Bobby Carmosino's first memories of cooking and eating are all tied to his mother, whose love of crafting food won competitions held by Macy's and Bloomingdale's. As head chef at Sol?, he channels her influences into updated recipes such as the braciola?his father's favorite dish?a pork tenderloin wrapped around mozzarella, prosciutto, and spinach. The shrimp limoncello, one of his proudest creations, blends creamy risotto with tart citrus, demonstrating the fresh flavors that earned Sol?'s menu an overall rating of extraordinary from Zagat. Served in a comfortable, casual room with walls the color of buttercups, diners enjoy these made-from-scratch meals alongside fish specials so popular, many customers order them sight unseen, according to general manager Dennis Durdaller.
Elegance and comfort merge at Mio Posto, where white-linen-covered tables stand beneath a wall-mounted flat-screen TV. Here, the chefs whip up Italian specialties served family style, encouraging groups to share the heaping portions, or do what families do, and hoard them until it's time to read the will. The menu teems with traditional Italian entrees made from both housemade and imported pastas and sauces, including chicken marsala, veal sorrentino, and eggplant parmagiana. While dining, guests unwind to backdrop of live music on Wednesday–Fridays at both Hicksville and Oceanside locations.
The staff at D'Cocco's Restaurant & Pizzeria understands the value of a good family meal. Since 1988, they've maintained a place where local families do just that, with specialty pizzas and other tasty Italian favorites. Pies here stay interesting, with options that include everything from signature pepperoni to bacon-chicken-cheddar-ranch and the baked ziti pizza. Along with sharing family-style Italian meals and pizzas, D'Cocco's extends its commitment to the community by sponsoring Little League and softball teams and donating food to numerous local events.
An uber-extensive menu of Italy’s favorite dishes are recreated day after day inside Papa Louie’s Pizzeria. Piles of penne and spaghetti pair with fresh italian bread ready to be dunked into a medley of sauces for their own Rorschach test. Chicken, eggplant, and veal change costumes with a marsala, parmigiana, and francaise dressing. The staff bakes 15 specialty pizzas that come in circles or squares, just like the schoolwork given to kindergartners and the most advanced babies. Heros sandwiches are chockfull of baked eggplant, buffalo chicken, and Nani’s famous meatballs. The catering leg of Papa Louie’s Pizzeria feeds partygoers at myriad celebrations: graduations, birthdays, and surprise spring-cleaning parties.
High ceilings with exposed piping lend a modern vibe to Toro Pazzo and serve as a foil to a menu of time-tested Italian dishes. Executive chef Alan Pucci, a native of Lucca, Italy, draws upon an array of Italian meats such as prosciutto and sopressata as well as olives, grilled artichoke hearts, and fontina, gorgonzola, and pecorino cheeses. In the bustling kitchen, the crew rolls dough into potato gnocchi and fresh rigatoni, which fill pasta dishes and sate diners before trips to the National Dry Macaroni Card Museum. Curlicues of steam unfurl from veal scallopini with fresh sage and prosciutto and pistachio-encrusted salmon in a lemon beurre blanc.
Behind Toro Pazzo's bar, an indoor waterfall trickles as mixologists concoct dessert cocktails such as vodka-infused root-beer floats or birthday-cake martinis with sprinkle-encrusted rims. Brimming with bottles imported from Sardinia and Tuscany, the wine list offers pairing for any dish, and on some evenings live bands fill the eatery with lilting guitar strains.
Despite the promise of pizza implicit in its name, mr.Pies' hidden gem—at least according to customers—actually lies in the menu's appetizer section. Doused in fiery buffalo sauce, served with blue cheese for dipping, and offset by crunchy celery, the buffalo wings draw a comparable amount of eaters as the pizza. Don't fret if you can't choose between the two—you can get buffalo chicken scattered right across your pie. Or skip wings and pizza all together, and dig into a traditional Italian pasta dish instead.