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First bite: Mara's Homemade in Syosset

Beignets served at Mara's Homemade in Syosset. (June

Beignets served at Mara's Homemade in Syosset. (June 2011) Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti

A confession: During an '80s spring, I stood in line for almost three hours to get into K-Paul's in New Orleans.

Twice.

On a single day, I breakfasted at Brennan's, had coffee and beignets at Cafe du Monde, took out a sandwich at Central Grocery, lunched at Galatoire's and enjoyed dinner at Commander's Palace.

The rest of the weekend was great, too.

All of which brings me to Mara's Homemade, which has migrated to Syosset from Manhattan, loaded with Cajun specialties, barbecue, a raw bar, great pies and enough crayfish to satisfy the heartiest appetite.

Look for the little sign that identifies the shopping-center eatery on the south side of Jericho Turnpike. Eat in or take out. And have a very good, very messy meal.

A three-pound bucket of peppery crayfish will do for two or three. Order some hush puppies and fried pickles, sample the jambalaya and the shrimp etouffee, have a spoonful of gumbo. Get some chopped brisket and pulled pork and pour on the hot sauce.

And share the puffy beignets, while leaving room for a slice of chocolate cream pie.

No liquor license yet. But the lemonade is fine.

Mara's Homemade, 236 W. Jericho Tpke., in the Muttontown Plaza shopping center, Syosset; 516-682-9200.

Under a shower of powdered sugar: beignets.

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