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First bite: Cafe Capriccio in Port Washington

A display of biscotti in the dining room

A display of biscotti in the dining room of Cafe Capriccio in Hicksville (July 8, 2010) Photo Credit: Bruce Gilbert

When you start to think that trendlets reign, that only loudness gets attention, and every dish described is a science experiment, Elio Sobrero comes through.

Cafe Capriccio is the newest restaurant by Sobrero and Bobbi Schwinger. Veteran diners will remember Sobrero from the haute Long Island days of La Primavera in East Hills and later Capriccio in Jericho. Eventually, he relocated to Hicksville, where his most recent eatery was a family-style spot.

Now, he's back in a comfortable, well-run and well-priced ristorante on the former site of Montebello, at the Port Washington railroad station. Make it your stop  for a dependably good, mostly traditional Italian-continental meal that's both refreshing and seasoned with nostalgia.

Sobrero's very satisfying fare includes a lively white salad with fennel, hearts of palm, endive, celery and shavings of Parmesan cheese; hearty meat lasagna; a first-rate pork chop Milanese; and one of the better preparations of branzino, moist and light, drizzled with olive oil that's flavored with garlic and herbs.

And when it's time for dessert: the trademark meringue "bombé," high and airy, finished with crème anglaise. It will remind you of a floating island the size of Australia. Devotees of Sobrero's earlier restaurants also will have their memories stirred by his "chocolate velvet” cake, an exercise in richness that still makes you smile.

Cafe Capriccio, 14 Haven Ave., Port Washington; 516-938-0220.



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