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Merengue dances into GCP

Merengue's baked chicken with rice & beans and

Merengue's baked chicken with rice & beans and avocado salad Credit: Joan Reminick

Merengue Dominican Restaurant has all the right moves – at least when it comes to affordable Latin American cooking. The ultracasual place in Garden City Park has steam table counter service at lunch and just recently started serving dinner. A liquor license is in the works.

Lunch, recently, featured a sparkling fresh seafood salad made with big shrimp and tender squid. I had savory baked chicken with yellow rice and beans and a bright green avocado salad. A pal’s oxtail stew was oh so homey and satisfying.

Lunch prices are especially low: $6 buys a platter that includes meat, rice and beans plus a side dish. At dinner, oxtail stew goes for $11.95, baked chicken $8.95, shrimp with rice $12.95, lobster with sauce $19.95. A family-style alternative is to feed up to four with a takeout combination that includes a whole baked chicken with rice and beans, salad, sweet plantains and a 2 liter bottle of soda for $18.95.

Intriguing menu items that will bring me back for more: tripe soup, sancocho (hen soup-stew) and mofongo (mashed green plantains) with pork or seafood.

Merengue Dominican Restaurant is at 2164 Jericho Tpke., Garden City Park, 516-877-2600.

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