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Flip Pizza, in Mineola

Flip Pizza

FOOD

526 Jericho Tpke., Mineola

516-280-9603

COST$

AMBIENCE Good

SERVICE Good

ESSENTIALS Daily, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; accepts major credit cards; wheelchair accessible.

The Neapolitan wood-fired oven burns hot at Flip Pizza. At a temperature of about 1,000 degrees, a 12-inch pie takes only about 90 seconds to cook. Its clean-tasting crust, made with imported Italian flour, comes out lightly charred and slightly puffy; the topping may be simple or fancy. This is fast food in the best possible sense.

Behind this sleek new counter-service operation are brothers Cliff and Jonathan Magri (who also own several 5 Guys eateries), along with partner Frank Blasi, a Westchester restaurateur and pizza pro. Their well-trained team keeps the pies coming. Salads and pastas, too.

Given a choice between the simple $7.50 Margherita, made with fior di latte mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes and basil, and the $11.50 alternative featuring mozzarella di bufala, I'd pick the cheaper and, curiously, more opulent pie. A fiery winner is the diavolo, done with sopressata picante, crushed red pepper flakes and Flip's proprietary spicy-sweet drizzle. As fragrant as it is delectable, the funghi pie features roasted Portobello mushrooms anointed with truffle oil.

Pistachio pizza is an inspired invention topped with garlic, nuts, mozzarella, roasted red onions, grated grana Padano, rosemary and oregano. A similarly garlicky clam pie gets its salty kick from pancetta.

One frigid night, I was glad to be dipping my spoon into the chunky minestrone. A friend's hearty pasta e fagioli was loaded with pasta and beans, highly seasoned.

Topping out at $10, fresh pasta -- cavatelli, orecchietti or fusilli -- comes out al dente, well sauced with garlic and oil, a vivid tomato sauce, or a rich Bolognese. Too bad a vegetarian pal was unable to have the vodka sauce, since it's prepared with pancetta. Salads are fresh and bright. I like the classic Caesar as well as the Pompeii, made with pears, hazelnuts, pancetta and arugula, its pear vinaigrette not overly sweet.

Nor is the nutella dessert pizza the least bit cloying, as it often seems to be. Its chocolate-hazelnut filling is sandwiched between flaky crusts cut into thin strips. Just one more surprise from a place that's hardly your typical corner pizzeria.

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