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First bites: Ay Que Rico! Port Washington

Watermelon soup at Ay Que Rico, Port Washington

Watermelon soup at Ay Que Rico, Port Washington Credit: Newsday/Joan Reminick

A recent dinner at the new Ay Que Rico! in Port Washington got off to a bright start with a big pitcher of red sangria ($20). The patio in back looked like a lovely place to eat, given the right weather. The night I went, eating indoors made more sense.

But that was fine, since the place is both airy and pretty. Chef Eduardo Bover (who cooked at Café Fuego in Manhattan and Mojito in Brooklyn) makes a vibrant seviche ($7.95) of shrimp, cilantro, red onion, mango and lime, accompanied by plantain chips. What really impressed me was a cool watermelon and mint soup ($5.95), summer in a bowl.

A Cuban sandwich ($7.95) with roasted pork, ham, Swiss, pickles and a garlic “mojo”  was meltingly good. And I liked the simple, well-spiced roasted chicken ($11.95). But the camarones con coco ($15.95), shrimp in coconut cream, was sticky-sweet. And I wanted more kick from the ropa vieja ($14.95), slow-cooked skirt steak with onions and red peppers.

Ay Que Rico! is at 95-97 Manorhaven Blvd., Port Washington, 516-944-2730.

Above: Watermelon soup at Ay Que Rico!, Port Washington