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LifestyleRestaurants

Tony Cuban Cucina and Cocktails

507 Guy Lombardo Ave. Freeport , NY 516-442-0565

Tony Cuban Cucina & Cocktails in Freeport.

Tony Cuban Cucina & Cocktails in Freeport. Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz

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Type:

Latin-American, Italian

Special features:

Outdoor Seating

Price range:

$$ (Moderate)

Description:

You'll want to catch the prix-fixe meal deals at non-prime-time hours at this Cuban-Italian hybrid with a lovely water view.  Avoid bustling weekend evenings and, instead, settle in for a $15.15 lunch (or $20. 95 dinner) that includes a beverage as well as an appetizer and main course. Among top choices: eggplant "frittes," pulled pork quesadilla, mussels and the innovative Cuban-Italian sandwich, a classic Cubano punched up with prosciutto and Genoa salami.

Hours:

Prix-fixe lunch Monday to Friday noon to 4 p.m.; brunch, Saturday and Sunday 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.; prix-fixe dinner, Sunday to Wednesday 4 to 10 p.m., Thursday 4 to 11 p.m.; regular dinner menu, Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. to midnight.

Ambience:

Very Good

Service:

Fair

Credit cards:

Accepted

Accessibility:

Wheelchair accessible

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Critic review

Pulled pork quesadillas at Tony Cuban Cucina &

Pulled pork quesadillas at Tony Cuban Cucina & Cocktails in Freeport. Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz

Midday on the deck of Tony Cuban in Freeport: Water view, soft breezes, lively food and gracious service. If only the promise shown that weekday afternoon carried through to weekend dinner.

Given the resume of chef-owner Frank Minier, expectations run high. Minier and his wife, Elizabeth, owned the former Laguna Grille in Woodbury and currently have the Massapequa Italian restaurant Mercato Kitchen & Cocktails. Elements of both menus inform Tony Cuban's.

It's a place both good-looking and popular, with a sleek, well-windowed interior and a sprawling deck complete with tiki bar. Indoors or out, reservations aren't accepted for parties of fewer than six. Smartest time to go is when one of the non-prime-time prix-fixe bargains is in effect.

A $15.15 lunch, with beverage included, begins with batter-fried eggplant "frittes" (fries), crisp and appealing. Appetizing, too, are mussels in a piquant roasted garlic-saffron-sherry-tomato broth. An entree-sized roasted vegetable avocado salad is bright and virtuous. Best, though, is the innovative Italian-Cuban sandwich, a classic Cubano punched up with prosciutto, Genoa salami and pesto mayonnaise.

On a bustling weekend evening, dinner begins well enough, with a meltingly good pulled pork quesadilla, crisp, spicy Havana chicken egg rolls and creamy lobster mac and cheese. But a BBQ chicken pineapple flatbread is served stone-cold. Cold, as well, is a thin grill-pressed ropa vieja sandwich with hardly any meat. When a server is queried, she calls over a manager, who says such sandwiches are supposed to be thin. A "Cajun Havanero" burger, ordered rare, is cooked to grayness. On request, it's replaced with a properly pink and juicy one, but its caramelized onion topping is way too sweet. A salmon avocado burger isn't bad; just boring. But a thick, beautifully plated pork chop stuffed with prosciutto, topped with mango pineapple salsa is overdone to near-wood.

Along with decent tres leches cake and brandy bread pudding comes the announcement that dessert is on the house. A check is brought and plates swiftly cleared as a Latin band gets ready to play on the deck. Clearly, the table is needed. So, too, is more TLC at this restaurant rife with potential.