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Restaurant Row: Franklin Avenue, Garden City

Garden City, New York. Friday, April 17, 2009.

Garden City, New York. Friday, April 17, 2009. Waterzooi has outdoor seating. Located at 850 Franklin Ave. in Garden City. (photo by Jonathan Young) Credit: Newsday/Jonathan Young

Franklin Avenue in Garden City, once known as the "Fifth Avenue of Long Island," has turned into a compact restaurant row. From Mumon, anchoring the north end near Old Country Road, to a cluster of fine eateries near Ninth Street, the full-flavored route offers variety, in cuisine and prices.

ASIAN MOON,  825 Franklin Ave., 516-248-6161,


FOOD 2 stars

Some Chinese, some Thai; a bite of Indonesian, Malaysian and Vietnamese, Asian Moon stamps several passports and still has space for sesame tuna. You'll find Asian variations on the burrito and fajitas, too. It's consistently very good. The look is modern, the service old-fashioned. Some favorites: orange-flavored beef, Sichuan pork-and-shrimp dumplings, and that snappy pork burrito.

CALAGERO'S, 919 Franklin Ave.; 516-294-2922.

COST $-$$.

Italian, combining the light and the husky.

GRIMALDI'S PIZZA, 980 Franklin Ave., 516-294-6565,

COST $-$$

FOOD 1 star

Coal-fired, brick-oven pizza is the draw at Grimaldi's, where a mural of the original Grimaldi's at the Brooklyn Bridge dominates the main dining area. The decor also includes images of Frank Sinatra's mug shot, Joe D. and Marilyn. The pizzas are smoky, savory, easily recommended. Standard, casual appetizers, salads. Desserts include cannoli; a wedge of Junior's cheesecake.

JIN EAST, 988 Franklin Ave., 516-877-0888,

COST $$-$$$

FOOD 2 stars

Jin East started as a flashy, ambitious Asian bistro. It has since retooled a bit and now emphasizes more traditional Japanese fare. The quality, however, has stayed the same, as has the serene look of the dining room. Enjoy the house's colorful "fusion" rolls, sushi and sashimi. Also, try tuna or yellowtail tartare, udon noodles and miso black cod.

MUMON,  1306 Franklin Ave., 516-747-3388,

COST $$$-$$$$

FOOD 2 stars

Mumon specializes in pristine, uncooked fish. The splashily fresh seafood is offered in a stylized, eye-catching setting not visible from Franklin Avenue. Enter via the parking lot behind Walgreens. Nigirizushi, or raw fish on ovals of vinegared rice, and sashimi are terrific. Ask for the chef's choices.

NOVITA860 Franklin Ave., 516-739-7660,

COST $$-$$$

FOOD 2 stars

Restaurant and wine bar, Novità, excels in both roles. There are more than 100 well-chosen wines by the glass. The Italianate fare includes "pizza Naples" and lively pastas, including rigatoni in a gutsy ragu and radiatore Bolognese; tuna crudo, "lobster BLT sliders," and meatball sliders.

NEW YORK SOUP EXCHANGE, 945 Franklin Ave.; 516-742-7687,


Soups, wraps.

SUSHI YA, 949 Franklin Ave; 516-873-8818,

COST $$.

Japanese cuisine, from sushi to hibachi.

WATERZOOI, 850 Franklin Ave., 516-877-2177,

COST $$-$$$

FOOD 2 stars

This buoyant, upbeat Belgian-style bistro overflows with excellent draft and bottled beers and generous amounts of hearty food. You'll find plenty of steamed mussels with different sauces, and outstanding, very crisp fries; oysters; tasty lobster croquettes; duck rillettes, cured sausage and foie gras mousse; stews; salads with duck confit and cheeses, and, yes, Belgian waffles.

WILD FIG, 829 Franklin Ave.; 516-739-1002;

COST $$.

Mediterranean, Turkish and Greek emphases.

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