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Cabo Fresh, Stony Brook: First bites

Salad with fire-grilled chicken at Cabo Fresh in

Salad with fire-grilled chicken at Cabo Fresh in Stony Brook.

Cabo Fresh in Stony Brook is the newest entry from Jim DiVilio, no stranger to restaurant launches. Some of DiVilio’s previous hits include Laguna Grille in Woodbury, Baja Grill in East Northport and Smithtown and El Dorado Southern Grille in Port Jefferson — the only other place he’s still affiliated with.

Aiming to make this attractive new Tex-Mex spot as green as possible, DiVilio constructed its interior using reclaimed plywood and recycled glass. Appliances, he said, are ultra efficient. Disposable bowls are fashioned from plant material, their covers, from a corn by-product.

There are obvious similarities to Chipotle Fresh Mexican Grill, among them the menu format and the method of service: customers move along a line and choose ingredients. Everything, DiVilio said, is made in house “from scratch.”

I was impressed with what I tried at a recent lunch. A salad ($6.95) made with a combination of romaine and baby spinach — each available separately — was topped with grilled dark-meat chicken —  moist, juicy and smoky. On top of that went Texmati rice flavored with citrus, black beans, mild pico de gallo, mango salsa and roasted corn salsa. Given how vibrant and appealing this mix was, the addition of salad dressing would have been extraneous.

Also on the Cabo Fresh menu: quesadillas, nachos,  tacos — crisp corn or soft flour but, sadly, not the soft corn variety, a “Baja bowl” and a burrito. Protein choices, in addition to chicken, include grilled steak, chili-roasted beef, sweet pork carnitas, grilled shrimp and seared ahi tuna. There’s also a vegetarian option. Depending upon which main ingredient you pick, prices range from $6.95 to $9.95.

DiVilio, who divides his time between his two eateries, is assisted by his wife, Diana, sons Jim and Anthony and daughter, Victoria.

Cabo Fresh is located in the same shopping center as the AMC Loews multiplex theater, 2182 Nesconset Hwy., Stony Brook, 631-751-2226.

Pictured: Salad with fire-grilled chicken

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