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Fuego Picante in East Meadow: First bites

Pulled pork-and-chorizo empanadas are served at Fuego Picante

Pulled pork-and-chorizo empanadas are served at Fuego Picante in East Meadow. (March 2013) Credit: Newsday Peter Gianotti

Fuego Picante, while neither fiery nor spicy for food, does manage to burn up your wallet.

You may effortlessly drop a lot of pesos at the new , casual Mexican "smokehouse & cantina,+" which succeeds a series of short-lived restaurants at this Hempstead Turnpike site.

The latest from the Singh Hospitality Group does offer an abundance of tequilas to fuel the festivities. And maybe that's what Fuego Picante is all about. On a weekend  night, the colorful dining room does have a party atmosphere.

Fittingly, the smoked-short rib nachos ($11) are respectable enough, covering the establishment's two-way kitchen. But guacamole ($11) is routine and pulled pork-and-chorizo empanadas ($10), dry. The "fire grilled barbeque" grouper  ($24) improves things. None of the desserts does.

Maybe it will be better by Cinco de Mayo.

Fuego Picante, 2367 Hempstead Tpke., East Meadow; 516-731-3333.

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