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La Cucina in Hewlett: First bites

Chicken scarpariello at La Cucina in Hewlett. (August

Chicken scarpariello at La Cucina in Hewlett. (August 2012) Credit: Newsday/Peter Gianotti

Peter Curcio knows the kitchen enough to call his restaurant La Cucina, a newcomer that's worth visiting for his flavorful take on Italian-American standards and more.

La Cucina fills a storefront space with some contemporary art and streamlined furnishings, as if to put a contemporary frame on a traditional picture. The place looks fine. The service is friendly. And the food often is very good.

You'll enjoy the hearty chicken scarpariello, on the bone and bolstered with sausages, potatoes, peppers and a modest, vinegary edge. Long-cut, grilled octopus with chickpeas is a tasty opener. The mascarpone cheesecake, creamy and light, heads the sweets.

Curcio was chef-owner of the departed Heirloom in Locust Valley. He also cooked at the defunct Corbin & Reynolds in Long Beach.

At La Cucina, main courses are in the high teens to mid-twenties.

La Cucina, 1241 Broadway, Hewlett; 516-837-0475.

Chicken scarpariello at La Cucina.

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