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International dining in Hicksville

A waiter with various dishes served at Royal

A waiter with various dishes served at Royal Bukhara Grill. All food can be cooked mild, medium or hot. (Feb. 28, 2009) Photo Credit: Nicholas Roberts

There are more than 200 places to eat in Hicksville, according to the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce.

In almost every direction, you'll find a taste of the Middle East or the Far East, western Europe or Latin America, as well as the points where they sometimes meet.

It's the hub for Nassau and Suffolk's top Indian dining and home to the rare Korean eatery. The very long restaurant row also is the capital of kebabs. Anyone needing fast food will find that in bulk. Chains abound.

This report is about dipping into the melting pot. Joan Reminick, Erica Marcus and Peter M. Gianotti ate their way around this culinary crossroads. Here are their 20 favorites from their adventures along the way.

 INDIAN

ROYAL BUKHARA GRILL, 70 Broadway, 516-822-2400, royalbukharagrill.com

Subtitled "Indian Spice Rave," Royal Bukhara Grill delivers clay-oven heat and seasoning to match. It's dependable for dishes such as the amply herbed kadai chicken, shrimp bhuna with garlic and ginger, and vegetable fritters, plus a savory bread basket.

Cost $-$$


AMINIA OF CALCUTTA, 253 S. Broadway, 516-605-0575

A street-food marvel, the kati roll defines Aminia, which has ties to an 80-year-old Calcutta establishment. The namesake roll: paratha bread enfolding either marinated, tandoor-grilled and pan-sauteed chicken or mutton. The anda roll adds egg wash. Also available: kebabs, curries.

Cost $


DIWAN, 415 S. Broadway, 516-513-1057

Diwan covers all the basics with experience and good service. Reliable for dishes that include bang-bang shrimp, sparked with black pepper; spicy chicken or lamb vindaloo; tandoori lamb chops; chole Peshawari, or chick peas and potatoes; and bread stuffed with onion and cilantro.

Cost $-$$


HOUSE OF DOSAS, 416 S. Broadway, 516-938-7517, houseofdosas.com

The specialty is southern Indian cuisine here, with excellent vegetarian cooking and subtle spicing. Mandatory: the namesake dosas, or rice crepes, filled with potatoes, onions, cheese; medu vada, lentil doughnuts; uthappam, rice-flour pancakes, zesty with peppers and peas.

Cost $-$$


DOSA DINER, 128 S. Broadway, 516-681-5151, dosadiner.us

The lacy crepes of South India come with a variety of potato-based fillings at this neat, spare vegetarian spot. Especially enticing is fluffy uthappam, with dosa batter in which the filling is baked in. Also, bhel puri, a piquant, Indian riff on Rice Krispies.

Cost $


PUNJABI KABAB HOUSE, 495-18 S. Broadway, 516-933-7113

Big flavors are the specialty at this unassuming, strip-mall storefront. Moist, richly spiced tandoori chicken; piquant Achari chicken kebabs; crimson chicken tikka kebabs and juicy, ground-chicken seekh kebabs are grand. Irresistible breads, too.

Cost $$

PAN-ASIAN

MASALA WOK, 107 Broadway, 516-932-1999

Hakka cuisine, from the nomadic people who settled, among other places, in India and Thailand, highlights this pan-Asian spot. For heat, try manchow soup, laced with ginger, chile sauce and vegetables; and Hakka chile chicken. Milder: Thai red curry with lamb.

Cost $$


WEST EAST BISTRO, 758 S. Broadway, 516-939-6618, westeastbistro.com

Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian and Japanese meet New American at West East Bistro. The handsome restaurant ranks high for lettuce-wrapped chicken Soong, red curries, pot stickers, braised short ribs,

pineapple-glazed pork chops, and genuine hot-and-sour soup.

Cost $$-$$$


COPPER WOK, 16 W. Marie St., 516-681-1947

Copper Wok puts fire and spice into a mix of Indian, Thai and Hakka Chinese dishes, served in an attractive dining room. Try the appetizer combination platter, starring light spring rolls; the tortellini-style momo dumplings, lamb chops, satays, shrimp with black-bean sauce.

Cost $$


NEW CHILLI & CURRY RESTAURANT, 106 Woodbury Rd., 516-932-9180

China, Nepal, India and Thailand come together in this very hospitable, cozy space. Chile-garlic noodles can scorch and comfort at the same time; and the biryani with lamb, chicken and shrimp has plenty of spunk. More mellow: goat pasanda, a velvety stew with cashews.

Cost $-$$

KOREAN

KOREANA, 478 Plainview Rd., 516-932-4690

Among the very few Korean restaurants on Long Island, this is the only place for BonChon chicken, fried without batter, glazed, addictive. Other specialties: bibim bap rice bowls, mandu dumplings, jap chae noodles, and myriad, hearty beef-based dishes - including DIY BBQ.

Cost $$

THAI

JAIYA, 46 W. Old Country Rd., 516-681-3400, jaiya.com

Offspring of the departed Elmhurst original, Jaiya carries on with satisfying, traditional Thai fare. You'll find very good curries and satays, deftly spiced salads and spirited soups.

Sample lab-nur, beef salad with mint and lime juice; Chinese sausage; whole fish.

Cost $$

JAPANESE

BLUE FISH, 828 S. Oyster Bay Rd., 516-605-0655, bluefishli.com

One of the brightest Japanese restaurants to open in recent years, Blue Fish arrives with a hot-red lounge, cool-blue sushi bar and an array of courses with even more color. Enjoy the spicy tuna dumplings, 5-spice sashimi, tuna pizza, miso-glazed black cod, steak teriyaki.

Cost $$-$$$

MEXICAN-HONDURAN

THE BRAVO'S FAMILY MEXICAN RESTAURANT,
319 Jerusalem Ave., 516-390-8899

The lively, bold cooking outshines the modest decor at this friendly Latin hybrid. Start with coral-hued tortilla soup that floats chunks of avocado and freshly chopped cilantro. Move on to a soft-corn tongue taco that's delectable.

Cost $-$$

AFGHAN

CHOOPAN GRILL, 15 W. Marie St., 516-681-8818, choopangrill.com

Lots of recommendations from this friendly restaurant, including aushak dumplings, stuffed with leeks, capped with yogurt; murgh palow, or tender, curried chicken in brown rice; gutsy keema kebab, or spiced ground beef; firnee, a milk-custard dessert. No alcohol.

Cost $$


KABUL GRILL KABAB & TEA HOUSE, 129 N. Broadway, 516-933-8999

The naanwich, a Middle Eastern version of a burrito, with spiced and skewered grilled ground meat in thin, house-baked pita, is a lunch special at this snug, hospitable spot. At dinner, consider the zereshk Palau, hacked Cornish hen on basmati rice mixed with berries.

Cost $$

COLOMBIAN

LA FINCA, 170 Broadway, 516-935-0951, lafincarestaurante.com

The national dish: Bandeja Tipica, consisting of breakfast (eggs), lunch (rice and beans) and dinner (grilled steak) - and all in one main course. There are dozens of other heartier reasonably priced items on a menu that includes rotisserie-cooked fare.

Cost $

ITALIAN

CAPRICCIO, 294 N. Broadway, 516-938-0220

In full, this is Capriccio Family Style Restaurant, successor to La Primavera and Capriccio. Try the $25 fixed-price menu. Fine fettuccine all'Alfredo, chicken scarpariello. And the nostalgic still can order chocolate velvet cake and the airy meringue bombé as finales.

Cost $$-$$$


LUIGI Q, 400 S. Oyster Bay Rd., 516-932-7450

The menu is a formality at Luigi Quarta's outstanding restaurant. Go with the day's specials and ask about Quarta's favorites. It's market-driven cuisine, with superb seafood, game in season, house-made pastas, cheesecake. And bracing grappa.

Cost $$-$$$


PASTA-ERIA, 440 S. Oyster Bay Rd., 516-938-1555

Imaginative pastas and pizzas are two reasons there is often a wait at this modest-looking place with ties to Emilio's in Commack. Must haves: Grandma and marinara pizzas; and rigatoni alla mama with tomato sauce, meatballs and ricotta. Vibrant and comforting.

Cost $$

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