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Taste American Grill opens in Massapequa Park with ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ chef

Pretzel bun sliders from the bar menu at

Pretzel bun sliders from the bar menu at Taste American Grill in Massapequa Park. Credit: Newsday / Pervaiz Shallwani

“A Manhattan-meets-Miami feel on the South Shore.”

That’s how first-time restaurateur Orlando Sousa is billing Taste American Grill, which replaced Il Classico in Massapequa Park. The restaurant opened in mid-November as a half bar, half dining room with a few lounge tables in between. The circular bar features more than 30 draft beers and is the main focus of the room. (A brick oven sits in one corner.)

A “lighting guy” was hired to set the ambience, installing sound panels in the ceiling outfitted with strips of purple neon lights in the dining room. The bar side is brighter, with panels of LED lights.

The food is the work of chef Joseph Tinnelly, whose resume includes Uncle Jacks Steakhouse, the now-closed Mitch and Toni’s in Albertson and a stint on Season 6 of Gordon Ramsay’s “Hell’s Kitchen.”

Sousa boasts that nothing in the restaurant is ever frozen — “We don’t even have a freezer.”

The fare sticks to the Italian and steakhouse genres, with some pan-American, including a cider glazed pork porterhouse, short rib rigatoni ($19.95) and a tuna tostada ($17.95).

The burger is made from a custom blend by a local butcher. Who? Sousa claims the butcher has sworn him to secrecy and promised to cut him off if it gets out.

4857 Merrick Rd., Massapequa Park, 516-654-9155, taste-li.com

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