and a TV), timing and efficiency proved problematic. True, an order of three empanadas ($8.95)  arrived right away. And they were pretty good — one filled with shredded BBQ chicken, one with ground Colombian-style beef and a third with somewhat dry pulled pork. But it was close to an hour before the rest of the meal was brought.  And the half rack baby back ribs on my BBQ combo ($14.99) was only lukewarm. Still, they had great depth of flavor and smokiness, while the quarter chicken sharing the plate was hot and savory.

Accompanying mac and cheese, however, was totally devoid of seasoning, although fried sweet plantains were terrific. My companion’s El Cubano panino ($8.49) — with Caribbean-style roast pork, ham, pickles, mayo and mustard — proved an unqualified hit.

No question, Diaz is a genial guy who is skilled with a smoker.  Still, he and Sotero have a few issues to work on for Buenos Diaz to run smoothly as an eat-in spot.

Buenos Diaz Cafe is at 108 Woodbury Rd., Woodbury, 516-224-4830,

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