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The dish on Long Island's restaurant and food scene

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Joan Reminick

In an ongoing search to find Long Island’s best restaurant values, restaurant critic Joan Reminick has plowed through more pad thai, penne ala vodka and pulled pork than she cares to admit. Born and raised in Brooklyn, Joan grew up in a happy home whose only shortcomings were culinary. After a childhood of cooked-to-leather steaks, canned peas and Ore Ida fries, she made it a personal mission to seek out food that’s fresh, lively and carefully prepared. Married to her teen sweetheart, she received a B.A. from Brooklyn College and an M.S. from Hofstra University and taught English and Humanities in a Long Island high school for several years. When her two children were born, she embarked on a writing career and has had both fiction and nonfiction works published in national magazines. She also edited the Zagat Survey of Long Island Restaurants and wrote the book “Exploring Long Island with Newsday.” In addition to doing weekly “Cheap Eats” restaurant reviews, Joan hunts down restaurant news items and writes restaurant-related articles. These days, her motto is: making Long Island a better place to eat, one blog entry at a time.

Long Island restaurants with spicy fare to heat up a cold day

The tandoori duck breast at Southern Spice in

(Credit: Yana Paskova)

One way to keep warm this watery and windy day is to indulge in foods that are highly spiced. Word has it that there are also health benefits to turning up the heat when you eat.

Here are three Asian restaurants with a knack for setting your mouth to throbbing. For many, that kind of pain amounts to the greatest of pleasure.

NEW CHILLI & CURRY RESTAURANT

At this popular nexus...

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Feast of the Seven Fishes at Spuntino Wine Bar

Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas will host

(Credit: Spuntino Wine Bar and Italian Ta)

The Feast of the Seven Fishes, a time-honored tradition for Italian-Americans on Christmas Eve, is the inspiration for a six-course prix fixe dinner offered Dec. 10 to Dec. 24 at Spuntino Wine Bar & Italian Tapas in The Gallery at Westbury Plaza in Garden City.

The menu, at $45 per person — or $65 with wine pairings — includes branzino crudo, house-cured salmon bruschetta, Manila clams,...

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Long Island restaurants: New reviews

Baked clams are capped with house-made bread crumbs

(Credit: Yvonne Albinowski)

In this week’s Newsday, Joan Reminick visits Riella’s Homestyle in Levittown, where the house-made crescent rolls say it all: “They're fragrant and chewy, served warm from the pizza oven, paired with a bright marinara dipping sauce. Early on, the message comes across: Chef Jimmy Giaccone's kitchen cares.”

Peter M. Gianotti goes to The Arden, a club-like dining spot in Port Jefferson. “You've...

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Ichiban Sushi replaces Tai Show East in Oakdale

Yellowtail jalapeno at the new Ichiban in Oakdale

(Credit: Ichiban Sushi )

It’s a familiar scenario on Long Island: One Japanese restaurant closes, another rises in its place. This time, it’s happened in Oakdale, where  Ichiban Sushi has opened in the former digs of Tai Show on Montauk Highway. (Other Tai Show restaurants — in Massapequa, Levittown and East Setauket — remain open.)

“We’ve changed the decor; it’s a lot warmer now,” said general manager Paul Su,...

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New in Long Beach: Cancun Mexican Restaurant

Sizzling fajitas at the new Cancun Mexican Restaurant

(Credit: Cancun Mexican Restaurant)

A mechanical bull and tequila bar may draw a party crowd to Long Beach’s new Cancun Mexican Restaurant, but the place clearly offers more than Margaritas and mojitos.

The restaurant represents the culinary collaboration of co-owning chef Alfredo Leyva and Pedro Luna, both of whom own Mexican eateries in Queens. Their menu, which offers both authentic Mexican dishes and crowd-pleasers, includes...

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Tocolo Cantina debuts at Gallery at Westbury Plaza

Atun (tuna) guacamole at the new Tocolo Cantina

(Credit: Tocolo Cantina)

Joining the festive mix of high-end department store outlets and compelling places to eat at the Gallery at Westbury Plaza comes Tocolo Cantina, a splashy-but-serious new Mexican restaurant. It launches at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

Well-credentialed chef co-owner Alex Samayoa has cooked in such Manhattan spots as El Vez, La Esquina, Txikito, WD-50 and Empellon. His menu of Mexican dishes reflect...

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New in Great Neck: Caffebene

Korean honey bread with garlic and cheese from

(Credit: Lorina Capitulo)

Have you ever heard of a misugaru latte? The Korean drink (made with seeds, beans and grains) is just one option at Great Neck’s new Caffébene, the first branch of a South Korea-based international coffeehouse chain to open on Long Island.

Of course, you can also get a regular latte here, as well as a cappuccino, Americano or cafe mocha. You’ll also find tea, bubble tea and all manner of smoothies,...

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Pizzas with the personal touch

Centro Cucina's pizzas draw praise. Among the favorites

(Credit: Barbara Alper)

This time of year, when you’re busy shopping for others, you might want to take a little time out to be served a pizza that’s just for you.

Here are three of our favorite “personal” pizzas — sized 12 inches or less. All may be found near shopping hubs.

SPUNTINO WINE BAR AND ITALIAN TAPAS

In a shopping center that’s home to high-end department store outlets is this sleek...

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Soup dumplings debut at Green Tea Restaurant in Stony Brook

Steamed crab and pork soup dumplings are now

(Credit: Green Tea Restaurant)

The new Green Tea Restaurant in Stony Brook, which garnered a two-and-a-half-star rating in November, seemed to have just about everything you’d want from a place specializing in authentic multiregional Chinese cuisine. Everything, that is, except soup dumplings.

That situation has been remedied. Now, steamed soup dumplings may be ordered with pork ($6.25) or a combination of crab and pork...

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EAT Gastropub in Oceanside: First bites

The homestyle chicken pot pie at Eat Gastropub

(Credit: Newsday / Joan Reminick)

With gastropubs cropping up all over Long Island, it’s getting to be a challenge distinguishing one craft-beer-and-updated-comfort-food venue from the other. Yet despite its rather commonplace name, the new EAT Gastropub in Oceanside sets itself apart.

For one thing, it has an on-site greenhouse for growing many of the herbs, greens and even the beets that may end up on your plate. Then, there’s...

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