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Gran Paradiso in Island Park: First bites

Gran Paradiso, Island Park, in the former digs

Gran Paradiso, Island Park, in the former digs of Meson Iberia. Read more. Credit: Gran Paradiso Italian Cuisine

The Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso was Italy's first national park, a stunner from its glaciers to grasslands,  between the Aosta Valley and Piedmont.

There are a few references to these regions at Gran Paradiso restaurant in Island Park. But the fare at this friendly spot generally is very familiar, from fried calamari and baked clams to eggplant Parmigiana and rigatoni with filetto di pomodoro sauce.

Yes, you can veer northwest with carpaccio, or tender uncooked beef capped with an arugula and shaved fennel salad and Asiago cheese. But most of the better dishes come from other provinces and from the Italian-American repertoire. Eggplant Parmigiana is very good, as is the pan-seared pork chop with hot and sweet cherry peppers.

Desserts are led by cannoli, the classic Sicilian sweet; and zabaglione, which originated in Emilia-Romagna. No chocolate pudding with crushed hazelnuts ... yet.

Gran Paradiso, 4535 Austin Blvd., Island Park; 516-432-1200.

 

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