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4 new restaurants with successful siblings

Brick-oven Margherita pizzette is crisp and puffy at

Brick-oven Margherita pizzette is crisp and puffy at Spuntino in St. James. Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

In the dining world, success breeds satellites. Here are four new restaurants whose older siblings have already established themselves.

MIRAJ HEALTHY GRILL

Offshoot of the two-star Williston Park Persian, Miraj succeeds three short-lived Indian restaurants at the same address -- Taste of Madras, Curry Club and Aspara. The menu is identical to the original, featuring soulful Persian cuisine. Kashkeh bodemjan, a silky-smooth dip of eggplant, tomato and yogurt, and a bright chopped Shirazi salad are winning starters. Kebabs, served on platters heaped with basmati rice pilaf, are uniformly excellent. 

96 N. Broadway, Hicksville, 516-597-4440, mirajhealthygrill.com

CAFÉ MENDOZA ARGENTINE TAPAS BAR

Commack now has an Argentine tapas bar to call its own since Hugo Garcia and Fabio Machado launched Café Mendoza, a smaller version of their Huntington restaurant Café Buenos Aires. The two menus are very similar -- lots of small plates inspired by the cuisines of Spain and Argentina, grilled meats and seafood specialties -- and a few of the more popular special tapas at Buenos Aires (braised pork belly with dried fruits, steak tartare) have earned a permanent place on Mendoza's menu.

169 Commack Rd., Commack, 631-486-8848, cafemendoza.com

MARGARITA'S CAFE

Wantagh's new Mexican restaurant is part of a Long Island chainlet with branches in Hicksville and East Meadow. It takes over the former home of Toro Pazzo, Trattachino and Lounge Burger. On the menu: guacamole made tableside, fish tacos, enchiladas suizas with chicken or shrimp, chicken or beef tamales and chicken mole poblano.

753 Wantagh Ave., Wantagh, 516-595-7278, margaritascafe.com

SPUNTINO

Serving pizza, pasta and Parms, Spuntino isn't breaking new ground. But this St. James branch of the Dix Hills stalwart is among the more attractive of its ilk, with a spacious interior brightened by an expanse of arched windows. Friendly service adds to the overall experience. Margherita pizzette, arancini al forno, fettuccine Bolognese, chicken Parm and the New Orleans-inspired muffuletta panino are all recommended.

420 N. Country Rd. St. James, 631-686-6700, spuntinoonline.com

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