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Syosset: Cafe Testarossa revs up

Syosset, N.Y. --- March 2010 --- It's panna

Syosset, N.Y. --- March 2010 --- It's panna cotta with biscotti and egg cream shooter at Cafe Testarossa in Syosset. Two more photos coming. ( Newsday Photo/ Peter Gianotti) Photo Credit: Newsday/Peter Gianotti

Cafe Testarossa used to have a wall-length image of a red Ferrari in its main dining room. The sporty car wheeled out a while back. Today, the place is subtler and so's the food.

The eatery stays mainly Italian, but with some tasty New American twists.  A thick cut of pan-seared halibut is juiced up by lemon zest in its breadcrumb crust, plus a citrus beurre blanc. The poached pear-and-red beet salad crosses borders with feta cheese, dried cherries, candied pistachios and a apple-cider vinaigrette. Vanilla-and-chocolate panna cotta arrives with biscotti and a mini-egg cream - refreshing and good. Cherry-vanilla ice cream complements a frozen Nutella cake.They're all first-rate.

Traditional Italian dishes are carefully prepared, too. The pecorino-cheese crusted artichoke and the crunchy-outside, creamy-inside rice balls are excellent. Likewise, the horizontal pizza with pesto, Gorgonzola cheese and olive oil; and the ricotta-and-spinach ravioli in marinara sauce.

Drive in.

Cafe Testarossa is at 499 Jericho Tpke., just west of the Seaford-Oyster Bay Expressway (Route 135); 516-364-8877.

Panna cotta at Cafe Testarossa. Newsday / Peter Gianotti

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