Huntington Station’s Pine Tree Inn, a Southern Italian fixture on Jericho Turnpike since 1956, has closed.
The space is in the process of being transformed into Rincon Criollo, a satellite of the venerable Queens Cuban restaurant. The original Rincon Criollo was opened in the 1950s by the Acosta brothers in Santiago de Las Vegas, a nieghborhood of Havana. After the Communist takeover of Cuba, the Acostas moved to New York and opened a second Rincon Criollo on Junction Boulevard in Corona, Queens, in 1976.
The Queens menu offers a wide range of Cuban specialties, including croqueta de jamon (ham croquettes), arroz con mariscos (rice with seafood), lechon asado (roast pork), ropa vieja ("old clothes" braised beef), Moros y Cristianos (rice and beans) and flan (caramel custard).
According to Rincon Criollo's Facebook page, the new restaurant hopes to open in the spring, a welcome culinary accompaniment to the recent thaw in U.S.-Cuba relations.