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Noches de Colombia opens in Mineola

Chicharron, steak, sausage, eggs, rice (plus, not pictured,

Chicharron, steak, sausage, eggs, rice (plus, not pictured, beans, fried plantains and avocado) are all included in the bandeja paisa at Noches de Colombia in Mineola. Credit: Newsday/Erica Marcus

Noches de Colombia, a New Jersey-based chain that operates almost 20 restaurants in New Jersey and Rockland County, New York, has opened its first location on Long Island. It takes over the former Azzuro’s on Jericho Turnpike in Mineola.

The name translates to Colombian Nights, but the restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday), serving traditional Colombian cuisine — as well as salads and a kids menu aimed at the American diner.

There’s a full line of pastries, as well as such belly-busting breakfast items as sunny-side-up eggs on a bed of refried beans with chorizo, avocado and arepas (corn cakes) for $10.95.

Later in the day, you can avail yourself of the most belly-busting of all Colombian entrees, the bandeja paisa, which features grilled steak (thin, but tender), a good length of crunchy chicharron (fried pork rind), juicy chorizo sausage, fried sweet plantains, avocado, rice and beans — plus two over-easy eggs. This costs $19.95 and is good for either two people or two meals. Other meat dishes feature various combinations of steak, sausage, pork and liver. Sandwiches are $10.25.

The eight chicken dishes ($13.95 to $17.95) range from grilled or fried cutlets to arroz con pollo (rice mixed with shredded chicken). On the fish front ($17.95 to $22.95) are shrimp, salmon, flounder fillet, paella and whole fried snapper and tilapia. Appetizers and sides ($3.95 to $8) include wings, empanadas, blood sausage, fried yuca and French fries.

The restaurant is attractive and lively, with a bright bar in the front that features sangria, frozen drinks and freshly squeezed juices. The dining room faces a parking lot around the corner from Jericho Turnpike; it’s a municipal lot and you will need to feed the meter.

Dine in or take out.

Noches de Colombia is at 204 Jericho Tpke., Mineola, 516-747-0861, nochesdecolombia.com

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