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La Casa Latina snazzes up in Westbury

La Casa Latina's Maritza Maldonado serves a mixed

La Casa Latina's Maritza Maldonado serves a mixed parrillada (grilled meats) and a parillada Argentina (grilled meats and sausage) to Frances Posillico and her son Rocco of Westbury. (Nov. 4, 2011) (Credit: Kathy Kmonicek)

After a two-month-long closure, Westbury's La Casa Latina, which Newsday named as one of Long Island's Top 100 restaurants, has reopened with a new bar and new tapas menu. The spacious bar, in fact, is a perfect place to sample the nearly three dozen tapas.

Traditional Spanish tapas include pulpo a la Gallega (octopus with paprika and olive oil), gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic) and tortilla Espanola (potato-onion frittata). Chef-owner Roberto Herrera also draws on his Latin American heritage for such starters as enchiladas (with chicken and cabbage), corn tamales and shrimp seviche. As for fried calamari, tuna tartar and clams oreganata — I’d call those traditional Long Island tapas. All of the restaurant’s original appetizers, such as the fine fish tacos, have been subsumed into the tapas menu, which ranges from $6.50 to $14.50.

The main-course selection, which draws from all over Central and South America, has stayed pretty much the same, though prices have risen about $2. Most entrees are still less than $25.

The most critical change at La Casa Latina is one of personnel. Since he opened the pan-Latin restaurant in summer 2011, Herrera has also been serving as head chef at Bryant & Cooper in Roslyn. No more. He resigned this week and is at his restaurant full time. “I want to give it everything I have,” he said.

La Casa Latina is at 611 Old Country Rd., Westbury, 516-280-7795, lacasalatinany.com.

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