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Nissos in Syosset: First bites

Grilled octopus is served as an appetizer at

Grilled octopus is served as an appetizer at Nissos in Syosset in July 2014. Photo Credit: Newsday / Peter M. Gianotti

Is 13 lucky?

Nissos is the 13th restaurant in 24 years at this address near the Syosset railroad station. It's definitely among the best-looking, too.

Awash in Aegean blue and white, with sail-like cloth billowing above and a display of fresh fish on ice near the kitchen, the whole place already merits praise for design and decoration.

Early on, some good choices include the tasty Greek spreads, especially the taramosalata with roe and melitzanosalata of eggplant, ready to go with triangles of toasted pita. Sliced beets are fine. And a stack of crunchy, fried eggplant chips also will put you in the right mood, along with a crisp white wine.

But, on a recent evening, there was plenty of overcooking, too. Dry fried meatballs, drier chicken with lemon sauce, and nearly blackened whole striped bass and branzino were as disappointing as the light, flavorful moussaka was satisfying.

Service and timing also are erratic. You may be in for an exceedingly leisurely night, especially on a crowded weekend.

Nissos, 4 Berry Hill Rd., Syosset; 516-802-5456.

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