Besito

1516 Old Northern Blvd. Roslyn, NY 516-484-3001

Besito is an upscale Mexican restaurant at 1516

(Credit: Newsday photo / Paul J. Bereswill )

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Type: Mexican Special features: Bar scene Price range: $$ (Moderate) Description:

These sophisticated Mexican siblings get the mood going with guacamole, prepared tableside. The seviche du jour comes with plantains and tortilla chips. Other picks: Fish with plantains and pork in banana leaves.

Hours: Dinner every day. Brunch, Saturday and Sunday. Notable dishes: Ceviche, guacamole, tortilla soup, pan-seared grouper, mole poblano.
Seviche Why: When raw fish meets citrus juice,

Seviche

Why: When raw fish meets citrus juice, the "cooking" is done by citric acid. The result is pure refreshment. This version is served at Besito, a Mexican restaurant on Old Northern Boulevard in Roslyn. (Credit: Yana Paskova)

 Besito redefines Mexican restaurant cooking.

While there are a lot of Mexican eateries on Long Island, including more casual winners, Besito operates at a different level -- more ambitious, entertaining, chimichanga-free.

In Roslyn, the stage is similar to Huntington, with the eucalyptus-beamed ceiling and colorful imagery. But this Besito is bigger and even more energetic. And on weekends, it's festive enough to make today seem equal parts Super Bowl Sunday and Cinco de Mayo. Have a margarita and pass the guacamole.

Apart from the colorful appointments and the evocative luminaria-style wall of light, the range of tequilas and the spirited house cocktails, the reason to come here is basic. Under chef Matthew Lake, Besito in Roslyn is very good, sometimes even more.

That guacamole made tableside is part show, all flavor, and vigorously seasoned, if you like. A sopa de tortillas will attract you both for its taste and texture. Queso fundido, with Chihuahua cheese, chorizo and a poblano push, materializes as more than textbook. And, as in Huntington, the ceviche du jour is terrific.

Several openers trail these. The red snapper taquitos are a bit limp; and the tostaditas turn into a high-end nachos supreme. Chicken flautas remain on the dull side, and the chile rellenos could be snappier. At this address, you're better off with the fresh corn tamale with shrimp.

Lake, however, juices up the enchiladas de mole poblano with soulful flavors that don't disguise the chicken. Shredded chicken in tomatillo-cream sauce, dubbed enchiladas Suizas, also is recommended.

Pork tacos spiked with musky achiote top them, as do almost all the beef dishes. Alambre de res translates into tenderloin and chorizo, sparked by salsas ranchero and verde.

Seafood deserves your attention, especially the pan-seared grouper crusted with blue corn and crab; and the roasted wild salmon, finished with crisp bananas, pineapple pico de gallo and mole manchamanteles, a savory specialty of Oaxaca.

You can accompany all this with a hearty, nostalgic pitcher of sangria, red or white. Besito offers a commendable list of wines and Mexican beers, too. The choice of tequilas is exceptional, whether you're feeling silver, reposado or añejo. Margarita devotees surely will be satisfied.

For dessert, a pumpkin-seed flan and the "tres leches" cake are fitting finales. Or refresh yourself with berries with mango cream. The real treat, however, are the gratis, housemade churros, irresistible cinnamon-sugar covered spirals of fried dough.

Party on.

Margaritas: Besito prepares at least six types of Margaritas, with your preferred tequila. They range from $8 to $11. 

Additonal location in Huntington.

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Where

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Besito 1516 Old Northern Blvd., Roslyn

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