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Punta Cana Dominican Grill opens in Rockville Centre

A customized cana bowl from Punta Cana Dominican

A customized cana bowl from Punta Cana Dominican Grill in Rockville Centre. Credit: Punta Cana Dominican Grill

A taste of the islands is joining Rockville Centre's bustling roster of eateries.

“It’s a thriving area, but there’s a lack of Dominican food here,” John Romero said of his third location of Punta Cana Dominican Grill. “I am trying to be in trendy areas that are not accustomed to Dominican food. I want to introduce it to all different cultures."

Romero’s latest incarnation replaces the 1,000-square-foot Gyros and Heros with a menu of Dominican-style bowls (with rice or salad bases), empanadas and mofongo (mashed green plantains in a garlic sauce), plus some sides.

The bowls here follow the trendy DIY counter-service style, where you build your own as you go. Cana bowls start with either yellow rice and peas, white rice and black beans or white rice and red beans. Add in chicken ($8.50-$9), pork ($8.50-$11), beef ($9.50-$13.50) or seafood ($10-$12) options, plus a side, like madras, yuca or bean salad. Dressings including green sauce, cilantro barbecue mayo and pink sauce.

Salad bowls follow a similar concept: choose between the avocado club (romaine lettuce, avocado, apple wild bacon, red onions and tomatoes) or garden (romaine lettuce, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers and red onions). Choose a protein from chicken ($9-$10), shrimp ($11-$12) or steak ($11.50-$12.50), then dress it up with oil and vinegar, Italian, ranch or balsamic vinaigrette.

Rounding out the menu is mofongo served with fried pork belly, shrimp, chicken or cheese ($9-$12), and empanadas ($2.75), which can be made with specialties including pepperoni pizza, cheese burger and Nutella banana. Smoothies and flan are also on the menu. 

Romero plans to launch a late-night weekend menu focusing on small and quick bites, like his empanadas and Cookies by Munchiez line, which features over-the-top warm cookies with toppings like s'mores, Fruity Pebbles and peanut butter chips.

The restaurant is still in its soft opening; open daily, but call ahead for hours of operation. After its grand opening on Saturday, the store will operate Mondays to Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Punta Cana Dominican Grill is at 1A North Park Ave. in Rockville Centre. 516-260-6335. eatpuntacana.com

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